One of the more tedious tasks of being a freelancer is onboarding new clients. And since freelancers have an ebb and flow of incoming and outgoing work, this means we can constantly find ourselves onboarding (and offboarding!) new clients. Some clients can be working with freelancers for the first time, and some clients can have their own process in place. Rather than leave it up to the control of the client – creating your own process helps set the relationship up for success.

Here are some of the ways you can create a delightful onboarding process with your client without bogging it down with such complicated structure.

Why onboarding is essential

A strong onboarding process ensures you and your client are in sync with one another right from the start which means a successful client relationshipA successful onboarding process leads to increased retention, greater achievement, and overall happier team mates.

Oboarding clients involves working with them – it’s a give and take type of relationship where even though they are hiring you for your expertise, you shouldn’t walk into your role and dictate how everything should run. At the same time, you shouldn’t expect them to provide 100% of the structure and guidance you need to accomplish your tasks.

Get the 411 during the introduction call

When you have your intro call, Skype, or email back and forth, ensure you ask about your client’s current process for the job you’re going to go. Note if they list things that are or are not working well for them.

If you see an opportunity to create a better workflow that will benefit the client and make your role easier, mention it to them. But be sure to come prepared with reasoning and expert insight as to why you see the need to adjust their methods. Some clients may be more open to change than others.

Ask for process documents, notes, spreadsheets, contact information, logins/passwords (we recommend secure tools like 1Password for teams), brand guidelines, etc. during that onboarding call. Any and all information that will help you do your job seamlessly. This will help alleviate some of the back and forth emails that can occur when you are unsure and need to double check to see if you are conducting your work properly. These documents also lay out the groundwork of your role and the expectations set forth for you.

This is also the perfect time to go over your contract, invoice, freelance agreement, and make any necessary adjustments. Lucky for you, CloudPeeps makes it simple to adjust your rate and job responsibilities at any time. Having everything in writing and agreed upon in advance will save the headache if conflict arises.

Have open communication

When you’re beginning your freelance relationship, explain how you work best and ask your client how they work bet. For a successful client-freelancer relationship to work, you both have to have an understanding of each other’s workflow and perspective. For example: if you work best autonomously with space – mention your process to the client to set their expectations. The client may want to have a hands-off approach to your relationship or they may want to be updated on your progress each step of the way: you do not want them to think you are ghosting them.

Don’t be afraid to set boundaries early on. If you are mapping out to work on a client’s project on a certain time or day – tell them clearly. If you’re behind with your work or were sick, instead of hiding it – be transparent and over-communicate.

Take note of company culture

Before kicking off work, get a feel for a company’s culture. This is important to understanding their workflow and their company. This, in turn, will help you glide into your role and responsibilities, ensuring a long-lasting and successful relationship. At the very least, it helps you conduct your daily tasks using the brand’s voice and ethos.

Adapting to and appreciating their company culture will show your client you care about their business, which makes them feel valued. This will help to build trust between you and your client. This is essential, especially as an outsider to the company when it can be difficult to express your stake in their growth and success.

Final thoughts

Onboarding new clients doesn’t have to be a time-consuming dread any longer. As long as you have a clear onboarding process and expectations in place, you will surely have a delightful client-freelancer relationship.

CloudPeeps helps encourage a successful onboarding experience from day one. Once you accept an offer through the platform, we send you an email encouraging you to get in touch with your new client and set up an onboarding call. We also provide you with links on submitting invoices and getting started with your new client on the platform.

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Lisa Crocco
Lisa Crocco is a public relations freelancer who can be found wandering the aisles of local bookstores or the streets of a new city. When not reading or traveling she tends to write about both of those hobbies, among other topics.