If you like what you read (and you’re in Portland, OR), be sure to catch Katie’s workshop on Thursday, 2/20/14 on how to build happy, healthy relationships with clients and avoid design problems. It’s part of the Freelance360 series for the Freelancers Union.
When most people think about avoiding conflict they think about pretending that a conflict isn’t there, or pretending it isn’t as difficult as it really is. They avoid conflict by living in an alternate universe where the conflict doesn’t exist, while the rest of us are here wondering what’s wrong with them.
That’s not avoiding conflict. That’s making conflict worse.
What sort of things can you do to discourage conflict? I’m so glad you asked!
Set Boundaries Early & Often
Clients do not do our jobs, so clients don’t know how much time it takes to do our jobs.
They also don’t know if we have two other deadlines to worry about, are sharing child-care with a partner, literally need the 3 day vacation we have coming up, or that we design software, not build websites.
Now, you might not need to share all of those details with your clients, but you do need to train them on what they can expect from you so you can enjoy the rest of your life.
When bringing on a new client, send them a brief FAQ that covers your general availability, how you like to communicate best, the average turn-around for the types of projects you do, and what kind of work you don’t do but would be happy to recommend other professionals for.
If you tell your clients you’re not available on weekends, guess what happens? They won’t expect to hear from you on the weekend.