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Here's how to get the full attention of your freelancer.

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Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
1 of 54

Howdy.  John here.  Freelancer, one side.  Hiring client, another.  I can see from both perspectives is the message.  Just for frame of reference.


Here's a tactic I use on the hiring side.  I guarantees I have the freelancer's full attention.

Prior to starting the work, I arrange a video conference call.  I happen to use Zoom. The Upwork facility works fine.   In that call, I specifically cover the end of project step to zip the project up -- provide ratings -- and make sure my contractor is taken care of.


I explain that I understand the JSS rating is the most important business asset they have.  I explain that I do not quibble over hiccups here-or-there.  If they screw up, they will hear about it in person, not on the JSS.  Their JSS will be protected.

 

With 100% probability, this takes a ton of worry off the freelancer's mind.  Their spirit of thankfullness wells up.  And they will, amazingly, try even harder to please.

Counsel provided.  Set up a video conf call before the work starts.  Talk the freelancer through their JSS worries.  Gain their trust, gain their loyalty, gain the best results.

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Ace Contributor
Valerie S Member Since: Jun 22, 2015
2 of 54

Thank you, oh Guru of BAD ADVICE! I can honestly tell you, if a client addressed the JSS score before the project (or how to they would "protect" it) there'd be extremely painful clanging bells going off in my head (and I would hope they would think the same thing should a freelancer address it!). Way to start off a great relationship / contract - with "unspoken" distrust and "sugar coated" I know I can damage you - but I won't... I go in expecting NOT to be damaged because I trust that I can make the client happy - if they ever addressed this like you are stating I would run in the opposite direction. Manipulation is a no no, I'm pretty sure you're aware, do you seriously not see it that way? Frightening.  

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Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
3 of 54

Valerie S wrote:

Thank you, oh Guru of BAD ADVICE! I can honestly tell you, if a client addressed the JSS score before the project (or how to they would "protect" it) there'd be extremely painful clanging bells going off in my head (and I would hope they would think the same thing should a freelancer address it!). Way to start off a great relationship / contract - with "unspoken" distrust and "sugar coated" I know I can damage you - but I won't... I go in expecting NOT to be damaged because I trust that I can make the client happy - if they ever addressed this like you are stating I would run in the opposite direction. Manipulation is a no no, I'm pretty sure you're aware, do you seriously not see it that way? Frightening.  


This. This right here. "I can totally destroy your JSS, but I won't. Cuddles!" lol

 

Communicate with them, at least 2x to 3x a week, by video conference call.

 

oof, I advise freelancers to have a pontification upcharge on this one. Like you know this dude gets you on the phone to talk about his little boat in the Keys and his freelancer life. If he wants to do this, I suggest hourly and let him pontificate about his greatness while you sit back and charge him lol

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Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
4 of 54

Communicate with them, at least 2x to 3x a week, by video conference call.  It seems like some big time overhead?  It is 10 minutes in a day, 3 days in a week.   Ask them how they feel about their work so far.  What you can do to help them be more productive.  What problems do they have.  What successes do they feel they have achieved.

 

Now, some freelancers will prefer to operate in the darkness and under the covers.  If that is what they prefer, they will let you know.  Most do not.  Most freelancers simply want a human connection of some sort.  They want to be realized as human contributors to your success. 


Feed their needs and they will feed your delivery bucket.

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
5 of 54

John B wrote:

Communicate with them, at least 2x to 3x a week, by video conference call. 


Ridiculous.

 


John B wrote:

If that is what they prefer, they will let you know.  .


Yup. Any self-respecting adult professional will fire micro-managing helicopter clients who clearly haven't a clue the second they try such nonsensical stunts.

 

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Community Guru
Christine A Member Since: May 4, 2016
6 of 54

Petra R wrote:

John B wrote:

Communicate with them, at least 2x to 3x a week, by video conference call. 


Ridiculous.

 


John B wrote:

If that is what they prefer, they will let you know.  .


Yup. Any self-respecting adult professional will fire micro-managing helicopter clients who clearly haven't a clue the second they try such nonsensical stunts.

 


Yes, 100% agree. I realise that responding to the OP is like talking to a wall, but in case any clients are actually considering taking this terrible advice, allow me to strongly present a more rational point of view. There's no way that I want all of my clients video calling to check up on me three times per week, and if a client did that to me, I would never work with them again. With anywhere from 3-6 projects on the go at any given time, that would mean I'd have to arrange 9-18 meetings per week, along with loads of back and forth to find times that would work for people in multiple time zones around the world; it would leave me with hardly any availability to actually work!

 

Video conferences are useful at the beginning of a project, or at points duing a longer, complex project where discussions to establish direction are required. But the only type of freelancers who would tolerate (let alone appreciate) 3-times-weekly video calls are either so inexperienced that they require constant hand-holding, or are so lonely that they're desperate for anyone to talk to.

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Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
7 of 54

Fixed fee contract goes up.  We place up a budget that is probably (a) our expectation of cost and/or (b) our desired budget.


Then we get nn responses with freelancers who, seemingly, picked some budget number from here-or-there.  What to do with this information?


Don't act upon it.  They are guessing or using some pat answer.  It is meaningless data and a bit of a shame they'd guess but that is how it is in freelancer-land.   In your interviews, indicate they do not have enough information to scope correctly, you'll start with that, then provide them with a scoping information document.  Tangible data, real facts on delivery needs -- a guidepost.  Then ask your top three or whatever to reform their budget based on specific knowledge and return with their number.

 

The point in freelancer-land is not to get the best price. The point is to get a fair price, have the freelancers head in the game, feel comfortable, and be motivated in spirited ways to fulfill their end of the bargain.  Use a scoping document in your first call, then ask them to reformulate their number.

Then you have data that is reliable and a number they can be held to, because it is their number.  Not yours.

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Community Guru
Reinier B Member Since: Nov 3, 2015
8 of 54

John B wrote:

Fixed fee contract goes up.  We place up a budget that is probably (a) our expectation of cost and/or (b) our desired budget.


Then we get nn responses with freelancers who, seemingly, picked some budget number from here-or-there.  What to do with this information?


Don't act upon it.  They are guessing or using some pat answer.  It is meaningless data and a bit of a shame they'd guess but that is how it is in freelancer-land.   In your interviews, indicate they do not have enough information to scope correctly, you'll start with that, then provide them with a scoping information document.  Tangible data, real facts on delivery needs -- a guidepost.  Then ask your top three or whatever to reform their budget based on specific knowledge and return with their number.

 

The point in freelancer-land is not to get the best price. The point is to get a fair price, have the freelancers head in the game, feel comfortable, and be motivated in spirited ways to fulfill their end of the bargain.  Use a scoping document in your first call, then ask them to reformulate their number.

Then you have data that is reliable and a number they can be held to, because it is their number.  Not yours.


Here is how it works in my freelancer land; I am always happy to negotiate and "reformulate my number" upwards by a significant margin should a prospective client suggest that I had "picked some budget number from here-or-there". 

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Community Guru
Kelly B Member Since: Jan 1, 2016
9 of 54

Who *are* you? Is that how you believe human beings talk? I'm betting you use the meaningless "pat" questions Upwork offers up to clients to make their project description seem more "professional" or complete.

 

I am a freelancer because I like to work in my pajamas and wear baseball hats. I choose a budget for a project not based on some pie-in-the-sky number suggested by a "client" who may never have hired a freelancer before but based on my 20+ years of experience in my field. I also nudge the number up if said client wants to have a video call. If a client wants 2 or 3 video calls per week, I immediately become too busy to accept the project. Mention JSS and I will go running for the hills.

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Community Guru
John B Member Since: Aug 20, 2015
10 of 54

Who am I?  Fair enough. You asked the question.  I deserve to respond.

 

To answer your question.  I am a 58-year-old freelance professional who does this work because I made a lot of money in my 30s, as a consultant, building a company. Now I can work in freelancer-land, live to the standards I deem appropriate, and not worry about billings.

 

To answer your question.  I am a highly trained professional consultant capable of running seven-figure projects staffed with forty or more jr consultants in the $70k a year or more income profile.

 

To answer your question.  I have a longevity in freelancer-land of more than nine years now, as I inhabited eLance before Upwork, which I started in 2013 as memory serves. My profile is available should you want to self-answer your question.


So that is who I am.  These are not merely wanderings of a disorganized mind. I come out here to provide pointed advice, am willing to withstand the always-negative comments.  Stand back in sheer wonder no one can contribute back simple responses, like "well, in my experience, I did this, it worked, here's why".  I stand back in sheer wonder people cannot show up with a story about their most recent glorious win, what they feel they are doing right, why the won, why they feel it is right.

 

In net, I am a Big Four-style constant blessed with and stranded in freelancer-land. The blessing part is the client and hiring side.  The stranded part is the Forum. My culture clashes, not the first time, not the last time, probably every time and that is how it is.

 

I have to depart now.  Work calls.  Thanks for asking who I was.  Now you know in spades.

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