Freelancers like to joke that each project is like a first date – you only have one shot to impress. If that’s the case, then finding a good client is like finding The One: someone you definitely want to have a committed, mutually supportive, long-term relationship with. But, just like in life, looks can be deceiving, and the keepers may be hard to spot. So, we’ve compiled this list to help you:
1) They found you
Whether they found you through your Kalido profile, or a random Google search, or because their neighbour recommended you, the fact that the client is coming to you is a good thing. This means that they’ve done at least some research on you and your work, and they like what they see. Since they’re already primed to like you, they’re also much more likely to respect your expertise.
That’s all very good and well, you might say, but how do you get clients to come to you? Conventional wisdom states that freelancers do the chasing. A platform like Kalido can really help. Freelancers are regularly chosen and showcased as Featured Providers in their area (for free). This means that you’ll be promoted to any potential clients in the vicinity, giving you very effective advertising without you having to lift a finger. This keeps you top of mind when they need your service, and they can get in touch with you directly. Just make sure your profile is as complete as possible, with profile picture, descriptions of your service, samples or links to your portfolio, and anything else that showcases you at your most terrific included.
2) They have a higher purpose
Maslow tells us that we need our basic needs like food, shelter, warmth and security fulfilled before we aspire to loftier goals. And this is true of business too. A good client is usually not just concerned with making rent; they see their business as making a vital contribution to the world.
When you’re chatting to your client, do they mention their customers’ needs? Do they see their product contributing in some small way to a better society? Or are they just interested in the bottom line? Bottom-liners tend to be more cutthroat, short-sighted, and less ethical. This could translate to taking shortcuts in the work that affects safety or efficacy. Or it could translate to price haggling for your service. Either way, if your client doesn’t seem to be concerned with a greater good, this is a bad sign for a long-term relationship.
3) They’re focussed on the project
Your client may be great at what they do, but turn out to be an awful client for you. This usually happens when the project you’re doing is just an afterthought for them. For example, your client is trying to close a big deal, but someone has advised them that they need to update their website. They don’t think the website is very important, because they’re putting together a killer proposal, so you, the web developer, are a grudge purchase. Grudge purchases are never going to get the time, attention, or budget they deserve.
Whatever you’re doing for the client, make sure that the project is something that they’re going to devote enough time and effort to. You don’t have to be their first priority, but in order to get proper instructions and feedback, they’ll need to be reasonably available to you. You can make things easier for them by being super organised on your side, and letting them know at the outset what’s needed from them. If they don’t think they can give you the attention required at the moment, suggest postponing the project to a more convenient time. This will save both of you a lot of frustration.
4) They come recommended
If someone you know and trust recommended the client to you, this is a very good sign. Just like a romantic partner, those nearest and dearest to you know who you’re likely to be compatible with.
On Kalido, you can make and request introductions and recommendations. Because you can chat and call your Kalido Contacts for free from the app, you can ask everything you want to know about a potential client before working with them. If the client has a horrible phobia of clowns, you’ll know not to suggest anything even vaguely resembling a red nose for their company logo. Or if the client has a bad habit of skipping out on payment, your unlucky predecessors in the industry will be sure to warn you. In the case of a recommendation, your contacts have already vetted the potential client for you, so your relationship will likely go more smoothly.
5) You get along with them
Perhaps the most obvious, but most important. You should like and respect your client and vice versa. From complementary work ethic, values, taste, to humour, if you get along on a personal level, your professional relationship will be much easier.
Just like any relationship, you’ll have occasional miscommunications. But if you don’t like each other, you’ll be convinced of deliberate sabotage, as opposed to honest mistake or oversight. And if you respect and like each other, you’ll be more likely to communicate and find a mutually acceptable solution, as opposed to ending the relationship.
Any diligent client will have checked you out thoroughly before deciding to work with you. And you should do the same. And, as with any relationship, both parties should be committed to making it work. If you’ve found a great client – good for you! May your relationship be long and happy. If you’re still looking, make sure you’ve checked out this post on warning signs for (potentially) bad clients, then log onto Kalido to find your One.