Is it me or has the idea of being professional been supplanted? I’ve now had more than a few encounters that could’ve been far more pleasant if the idea of professionalism was alive and well.
I’m not “self-righteously” confirming my own professionalism in every situation but I do give it my best shot.
For one thing I try to communicate as often and as clearly as I can with my clients. I try never to make my clients wait for something important. All I can really ask for in return is the same courtesy.
Don’t blow off communicating “even when its difficult to say things openly” and if you do have to blow off communication at least do it professionally…
e.g. “Hey sorry we can’t talk now, will try to touch base later. Apologies, Joe Blogs”.
I can deal with a one liner response, it lets me know I’m not being ignored and that you’re busy with other things but I am on the list of people you need to talk to about your project.
This is not to case with some folks… they go dark, don’t communicate or respect your time and they expect the highest level of professionalism and commitment from you.
Is this really how much business has changed?
Are we really moving so fast that sitting down to write a brief email explaining in a few sentences why we won’t be able to talk as planned.
I’m asking you to hold fast the idea of professionalism as an essential part of doing business. Its not even a novel idea. I think business relationships would be far better, financial transactions would flow with ease and we’d all have a solid foundation on how we deal with each other….
I’ve been musing about this for sometime… Here are some things I consider to be essential to every freelancer.
1. It’s far better and easier to work with clients who are educated about the web/web development/css and databases.
2. If you client thinks that its as easy as using Excel you’ve got your work cut out for you.
3. Being clear, direct and honest with your client about whats possible with their budget is easier than trying to explain it later when the projects already under way.
4. You’re going to have to spend the time educating your client, give them good examples, be clear about what you will be doing and what it means.
5. If you’re clients not grooved in on what web development is all about then spend the first few hours of your time educating them. That means you’re going to have to go slow, give clear and concrete examples, explain what a database is, how pages are styled and why, how and what you have to do to capture information into the database etc.
This is not a long list by any stretch of the imagination but it will serve you well later and it will keep you from losing it with your client.
Better still it will reduce stress, and keep the client from losing it with you because they’re not clear on what has to be done to realize their vision. There are far to many ads and testimonials on the web touting the speed at which sites were built ala Godaddy or Hostgator and even more so with WordPress. Make it very clear to your client that what you do is write code and if they don’t know what that is then show them, screenshare on Skype or Google hangouts and do a show and tell.
I’m writing this post from experience… Fact is I didn’t do this with a client and now I don’t have that client anymore, our relationship is to far gone to be repaired because I wasn’t up front and partly theirs for not educating themselves on what they wanted done, but its mostly my bad!
Don’t make this mistake, its costly, stressful and you’ll lose money, esteem and your own self-respect along with it.
Hope this benefits someone.