This is a guest post by Nicolas Acuna and Mikka Olsson, co-founders of Ebbex.com, an iPhone and iPad apps development company. In the last year, they’ve had great success (and committed a fair share of mistakes!) creating apps for clients all over the world and decided to share their findings with the fine readers of Inspired Mag in the new Freelancing 101 series.
On this series we have shared many tips on how to set yourself up for success when helping bring other people’s vision to life. In this post, we wanted to take the opposite approach and decided to share 5 unforgivable mistakes in freelancing that should be avoided at all costs.
Lets face it, if you are reading this, you are probably an expert in your field. There is an implied understanding between clients and providers that state that the provider will have many of the answers to the projects challenges. Without a healthy dose of humility and patience, this understanding can quickly derail into a serious problem where the client feels that the provider is stubborn and does not listen.
Stubbornness exists when the provider is never being flexible to the clients opinions, when the provider plays the expert card every time differing opinions come up, etc.
In reality, clients will always share a perspective that we as providers do not have. They have been thinking about the problem/solution longer than we have and are bound to have great ideas that we have not thought of.
You can’t really recover from a lie, on the other hand, you can definitely recover from a mistake. The temptation to lie comes from the impulse to cover up a mistake. At first glance, lying seems like the path of least resistance. A white lie can easily be justified with trains of thought similar to this one: “The client does not need to know we messed up, we will just fix it and show them the results then, no harm done”. The interesting thing is that white lies like these work but if caught you can practically kiss that client good bye.
Lying is never worth it. Mistakes always happen. Communication and honesty are easier at the end of the day.
3) Over Pricing
There is nothing wrong with healthy margins, specially in the highly sought after areas of design and development. Nevertheless, a blatant overprice counts as a an unforgivable freelancing mistake. When clients find out, and they will, you will be faced with an insurmountable amour of bad PR. Aside from the quality of your work, nothing speaks of you as much of your reputation. No one ones to be known as the guy that takes advantage of well intended unassuming clients.
4) Lack of Communication
It does not matter how good you are, how many great ideas you have or how fast paced your process is if you don’t let your client know. Communication is to a client what water is to a plant. Everything else can be healthy and strong, but the absence of constant conversations will override any other positive attributes that you might have. Talk to your leads and clients, and remember that over communicating is communicating.
We are freelancers because we care, because we like to build and create, because inspiration and hard work are our default. Displaying apathy is the negation of our identities as freelancers. We most protect our connection with excitement at all costs; the opposite will essentially destroy our relationship with our clients and our craft.
If you find yourself not caring, first realize that its a very dangerous place to be. Then take the time to figure out why you are there and start proactively changing the situations that got you there. We know that this is easier said than done, but you are a creative after all.