The easiest way to stand out as a freelancer

I was on a call tonight – from someone I met using Clarity.fm – when they shared a situation with me.

The situation has happened to them several times. They've hired developers and small shops and then suddenly they aren't getting updates.

So they do the logical thing. They send an email asking for an update.

What surprises them, as you can imagine, is that the response they get is no response at all.

Darkness. Silence. A lack of a response.

I was on a different Clarity call earlier this week when I heard a similar story.

Part way into a project the communication had stopped and the person I was talking to had no idea why.

They were shocked and surprised. Incredulous and Incensed.

I had another friend of mine ask me, “Why is it that developers hate the phone. It's like they're allergic to it.”

I explained that phone calls can easily become disruptions and distractions and that they have to be managed. But my general take, which you've heard me mention before, is that having a dedicated portion of your day set aside for calls is often a helpful thing.

So what does a freelancer have to do to stand out?

It turns out that a freelancer will almost immediately stand out and distinguish themselves from tons of other developers and agencies if they do one simple thing.

It's so simple that it feels foolish to write an entire post about it. Yet so many people rush past it that it often goes missing.

Ready?

Set up a regular time to email or talk with a client. A scheduled interaction. With regularity.

That. Right there.

That's all you have to do.

“I'll send you a recap Fridays at 2 pm.”

“I'll call you every Monday at 9 am.”

“We'll review our progress Thursday afternoons at 4 pm.”

“You should have an email status report every Friday afternoon by 5 pm.”

This isn't super hard to do. It's not a massive amount of hard work. And it doesn't take a degree to learn how to do this.

And if done, regularly, it will stave off all sorts of problems.

Yet for some reason, it's missing on tons of projects.

Having a consistently scheduled connection point with clients during a project will have the single biggest impact on your project success after raising your rates.

Don't believe me? Try it.