A client has made contact and they are looking for someone to do some freelance writing, freelance web design or some other kind of work. There’s just one catch: they want to meet in person. What should you do?
Nine times out of ten, freelance work is contracted through online contact. Clients can find you through a website, through a professional association or just through sheer luck. They’ve made that contact and it’s looking good – but they want to meet up.
Some people prefer to meet in person if they are going to hire someone for a job. You would expect to go for an interview if you wanted a job – this is a similar situation. Here are some tips to help you get that job.
- Find somewhere that you can both get to easily, to meet. If you are reasonably close by, perhaps a nearby city might be a good idea. You should not have to spend a fortune to meet a client unless they are reimbursing you. Meet at the local coffee house, where it will be easy to find through a search.
- Leave in plenty of time and do your best to arrive on time. Swap mobile numbers just in case there is a problem and if you found that you couldn’t get there, give as much notice as possible.
- Dress appropriately. Ripped jeans and dirty trainers are not really an image that you want to project. You may be freelance, but a potential client is expecting someone who is able to project a professional image. Dress in a smart-casual way, not necessarily a full suit, but definitely smart trousers and a shirt, if male and looking as though you have made an effort if female. Aim to make a good first impression.
- Know how you’re going to recognise each other.
- Order a drink, sit down and get down to business. Get to know each other. Is this someone you can work with? What is the scope of the project? The pay? Freelance work should pay enough to cover your costs, but you can also take into account how long the job is likely to last. Sometimes it is worth finding out the budget before you meet up to avoid wasting someone’s time.
- Don’t let the meeting take too long. Say what needs to be said, find out what you need to know and then part amicably. You may walk away with the job or you may need to wait to find out, like an interview, but be polite and leave a good impression.
- If you are waiting for an answer, but haven’t heard, it is definitely worth following up in 48 hours.
Good luck! Meeting a client for the first time can be nerve-wracking, but some of the best working relationships can come from people who have actually met in person rather than just communicated through email. Be prepared to meet your clients and hopefully more work will follow.