Why Do I Need to Track My Billed Hours?
I recently received the following question from Jeri, an aspiring freelancer who had downloaded my…
You’ve worked hard to build your freelancing business.
You’ve put in long hours, made big sacrifices, and even put up with the occasional snide comment from corporate friends.
In a field based largely on trust, you can’t afford to create unnecessary doubt in your clients’ minds. In this post, I’ll share a few doubt-inducing mishaps that I’ve seen fellow freelancers make over the years.
“Sorry, I think my calendar is messed up.”
No one cares about your messed-up calendar. Especially your clients.
Whatever the excuse may be, the simple fact is that you missed an important meeting. Sure, scheduling mishaps do occur. Some clients may be willing to look past an occasional mix-up. But, when it appears that you have blown off a meeting, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to recover from such a blunder.
We live in an age of text messaging and social media. The art of crafting a well-structured sentence seems increasingly elusive. However, as a freelancer, you should never assume free rein to communicate incoherently.
It’s OK to strike a casual tone, especially if doing so matches a client’s company culture. Just be sure to balance style with grammatical correctness.
“I’m CONFIDENT that you will love what we’ve come up with….it’s a GAME changer!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Are you trying to reassure your client – or make them think your email account has been hacked?
Demonstrating passion for your ideas is a noble cause. Just don’t go overboard on formatting and punctuation. In my opinion, less is more.
Your client spent years building a reputation for himself and his company. Each time he hears someone utter his company name, he swells with great pride.
Typos happen, but always double-check your spelling when referring to your clients’ names. If you can’t even spell the company’s name right, how can you be trusted as a strategic advisor?
Your clients are incredibly busy people. Their calendars are packed full of client meetings, strategic brainstorming sessions, and a never-ending to-do list. They certainly don’t have time to deal with errant calendar invitations.
Before you send that next meeting invite, first check to confirm your client is actually available at that time. Then, consider whether the proposed time works for his or her time zone. Finally, before you hit send, double-check that the invite is accurate and complete. There’s nothing more annoying than receiving a batch of unnecessary event updates.
Getting paid is one of the most fundamental parts of doing business. When you send bogus invoices, you show little regard for detail.
Billing for too much has obvious issues. Depending on the relationship, a client could even accuse you of theft. On the other hand, billing for too little also raises doubt. If you can’t even keep track of your own revenue stream, how can the client trust you to positively impact his?
As a freelancer, your job is to stay one step ahead of your clients. Waiting around and asking for your next move is never a good idea.
If you find yourself asking what you should do next, it’s time you re-evaluated your business model. You might not be making enough time for strategic thought. Start thinking like your client. If you were the client, what problems would you try to tackle next?
Answering this question (before you ever ask it) will help preserve your position in the client’s mind.
Have something to share? Comment below! I’d love to hear your feedback.