Building relationships is a pretty core skill that you have to have as a freelancer. With most communication happening over different types of resources it can be an interesting world to try and navigate. This guide is going to dive into what it takes to build a successful relationship as an independent contractor in a highly virtual world.
There will be many forms of communication that we’ll be talking about as well as a few different kinds of multimedia that you will need to be aware of. This is going to help you build that client list that keeps coming back again and again.
Communication is the biggest step with any client. Being available as often as you can and being transparent are going to be some of the largest ways that you can help yourself in building those unique relationships.
Too many people think that open communication means that you are spouting off everything that is going on in your life. That’s simply not the case.
Rather, open communication is being frank with those that you are working with and letting them know if you made a mistake or if you are going to reschedule something.
That openness is something that people begin to value because instead of being left in the dark, you are being transparent which we will touch on more a little later.
Multiple Forms of Communication
As an independent business owner (see more about this definition here), you are going to have to manage multiple forms of communication and each one of them come with their own form or acceptable turns of speech.
This is why most people hire someone with communication skills to handle this type of communication. It takes some studying, but you can master the different forms of communication that can be found on multiple platforms.
Transparency of Communication
This one can be a little more difficult than open communication between two people. If something is going on in your life, you don’t have to tell your client everything that is going on.
But you do need to be transparent.
What does transparent mean though? It means not lying about how much you can handle at a certain point and it also means being direct with what is going on. Don’t just hide the fact that you have a family member in the hospital, but be honest and let your client know that there is a family emergency.
See what I did there?
Attitude and Drive
There’s the idea of letting your work do the talking but that doesn’t take into account that, as previously discussed, you have to talk to people about your work. The next few points are going to talk about how to have an attitude that helps build those positive relationships and how to let your work speak for itself.
Something that we all have to work on in a world where being fake is such an acceptable norm, is being genuine. Don’t try to hide who you are as a person. Yes there is the idea that you do need to be kind, direct, and follow general social norms.
However, this doesn’t mean wearing a painted mask all the time. It means follow social conventions and still let yourself shine through. It can be a bit difficult to do but it is something that you will grow to appreciate instead of feeling stifled behind that mask.
Back Up Your Words with Work
Part of your drive is making sure that your work is backed by your statements of quality. What you communicate needs to come through in your work and can’t just be some random quality of work. you may have to move deadlines due to family, but always put out quality work that backs up your words.
Let The Work do the Talking
If you have a client who is less into communication and more so into the just-do-the-work attitude, that’s okay! This is where your drive comes through and demonstrates your quality of work to the client.
This in turn builds another positive relationship because you are able to show them that you aren’t just blowing smoke in their face.
Part of building relationships is maintaining them. This means that you are talking to clients as regularly as you can, checking in on them, having small conversations here and there and making sure that they still remember who you are.
This can be a little more difficult in a contractual world, however when you are building a client base this is one of the most valuable skills that you need to hone.
Communication is the biggest piece of maintaining a relationship with clients and building them. In fact, without communication in the virtual or real world, there is no relationship building. Another big part of relationship building is letting your work do the talking which, let’s be honest, is another form of communication.
No matter how you look at it, having the right attitude, the right work ethic, and a great communication style is going to help you build long-lasting relationships as an independent contractor.