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Onboarding clients

From: Freelancing Fundamentals

Video: Onboarding clients

Let's say a client has shown interest in your services. Congratulations! I'd like to take you from their expression of interest until your first day of working for them; a period of time called "Onboarding." I'll break the process into four parts or the four Es. They are Expectations of you, Expectations of them, Execution of the agreement, and Establishment of procedures. The first two, the expectations you should have of each other should be spelled out in the agreement.

Onboarding clients

Let's say a client has shown interest in your services. Congratulations! I'd like to take you from their expression of interest until your first day of working for them; a period of time called "Onboarding." I'll break the process into four parts or the four Es. They are Expectations of you, Expectations of them, Execution of the agreement, and Establishment of procedures. The first two, the expectations you should have of each other should be spelled out in the agreement.

But there are matters that go beyond the agreement to day-to-day management of the relationship. They strongly affect how well a project goes because, ultimately, its success depends a lot on what the client does. Here are some things you should require of them. First, the name of one single person who will be responsible for interacting with you, make sure you get that person's email address, and phone number. If they insist on having multiple people responsible, make them explicitly divide those contacts and areas of responsibility. Otherwise, you'll be drawn into internal battles or find that nobody answers your questions because they each expect the other person to do it.

Second, spell out the materials and input that you expect from them. A lot of my own work is interview-based. I'll study a company's technology, then I'll talk to the technologist responsible for it for half-an-hour. If that person refuses to do the interview, I can't do my work. So, the project relies on that person's involvement. Lastly, get a promise of responsiveness. It does no good to know that they'll deliver certain materials if those materials show up too close to your deadline or even after it.

The third part of the Onboarding process is signing the agreement or in legal terms, executing it. This sounds obvious, but it's amazing how often freelancers and clients will sort of ooze into work without having an explicit and written down meeting of the minds. The signed agreement cements the relationship. Finally, we come to the last part: establishment of procedures. This is what actually happens to get the job started, where the rubber meets the road so to speak. It's important to transition your relationship from one of seller and buyer to one of colleague and colleague working together toward a goal.

I find this psychologically tough, especially if it's taken a while to reach an agreement. A good way to ease this transition is to set deadlines, and schedule collaborative work right away: meetings, interviews, draft reviews, and so on. That makes it clear that the fun part has begun. It's worth mentioning that these procedures will vary a lot from one situation to another, especially depending on company size. Onboarding with big companies might involve multiple levels of bureaucracy, for example. While making such arrangements with a small company might be more straightforward.

But the basic steps remain the same regardless of size or type of company.

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This video is part of

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Freelancing Fundamentals

42 video lessons · 25152 viewers

Tom Geller
Author

 
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  1. 10m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 53s
    2. What is freelancing?
      2m 53s
    3. How freelancing and employment differ
      2m 33s
    4. Preparing your mindset
      3m 31s
  2. 9m 24s
    1. Defining career goals
      2m 48s
    2. Sharpening your market focus
      3m 18s
    3. Transitioning to freelancing
      3m 18s
  3. 16m 11s
    1. Preparing your portfolio
      3m 11s
    2. Estimating costs
      3m 10s
    3. Funding your startup
      2m 42s
    4. Establishing your workspace
      3m 35s
    5. Building your professional network
      3m 33s
  4. 8m 51s
    1. Getting licenses, permits, and insurance
      2m 15s
    2. Creating contracts
      4m 23s
    3. Finding professional service vendors
      2m 13s
  5. 12m 54s
    1. Setting prices
      3m 13s
    2. Establishing payment systems
      1m 36s
    3. Invoicing and getting paid
      3m 50s
    4. Keeping the books
      2m 32s
    5. Managing taxes
      1m 43s
  6. 14m 41s
    1. Announcing your availability
      3m 16s
    2. Finding work through agencies
      2m 2s
    3. Onboarding clients
      2m 59s
    4. Avoiding scams
      3m 25s
    5. Choosing assignments
      2m 59s
  7. 11m 27s
    1. Interacting with clients
      2m 11s
    2. Delivering quality work
      2m 28s
    3. Getting referrals and recommendations
      2m 34s
    4. Losing and firing clients
      4m 14s
  8. 10m 48s
    1. Deconstructing big jobs
      3m 34s
    2. Adopting time-management tools
      2m 35s
    3. Creating schedules
      2m 30s
    4. Turning off the clock for "me time"
      2m 9s
  9. 20m 6s
    1. Staying motivated
      3m 3s
    2. Increasing your rates
      2m 52s
    3. Marketing beyond your professional network
      2m 56s
    4. Growing through hires and partnerships
      3m 30s
    5. Building passive income
      3m 48s
    6. Changing focus
      3m 57s
  10. 4m 52s
    1. Case study: Publishing a book
      2m 47s
    2. Next steps
      2m 5s
  11. 12m 42s
    1. Freelancing Q&A
      12m 42s

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