Find out the secrets to communicating with your (prospective) clients

Rachel and Dylan will be will be talking through these concepts at the workshop on  October 4. Book here.

Communicating the value of your expertise as a freelancer will see you enjoy a more productive relationship with your clients and the bills paid.  Two experienced freelancers, public relations specialist Rachel Service and motion graphics designer Dylan Mercer will be holding a workshop for Freelance Australia in Melbourne on October 4. Dylan shares here an insight into what participants can expect.

Rachel and I are both freelancers yet work at two very different ends of the spectrum. One thing we do share are challenges and together we’ll often chat about ways we can workshop them. The biggest challenge we’ve both found to be consistent across any project or client is: communication.

Rachel is in public relations and as such her role could be considered 100% relationship and content focused. I am a motion designer, so only a small part of my job is client interaction, but a crucial one. If Rachel and I don’t enjoy clear communication with our clients we can find projects halt, the wider goal not realised and both the client and the freelancer can feel frustrated.

A lot of the conversations we have with clients can be boiled down to one or more of these questions:

  • Why does it take so long?
  • Why is it so expensive?
  • Why don’t I just do it myself?

Everything costs a combination of time, money and or grief.

As freelancers, we need to let our clients know that by paying us to create an expert product for them with our specialist skills, we are saving them all the time and grief of doing it themselves or having it done in-house by a less experienced staff member.

Yet so many of talented freelancers I speak to find this one of the most challenging aspects of their role. They find it tricky to have conversations about their rate. They find it challenging to articulate the value of what they do. They find it unnerving how little their clients know about what they actually do.

We can all agree that the one challenge of running your own business is managing cashflow and navigating the complexities of taxes, creating invoices and – crucially, following up on unpaid invoices. Freelancers are creative by nature, and not all of us feel confident having conversations about money. In fact, it can feel quite daunting at times.

A big part of the money conversation, of course, is negotiating. Knowing what figure to bring to a new client and what they will see as a reasonable rate is a conversation which becomes easier over time. Charging a rate reflective of your experience, insight, expertise and the value the client places on those skills involves communicating a number of factors, and the success of your fee being accepted comes down to confidence.  

You’d be surprised how much your confidence as a freelancer builds as you take an inventory of the value factors you have to add to your mental inventory when going into negotiations with a new (or old) client.

Another big part of communication is managing expectations and making your ways of working clear to the client. Rachel can’t understand how I keep my work to an almost perfect 9-5 Monday to Friday working week. Conversely, my mind boggles at how she juggles multiple stories, conversations, content and manages working relationships all at once, many of which of which take her across the country and working unusual hours.

The success of a freelancer/client relationship boils down to one clear skill set: whether you can communicate in a way that reassures them they’re in safe hands and you’ve got them covered.

We will touch on all of these factors in the workshop and participants will be given cheat sheets to take home to help them practice phrases or sentences that can improve their communication skills.

At the end of the day, the happier the client, the more likely you’ll work on projects that you enjoy, with people who are great to deal with and you are paid a rate you’re happy with.

If you’d like to work with Rachel and me to cover a particular challenge, please feel free to get in touch.

Dylan Mercer

Rachel Service

Rachel and Dylan will be will be talking through these concepts at the workshop on  October 4. Book here.