3 most important communication skills to be a freelancer

I believe most freelancers agree that the most important skills to be a freelance translator is sales skills. Notice the plural? “Skills” not “a skill”. Contrary to what many think, sales skills are not just a smooth-talking skill to make clients believe that your product/services are good.

I believe sale skills include presentation skills, listening skills and most importantly work ethics to let clients what you owe your clients to tell.

You would be surprised to know how many people neglect the following the following communication.

  • Read email and respond timely or respond at all
  • When you are going be behind one a deadline, let clients know
  • When it takes a long time to answer questions, let senders know

I hire freelancers sometimes. Personally, when my freelancers neglect even one of above, I am done with them. I will never work with them again.

Read Email and respond timely

It feels even silly to explain why this is a deal breaker, but let me explain. Some people never take 2-3 days to respond, and some people take always take forever to respond so that you need to send a reminder. I think we can agree that it’s easier to work with the first one. The first one can be trusted more. Trust is the most important thing in business. It’s just like a relationship, some people respond more often, and some people never respond.
I would prefer to work with punctual trustable people with average skills than an irresponsible eccentric genius. But sometimes it takes few days to answer because you need to do some research to answer emails or maybe you are also waiting for an answer from another person. Here is a solution for that.

Even if you have nothing to say, respond anyway

For example, clients ask you “How is the project going? Any progress?”. You are waiting for other team or counterpart to do some work and you cannot start working before they do their job. So, you have no progress. For example, you got a project offer but you are too busy to read the email. Well…answer the email anyway. Just let them know that you read email and you are going to answer in 3 days because you are busy or because you are also waiting for a response. Not getting a response at all is the worst. I think you know that feeling. Like, after a job interview, the interviewer says “I will get back to you next Monday” and not getting a response on that Monday. You would feel so much better if he just said “Sorry, we’ve been busy. I will get back to you on Wednesday”.

Say something before you are asked.

I think it’s pretty common sense to answer questions regarding deadline or progress, but you need to be more professional and notify clients before they ask you questions if you are going to be late. I believe it’s pretty common sense, too. It’s like being stood up on a date if you don’t get a message from your freelancer about a delay. Notifying them after you are late is too late. You would be furious if you date is 2 hours late without any message and he said “sorry I’m two hours late” when he finally arrives. Just like you would not go on dates with him again, I would not work with such person again.

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