This post, Freelancer Tips: About Setting Boundaries, was written by nDash community member Anup Sohanta.
Working as a freelancer can be challenging. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing it full-time or as a side gig to earn a little extra income. You have to learn how to be your own boss, manage clients and establish your own boundaries.
When you’re working for an employer, boundaries are usually put in place for you. Examples include work hours and pay rates. But, when you’re working for yourself, it’s up to you to set boundaries to protect yourself and your clients.
Since remote-first structures and freelancing increased in 2020, it’s important to understand how to set boundaries as a freelancer. We’ve put together a few strategies to implement into your own processes so you can keep your freelance business profitable and protect your mental health.
What Is Boundary Setting?
Personal and business boundaries are protocols that you put in place for the protection of you and your clients. For your freelance business, setting boundaries allows you to establish terms with your clients. Specifically about how you’ll work together and develop a thriving relationship.
Setting boundaries is essential when working as a freelancer because it can become easy to forget you’re a business that needs to earn profits and are providing a deliverable in exchange for payment. Entry-level freelancers can often fall into the trap of doing what it takes just because they need the work. That can result in over-extending themselves, working longer hours than normal, and rushing deliverables without charging more.
Here’s how you can make sure you’re establishing the right boundaries within your freelance business.
Be Clear About What’s Expected of You
In total honesty, I think we’ve all been tasked with something and not been entirely sure about what’s expected of us. Not clarifying what’s expected of us, we often feel that gaining clarity on what’s expected of us makes us seem inexperienced or not the right person for the job.
On the contrary, it’s quite the opposite; understanding your client’s pain points provides you greater leverage to solve them and provide the exact deliverables they’re looking for. Understanding your client’s content brief and what’s expected of you can save you a whole lot of time and frustration.
Ask the right questions and be clear about what your client is looking for so you can spend your time wisely.
Charge More for Your Time
Time is considered the most valuable thing in the world, and as a freelancer, you should be charging more for it. It’s not unusual for clients to ask for edits or revisions, and if you’re not making your terms about revisions clear, it could eat into your profits.
It’s essential to inform clients before you begin working with them about your terms. That could include:
- The exact details of deliverables that you’ll provide to the client
- Costs of your services
- The number of free revisions that are included (if any)
- Cost of revisions and amendments to assignments
Furthermore, creating a contract between you and the client allows you to solidify your boundaries through legal means. If you’re charging more for revisions, the client knows about it before your start work, and you can legally enforce that if need be, which helps to build a bond of trust between you and the client.
Self-Care Is More Than a Buzzword
The term “self-care” has been thrown around quite a lot in recent years; there’s a misconception that self-care is all about eating pizza in your pajamas and napping through the week like it’s Sunday. But, self-care is more about nurturing your body and mental health.
Not taking downtime and grinding can lead to burnout, alongside decreasing your levels of productivity. It’s important to establish a boundary that provides you with greater flexibility (after all, that’s one of the main perks of freelancing).
More flexibility provides bigger opportunities to spend time recharging your batteries and spending time with family and can result in higher quality deliverables.
Start Setting Your Boundaries Today
Setting boundaries requires a great deal of consistency. So it’s important to standardize the process for every client. Doing so ensures you are getting the most out of it. Suppose you don’t currently have a contract. In that case, it’s important to create one as soon as possible. It can provide accountability for you and your client. That includes terms of cost, turnaround times, and any other important terms with your freelancing business.
To learn more about building a freelance business, take a look at the nDash blog.