“I certainly didn’t expect you’d do it that way. I wouldn’t have agreed if I’d known,” said my client, her disappointment evident.
One of the toughest things about being a freelancer is when your client is disappointed or upset. Even if you take the time to really understand a client’s needs and properly set expectations, conflict will occasionally arise.
Our first instinct is to go into blame mode. We get defensive. We’ve tried hard. We’ve done everything we could. It’s clearly not our fault.
Or, is it?
If you’re an IT person, social media manager, designer, etc., you may feel concerned about the competition. There’s a lot of people who do what you do, why would anyone choose you over them?
In our mind, our competitors are always superstars with stellar resumes and tons of industry awards working with huge brands that bring incredible clout.
Just know, that’s often not the reality.
Relationships are the best and the toughest part of the human experience. What can start out incredibly promising can go many different and sometimes unexpected ways. We’ve all had relationships end messily and wonder what went wrong and where we could have changed course.
Professional relationships are no different. The client we were over the moon to land can over time become the reason we’re loathe waking up in the morning. It’s important to be service-oriented and flexible, but there may be a point in your career when ending a professional relationship can’t be avoided.
A friend who is thinking of becoming a solopreneur asked me how much time she’ll need to spend networking. The answer to that is a significant amount, but that doesn’t need to be the punishment many people consider it to be.
When this topic came up in a freelancing group, one of the participants (we’ll call her Alice) said that if you don’t have a full client roster, you should spend most of your time making connections and having conversations.
I have a different, more palatable, response.
A marketing consultant was complaining in a Facebook group that everyone wanted her to work for free. She was marketing comprehensive brand strategy packages for $10K.
Fellow freelancers responded to her post telling her to know
her worth and stick to her pricing structure. I had a different thought.