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Freelancing tips:
Dos and don'ts on how to behave

With every new assignment potentially unknown challenges await external professionals. Not all clients are the same, each team of employees reacts differently to a new external specialist. Therefore, as a self-employed professional, approach every project with a lot of empathy.

How to avoid indiscretions while freelancing

  • Depending on department and company, the way clients speak to internal employees may vary. Find out beforehand about the company’s communication culture to behave accordingly.
  • Ensure that your service as an external professional is clearly defined. All the involved parties need to know in detail about your responsibilities and competencies to make the collaboration a success.
  • If you are contacted for a project abroad, get information about possible cultural differences.
  • If you are brought in to improve or modernise an existing project, do not voice harsh criticism. The colleagues who were responsible for the project in the past may be present. Try to find out who has worked on the project up to now. Try to use words like "improve" or "optimise".

Tips for how to behave towards your clients

  • Always take notes when talking to your client. These notes may include not just essentials about your assignments but also key points about the company, its culture and its communications.
  • Listen actively and mentally assume different positions to better be able to question decisions and structures. Do not form your opinion until you have all the necessary information. Your client will realise that you have a firm point of view and that they can trust your judgement.
  • Accurately calculate your hourly and/or daily rate beforehand and find out what you can charge in your industry as a self-employed professional. Do not waiver from your specified hourly rate even if the assignment sounds enticing or the client wants to reduce your rate.
  • Periodically reflect on: The role you have Where and how you interface with the team Where additional technical consultation is necessary What you can do to leverage your experience even more Do not hesitate to ask some of these questions directly to your client. It shows: You act in a deliberate and structured way.

How to handle the particularities of your role as a freelancer

  • There may be project-related interfaces where you come into contact and communicate with people from your team. Follow the usual business etiquette, be polite and loyal without becoming too intimate.
  • Show your dependability during all stages of the project: Be promptly available for your customers and show interest in driving the project. At the same time, it is important to realise where you need to draw the line and pull away from operational processes. In this context, speak openly about your expectations and those of your client.
  • There may be situations where collaboration with the client is difficult or not possible because of various differences. In such a case, use open communication and constructive feedback. If there is no improvement, you can terminate the contractual relationship prematurely.

At a glance — the top five dos and donʼts for freelancers

✓ Be polite at all times.
✓ Maintain a friendly, solution-oriented way of communicating.
✓ Be well prepared and ask questions generating new drivers for the project.
✓ Researching is key: find out detailed information about the company.
✓ Accurately calculate your hourly rate beforehand (considering industry-specific

✗ If a project is already ongoing, do not start by pointing out mistakes.
✗ Avoid any direct criticism.
✗ Do not get pushed into a role but actively help shape it.
✗ Do not get pushed into joining ongoing processes right from the start at full capacity.
✗ Voice your expectations clearly and ensure you are properly onboarded.

Conclusion: Empathetic freelancers have it easier

While checking out our project portal , you will find many potential clients—and they are not all the same. A critical and helpful aspect for external professionals is to listen out for nuances pointing out what the future collaboration may look like. This includes finding out detailed information about the company and its culture beforehand. Vice versa, our job alert offers you as an expert the possibility to store your search parameters and to be contacted by e-mail. In addition, our freelancer guide offers you further tips, e.g., how to find projects as a freelancer.