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Freelancers: 10 Steps To Set Boundaries

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In the growing gig economy, there’s fierce competition in many freelance markets. Far too often, contractors will try to earn repeat work from a client by going the extra mile and taking on extra work only to not get properly compensated for it. As business professionals, it’s important for freelancers to stand up for themselves and their work and get the compensation they deserve. To help, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members shared their advice. Below, they discussed what freelancers can do before or after taking a job to ensure that they don’t get taken advantage of by their clients. Young Entrepreneur Council members offer tips to freelancers for setting boundaries with clients. 1. Get The Contract Signed Before Starting The Job Make sure to have the written contract or statement of work signed by both parties before starting the job. In this contract, make sure to clearly list out the scope of work and how the out-of-scope work would be handled. For instance, out-of-scope work would be done at an hourly rate of X, etc. This will protect the freelancer from scope creep as well as provide a written document to go to in case of any potential legal involvement. Also, have a conversation at the beginning of the job with the client about what is in the scope of work so both parties are on the same page. Frequent communication throughout the job would also minimize potential scope creep. – Meeky Hwang , Ndevr, Inc 2. Consider Productizing Your Services Freelancers should consider productizing their services. Productizing a service means packaging a skill into different packages. For instance, a website designer can offer three different pricing tiers with different scopes of work for prospective clients to choose from. This ensures the freelancer gets paid for all the work they do, and if a client needs extra work, the freelancer would be able to bill for it. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet , Marquet Media, LLC 3. Track Your Time Track your time—especially if you’re getting paid on a per-project basis. Clients are often unaware of how “small” tasks pile up. They may also be unintentionally ignorant of how long specific requests take you to complete. If you accurately document where and how you’re spending your time, you’ve got solid evidence when it comes time to have “that talk” with a client. A reasonable customer who seeks a mutually beneficial working relationship will usually be open to discussing solutions, whether that’s paying you more money or delegating you fewer tasks. As any freelancer knows, not all clients are reasonable. In that case, it’s crucial to be firm about what work you’re willing to do under the terms of your agreement. If that harms your relationship, you might be better off without them. – Mark Stallings , Casely, Inc. 4. Create A Professional Brand Image For some businesses and people, the term “freelancer” doesn’t convey the same degree of professionalism as an established company might. This is a bias […]

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