Think about it, what prompts a client to look for a freelance designer? A business owner has recognised a problem with their current platform, or an entrepreneur has an idea but not quite sure of the path to take to get there. Basically, clients aren’t just looking for a designers, they are looking for problem solvers with a process driven mindset.
Clients want to know what the end to end process looks like, how long will it take and most importantly – what will it cost? They are looking for a package to align budgets and expectations. You’ll need to get used to giving ball park estimations as it’s a key step to convert conversation into actual work.
You’ll need to understand their business needs to begin with so there’ll be an element of absorption. Here’s an example of how I define clear milestones that identify actions needed along the way.
The best place to start with this is a mood board which captures screenshots, ideas of content, design, layout and strategical approaches. It helps to sense check the project landscape which in turn creates a plan of action to agree ‘Next steps’.
Get an understanding of the client’s product or idea and ask these simple questions to form the basis of a brief.
Discuss and agree with the client what areas need to take priority from a business point of view and show previous prototypes or work examples and explain what’s involved in this part of the process, creating wireframes and sharing with potential users etc
Get an understanding from the client what the design aesthetic could look like – do they have a brand or does one need creating? This will influence the direction of the UI. Also listen to the client if they have firm requests – recommend your thoughts appropriately.
Identify if the client has a team of devs and clearly explain how they will receive design files. Alternatively, if you can recommend someone that will help deliver the build – they would more than likely work with you as their design partner.
Let’s face it, if you’re hoping to strive for a long term client relationship you’ve got to be likeable, they want a freelancer or collaborative partner that they can rely on, so keep working on your client facing skills and stay open and honest.
The way that you clearly demonstrate your UX process shows experience and expertise. Clients want to know that you have a plan that they can be guided by. Whilst on the video call show previous work and give them insight of what deliverables to expect, get your salesman’s hat on and use uncomplicated language to help them understand how to achieve their goals.
Alway be clear and realistic with timeframes, respond to client emails and keep them updated with progress that’s being made. The break down of poor communication can be the downfall of a project even if you’re producing top quality work. Stay professional and respond in a timely manner.
I’d recommend you to be clear about your business terms and be upfront about how and when you expect to receive payment.
Think like the client and understand their problem – speak their language and be transparent. Remember that as a freelance UX designer, you don’t want lots of clients. You need clients with jobs that fit well with what you do best.