Have you ever made a blunder so big that it threatened your contract with a client? No matter how careful you are, there will be instances when you will make a lapse in judgement and it will have an impact on your work as a freelancer.
Making a mistake at the office is not the end of the world but when you are a freelancer, it is a bit daunting because of the lack of face to face interaction between you and the client. Perception plays a big role when you market yourself as a freelancer.
The quality of your work is often the main focus of your client-freelancer relationship and when you turn in results that do not meet the client’s expectations, it can cause an issue. The outcome can be disastrous for your freelancing business.
What can you do if a mistake has already been made? How do you recover from it and regain the client’s trust?
No excuses at all
The problem may have been out of your control, such as emergency situations, health concerns, equipment failure and the likes, but it can’t be used as an excuse for not delivering results. Take responsibility for your actions. This will show the client that you are a professional and that the false move does not define who you are as a freelancer. Provide the facts and admit that you are at fault.
Offer a sincere apology
No matter how hard you think it is, an apology is necessary. Your client expected and paid for a specific task and you were unable to deliver, so there is a need to say sorry. Don’t make it too long. There is no obligation to explain too much or provide details as it really does not make a difference on what happened.
Reassess your responsibilities
Determine if your skills are really fit for the tasks that your client is asking you to fulfill. Be honest if you will be unable to finish or repair the damage as it will be better that they find someone else rather than expect you to do it, then be disappointed. State the facts and let your client make an assessment. Do not argue if they decide to go with someone else; that is the price of being unable to deliver the results in the time and manner expected.
Fix the issue
Ultimately, the client is looking for a solution. Do not just say sorry and leave it at that. Rather, offer to rectify the error in a way that will satisfy your client’s needs. If the project is too big or too complicated for you, be upfront about it and provide an alternative to the client, such as helping to source someone who can do it or offering a refund if you were already paid for the task. Be specific when you offer a solution. The client will appreciate your efforts and will be more inclined to forgive you.
Upgrade your skills
Take it as a lesson not to accept responsibilities that you cannot fulfill and if you do plan on taking that same road towards your freelancing career, look for ways to learn the skill set that you need. There are free and paid resources that you can use in order to acquire additional skills. This will help to prevent the same situation from happening in the future. Bear in mind that clients hire for expertise. They don’t know what you are going through on your personal life and they should not. It is up to you to ensure that whatever commitments you agree to will be accomplished in the manner that your clients expect it.
Professionalism is the name of the game in the freelancing industry and the more you can showcase this, the easier it will be for you to succeed.