When you start to feel drained by clients and collaborators, you might find yourself wondering if it’s all worth it. Don’t let those vampires suck the passion out of you, these points are going to be your garlic and holy water to protect your boundaries.
One of the main reasons anyone becomes a freelancer is because they believe they will be happier and more liberated. When you start to feel drained by clients and collaborators, you might find yourself wondering if it’s all worth it. Don’t let those vampires suck the passion out of you, these points are going to be your garlic and holy water to protect your boundaries.
This is important for everyone, but especially so for those who are just recently starting to make the freelance switch. If you were working in an office before, your hours were more clearly defined (over-stepping bosses aside). If you were maintaining your freelance clients on the side, they may be used to hearing from you either early in the morning or late at night. Once you decide to freelance full-time, set clear hours of when anyone you’re working with can expect to hear from you. You are your own boss, you don’t need to work until you become the undead.
Besides setting the hours that people are allowed to get in touch with you, you need to make it clear how you want to communicate. Are your clients allowed to call or text you? Do you prefer emails? Slack? Ouija board? Are you pro or anti-video call? If you’re in the same city as your clients, do you ever want to meet up in person–at a haunted house? It’s important to establish this before you start getting a deluge of DM’s and texts from your clients looking for updates when all you want is an email.
One of the ways I do this, is by creating a ‘Communication’ page in my proposals, which state the hours of operation, preferred ways to reach me, and any other info around our systems and apps we use for client management. I’ve also seen some people set certain days as thier meeting only days so that clients always know you can be scheduled on those days.
As a freelancer, you are your own boss, but in the spirit of wanting to please your clients, sometimes you may fall into the trap of seeing your clients as your boss. This can lead to the slippery slope of allowing them to completely control the above points and more (ah hem. – back seat designer!). If you find yourself instinctively letting them creep on your boundaries, remember this: you and your client are equals, they do not dictate you.
Take everything we just discussed, and put it on paper. A contract is your ultimate tool against scope creep, boundary steppers, price negotiators, and email spammers. Make sure the timeline, amount of edits, cost, and consequences are all highlighted in the contract. Once signed, use it to hold everyone involved, including yourself, accountable. The phrase “as per the contract” is your incantation to maintain your happiness and sanity.
In some cases, you may get the psychic vibe that this potential client will be difficult. If you haven’t even gotten to the contract stage and you find yourself grinding your teeth whenever you have to speak to them, stop. Ghost them! 👻 (nah just kidding!) – Put yourself first and –professionally– give them your regrets but never burn your bridges and give them some referrals or options. Remember: vampires have to be invited in. You have the power to put a stop to the drain before it begins.
If you take the above seriously and stick to your boundaries you’ll be much less likely to fall victim to the vampires that suck the joy out of being a freelancer. You deserve a happy, successful career. Don’t let them grave rob that from you!
Oct 20, 2022
Don’t let vampires suck the passion out of you, these points are going to be your garlic and holy water to protect your boundaries.