8 Problems Clients Face While Working with Freelancers and How to Solve Them
- 24 March, 2021
In our last blog, we shared with you the inspiring experiences of entrepreneurs who had great help from freelancers during their start-up years. Today, we are going to discuss the problems that business owners face with freelancers.
Discussing problems is also imperative because, as a freelancer, you can derive valuable lessons out of it and learn how you can overcome your shortcomings to help clients more efficiently and productively.
Entrepreneurs Share 8 Common Problems They Face with Freelancers
We asked business owners to share the problems that they often face when they work with freelance contractors. We compiled their responses and listed down the most common issues that result in unfinished projects or low-quality work.
Lack of communication skills, ethics, and standards are the topmost important concerns of business owners when they hire a freelancer.
Reuben Yonatan, founder, and CEO of GetVoIP.com says that the problem they face with freelancers is poor communication skills. He adds, “Most freelancers are too independent and will only communicate when they are ready, not when you want them to. It can be a bit frustrating to realize that you have very little control.”
With regards to communication ethics, Justin Nabity, CEO, and Founder of PhysiciansThrive, says, “Due to a lack of experience in real companies and among people, many freelancers are unaware of the basic ethical communication standards. These factors combined with a less serious attitude when it comes to fulfilling their responsibilities lead to frequent communication problems and over dues.”
Poor communication skills and ethics are not the only problems that business owners face with freelancers. In fact, some business owners even report a lack of timely communication due to different communication technologies.
“A major issue when working with different freelancers is that everyone has their own standard of communication. This includes differing project management software, standards for communicating updates, and expectations for the quality of work expected at each checkpoint along the way,” says a small business owner, Janelle Lara of Janellelara.com.
Accountability is yet another serious concern of many business owners when they hire a freelancer. Some freelancers do not take responsibility for their work, and some may not stick to the end and see the project through. It eventually leads to incomplete, low-quality, or undesirable work.
Linn Atiyeh, Founder, and CEO of Bemana.us, says, “Issues with accountability and commitment. One of the largest problems that businesses face when hiring freelancers is a lack of consistency and accountability. Often, we see cases where a freelancer misses deadlines or is not as reliable as we might hope. These issues arise because, unlike with your employees, freelancers do not always operate under your direct purview. As a result, they may be harder to manage or hold accountable.”
Another business owner, Manny Vetti from Backtaxeshelp.com, shares his story, “I hired a person one time to help me with some data entry work. I am not the type of person who's going to micromanage something as simple as that. Well, long story short, that person did not do the work correctly, they got paid and left without a trace. I learned my lesson to the only trust verified freelancers now. I think that's an issue that needs to be addressed within the freelancing world.”
3. Data Security
Data security is an integral part of every business which has a digital presence. Businesses may create cybersecurity standards and implement in-house data security policies, but they often fail to avoid the threat that sneaks its way via non-secured networks, such as the private network of a remote employee or a freelancer.
“Since most freelancers operate from home or various locations, they do not have a secure internet connection. It may impact the project,” says Adam Rowles, CEO of Inboundmarketingagency.com.au.
4. Language Barrier
According to a KPMG report, 84% of outsourcing usually originated from the United States. And apart from the US, business owners usually prefer to outsource talents from countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Philippines, to name a few.
Since English is not the native language in those markets, the language barrier tends to create problems for native business owners. Yungi Chu of HeadsetPlus.com shares his feedback regarding freelancers that they” often rely on an internet translator, so the message isn't very clear. Something is lost in the translation.”
Getting projects completed within a provided timeframe is often the reason for hiring freelancers. However, the deadline seems to be a common concern amongst business owners who frequently outsource tasks online. The most common reasons behind missed deadlines are either lack of communication, understanding of what is required, or availability.
The lack of availability issue arises when the freelancer undertakes multiple projects and fails to prioritize.
Matt Benn, Founder at Soundplate, “the best freelancers are often also the busiest, this means there can be issues with availability, and project deadlines can be pushed back. Essentially you are competing with other clients for their time and attention. Having said that, this issue is easily solved by clear and open communication about the expectations and timelines of the project.”
6. Work Quality
Businesses outsource projects not only with the intention of getting them done on or before the deadline but also in an efficient way that results in high-quality work. But sometimes, freelancers fail to meet the expectations of clients and end up producing undesirable work. It mostly happens when the freelancer does not care about accountability.
“One problem when working with freelancers is that they don't care about the quality of the product they're producing as much as you do. This means that if they are creating content, they may choose to focus on writing a generic, wordy intro, or making the article full of fluff just to meet a word count, which decreases the article quality, but in their eyes is ok because they still met the word count and get paid. You have to make sure you instill standards into the work beforehand so both you and the freelancer know what the minimum quality guideline is and how to meet and measure it,” says Jon Dykstra, Founder at Fatstacksblog.com.
7. Dispute Resolution
Dispute usually occurs when the freelancer fails to follow clear instructions and deliver mediocre work. The main problem arises when they do not acknowledge their shortcoming, and the matter goes to the sinkhole of dispute resolution.
Josh MacDonald of Josh MacDonald.net gives his opinion regarding a dispute, “I believe the main disputes involve finances. Especially working online, many freelancers don't share their legal names or addresses, so it can be hard to resolve these disputes. Some freelancers hold their work hostage until a lump sum is paid - and this can even be more than the agreed-upon amount. Escrow would solve a lot of these disputes.”
Overcommitment leads to missed deadlines, undesirable work quality, and unnecessary revisions. Overcommitment is mostly caused by miscommunication or lack of attention to detail when it comes to understanding clients’ briefs.
Ravi Sharma, CEO, and Founder of Webomaze Pty Ltd shares his feedback that overcommitment and under-delivery are amongst the common problems in the freelance industry. He further adds, “I have seen them over-commit to task delivery and time. I think the main reason is that they do not try to assess the work before accepting the job. In the run to win the project they just say yes to all questions asked by the employer.”
How to Overcome Shortcomings in Freelancing and Win More Clients
The freelancing potholes discussed above are amendable. Consider the following suggestions before you accept new clients on freelance marketplaces like TaskShift.
Communication is key to successful relationships as well as business deals. Always agreed upon a time when you may need to discuss things with the clients: require more information regarding the project or discuss issues.
Make sure that you and the client agree upon a communication medium you use for communication to avoid confusion or missed meeting times.
Work on your soft skills, especially people skills. Learn how you make your business communication more strong, confident, and persuasive.
Always own your job. Working as a freelancer does not mean you have no obligation towards the client once you are paid. If you wish to leave a good impression on your clients and want to turn them into regular customers, go beyond your usual boundaries to help them.
Cyber threats are growing at an exponential rate. Since you may most likely be working from an unsecured home network, your data is vulnerable to hacking attempts or other cyber threats. Always use anti-virus or virtual private networks to ensure data protection for yourself and your clients.
Freelancers are mostly working with clients who are native English speakers. It is imperative that you should work on your English as well to better communicate with clients. You can meet their expectations only when you are able to understand their requirements.
Missed deadlines happen when you either procrastinate or when you are overburdened with multiple projects. Regardless of the situation, accept orders only when you can do justice with them and deliver quality work on time. You will be able to maintain your focus on the project and may most likely avoid procrastination.
Always try to solve the dispute in a peaceful way with the other party. If both you and the other party fail to come to any settlement, ask the intermediator, such as in our case TaskShift, to resolve the matter by hearing the story from both sides.
Most freelancers’ careers are short-lived because of the problems that business owners have mentioned above. As said earlier, professionals learn from their mistakes and grow. If you wish to take your freelance career up a notch and win more clients, amend your mistakes without further ado.