How to Master Your Freelancer – Client Consultation

how to master your freelancer - client consultation twine thumbnail

A successful project starts with a rather successful freelancer – client consultation. It ensures you’re on the same page when it comes to deadlines, finances and the project scope overall.

Even though it’s vital to get right – you’d be surprised by how many clients show up unprepared for their client consultation. So, seen as we have your best in mind, we thought we’d put together this handy how-to guide on mastering the art of the freelancer – client consultation.

Let’s start from the basics…

What is a consultation?

man wearing suit drinking coffee in consultation

A consultation (not to be confused with a consultation form) is simply a meeting to discuss your project, to figure out what you want, when you need it and what your budget is.

The tricky bit is deciding when a chat becomes a consultation, so you need to make sure you’ve clarified it with the freelancer you hire. Some will be happy to talk it through with you your project in-depth, whereas others won’t discuss anything without billing for the time.

Remember, it’s not just about what the client needs – your freelancer will act as your business partner, so they should be considered too!

What are you paying for with a freelancer – client consultation?

small brain model

If a freelancer is helping you figure out the details of your project, then you’re benefitting from using their time and skills. Don’t be one of those people who contacts a load of freelancers to chat about your project, waste their time and have no intention of hiring them.

Remember that this is their career and any time spent chatting about a project is time they could be working on something else (or enjoying themselves!). If you really want to chat in-depth about your project, hammer out the details and shape an excellent end result, then be prepared to pay for the time.

A consultation should only take an hour or so, so won’t cost a fortune and could save you a lot of time and money later on, so – really, as a prospective client – it’s a pretty good investment.

Preparing for your freelancer – client consultation

notes on mindmap board

If you turn up to your consultation empty-handed and unprepared then you’re wasting both of your time. An ideal client will have formulated a sketched-out plan, full to the brim with ideas and thoughts on how to move forward.

Do your research – look up similar projects and see the amount of work it took to create each element. In the freelancer – client consultation process, there’s no such thing as overexplaining. Your freelancer would rather have too many ideas than too little!

Here are 4 tips you must include in order to get your project off to the right start:

1. Discuss your project goals

plan showing goals for a freelance project

The first thing you should do is discuss the business goal within your project guidelines. Your freelancer needs to know what the reason is for this project, so they are able to get behind it. Remember, you’re introducing them to this project, so share as much information as possible!

The project goals should be quantifiable goals you’d like to accomplish. Is the aim of your project to increase brand awareness or sell a new product? Whatever it is, you need to identify each goal and measure exactly what it will take to achieve them. 

Having specific, outlined goals will make it much easier for both yourself and your freelancer to evaluate the success of the project. Not to mention, reaching said goals is one hell of a way to keep your freelancer motivated! 

2. Discuss what’s worked well in the past (and what hasn’t…)

graph showing things working well in a project and things not

How do you get better? Well, of course, you reflect.

Let your freelancer know what things you’ve tried – even if they went disastrously wrong – as it will be useful information when it comes to moving forward with your own project.

Or, if you’re completely new to the type of project you’re proposing, be honest about that too. However, if you’re fresh to the scene, at least provide a few examples of things you like the look of or things that you really don’t. The more information you have on hand, the better your freelancer will be able to understand your style and tone, and can better flesh out your project.

3. Introduce your audience/customers

4 people sat around a laptop pointing at the screen

Your target audience or buyer persona absolutely must be introduced to your freelancer in the client consultation. After all, your audience are the people your project will be talking to. If your freelancer doesn’t have a correct sense of who they are, how do you know your project will be successful at all?

Again, research is vital here. Consider psychographics and demographics, what’s working in the market currently, what type of content your audience engages with most.

Knowing all of these aspects and informing your freelancer will be crucial at setting up your freelancer – client consultation for success.

4. Set clear deadlines

typewriter with piece of paper saying deadline on it

Essentially, a goal without a deadline is not really a goal.

So, if you want your freelancer fully committed to the cause, set up a specific deadline for your project. This should be included in the freelancer – client consultation straight away, as freelancers often have multiple projects on the go, so need to plan their time accordingly.

Also, don’t leave things til the last minute! When in doubt, over estimate the time your freelancer will need – when it comes to a project, you’d rather be safe having completed it on time, than sorry.

Wrapping up

To conclude, a great freelancer – client consultation is something that will impact the entire project. Get this bit wrong, and you’re on for a rather tedious, bumpy ride…

We hope you enjoyed this article on nailing your freelancer – client consultation. Need help choosing a freelancer or figuring out how much outsourcing a freelancer costs? Luckily, we have the articles for you.

Ready to hire? Our marketplace of over 410,000 freelancers have the skills and expertise needed to skyrocket your business to the next level. From marketers to designers, copywriters to SEO experts – browse the talented bunch here!

Tannah Cantrell

Originally, a freelance painter and writer, Tannah Cantrell is a Digital Marketing Executive at Twine - an online marketplace that helps creative freelancers connect with clients and start building their dream careers.