After securing a client, it’s time to start delivering work. We’ll break down everything you need to do to set yourself up for success, from having a kickoff call to developing a sustainable workflow.View Video on Loom
You landed your first client, and now it’s time to actually start delivering work. While exciting, working with your first freelance client can also be incredibly daunting. Don’t worry, the work-from-home-in-pajamas days are in the near future. But first, let’s get organized.
Here’s a few things you should do before you start freelancing to set yourself up for success.
The term “contract” tends to send shivers down new freelancers’ spines. When trying to figure out how to start freelancing, the last thing you want to hear is confusing legal jargon that makes your head spin. But, a contract is important, and you should know what it means.
So, let’s break it down with a scenario.
You just scored your first freelance client. (virtual fist bump)
They want your Social Media Management Package, which includes full management of the client’s Instagram account. More specifically, for $1,000 a month, the client gets 3 Reels per week, 2 static posts per week, and 2 Stories per week.
You’re hyped about landing your first client, so you dive into developing their content. You spend hours crafting unique Reels you know will excite their target audience. It’s all ready to be posted, and you’re feeling good.
Just a few days into the engagement, the client reaches out and says that after further consideration, they aren’t sure $1,000 a month for social media management is within their budget. Unfortunately, they’re going to have to pass on your services.
Oof. You just spent hours working on content, and now you might not be paid.
Here’s how this scenario would pan out depending on whether you had a contract in place:
In this scenario, a contract protects you from not being paid. It also provides you with time to find a new client to fill the spot.
When figuring out how to start freelancing, contracts will be your best friend. So, make sure to have one in place before you do any work.
When freelancing on Pangea, contracts are set up for you. (phew) When you accept a role with a client, you agree to certain information such as the pay, the hours, and other details the two of you agree on. If the initial terms of the contract don’t represent the structure you need or were looking for, you have the option to decline it and let the client know of any revisions you’d like to make.
That said, when you receive an offer on Pangea, you don’t have to do anything else in terms of setting up a contract if you agree with the terms as they are. The contract between you and the client will be housed right on Pangea.
When you find a client through Pangea, you are required to set up a contract with them through the platform and only accept payment through the platform’s payment system. However, you may find clients outside of the Pangea community. In that case, you can onboard them onto the Pangea platform for simpler contract and client management, or you can choose to set up a contract with them on your own.
If you choose to not use Pangea for outside clients, you’ll want to develop a contract that you can use across a variety of freelance engagements. However, make sure to use a template that is either provided by a reputable legal entity, such as Law Depot, or is approved by a lawyer themselves. Legal stuff can get messy very quickly, so it’s better to protect yourself upfront.
If you do opt to make your own contracts, make sure they outline the following details:
After the contract is in place, it’s time to really get started. Scheduling a kickoff meeting with your client is a great way to begin the engagement.
A kickoff meeting can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on the complexity and scope of the project. It is a space for you and your client to review the deliverables and project goals. Use this time to get clear on the client’s expectations and how the project will run.
Here’s a few topics you may want to touch on during the meeting:
Once you know what the client wants, you’re ready to get started on the deliverables. Use these beginning stages to set yourself up for success.
If you develop a content calendar for one client, templatize it so you can use it for other clients in the future. Similarly, if you know that tasks are going to get more challenging to manage, don’t rely on paper to-do-lists. Take the time to create a digital to-do-list template that you can use as the project develops.
By creating systems you can grow into, you’ll save yourself time in the long run. Rather than scrambling to manage the project at every phase, you’ll have systems that expand as the work does too.
While checking in with clients is crucial, so is checking in with yourself.
Schedule time to check in on the progress of the project. Ask yourself:
Taking a step back to reflect is key in improving your work and your workflow.
Use this beginning period to get yourself in a position where you’re able to start delivering work. Take time to get clear on the tasks ahead. Develop systems that will support managing the project tasks and grow with you in your freelancing career. When you feel ready, start cranking out killer work.