For years, communication issues have cost freelancers money, jobs, and referrals. If you’ve ever felt you were spending too much time bidding, or have put forth your best effort on a project and still been terminated by an angry client, this article is for you.
Learn how communication problems are hurting the freelance industry, and directly affecting your bottom-line, then explore some free education resources to eliminate these issues in the future. Find out why and how to take the Rapid Business Lessons Certification Course here.
How Employers View Freelancers
If you Google search reviews for any of the popular freelance hiring platforms, you’ll find a lot of bad press. These are some of the results that were turning up on Google’s first page:
Search Terms: “Elance Review”
Search Terms: “Odesk Review”
And yet, if you’ve ever tried the Elance-Odesk-UpWork trifecta, you’ve probably had a great user experience, and made some employers very happy with your work. I had an excellent track record as a freelancer and as an employer using these sites, and knew many of my peers were having similarly good results using third-party staffing platforms.
So what’s with all the negative feedback? Why are there so many horror stories from employers about outsourcing work to foreign and domestic freelancers?
As a Canadian employer and former freelancer with over 15 years of outsourcing experience, I can tell you that most business owners will answer these questions the same way. “It’s because the freelance industry is full of scammers!” they cry.
Though I disagree with these accusations, I can’t blame employers for feeling this way. When inexperienced employers partner up with unschooled freelancers, it’s a recipe for disaster. The employer’s instruction are misunderstood, and when the project wraps up, they feel ripped off, abandoned, or ignored. And when employers get angry about poor results on a project, they lash out at the third-party facilitator; that’s why Google review sites are cluttered with horror stories. The freelance industry has a poor reputation in the eyes of employers because of it.
It’s not because freelancers are scammers, though. Granted, the freelance market has its share of scam-artists, but why should a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch? More often than not, everyone involved is trying their best and working with good intentions; the employer wants to pay a fair amount for quality services, and the freelancer wants to take pride in the work they submit. So why do so many collaborations seem to fall apart?
How can a relationship between two honest, hard-working professionals go so badly?
In this case, the answer is COMMUNICATION – more specifically, the lack thereof. Of course, we’re only scratching the surface with this explanation; I outline 18 other reasons why remote collaborations fail in the Rapid Business Lessons Freelancer Certification Course. But let’s focus on communication for now.
The “communication gap” is more like a yawning fissure in most freelance collaborations; it’s one of the most prevalent issues that the industry struggles with. Whether you’re working two towns over or on the other side of the world, it can be hard to get on the same page as your employer. Without the communicative power of body language, understanding instructions and emphases can be hard, and text and email communication rarely gets your intended tone across.
The only way to bridge the communication gap is through education.
Let’s discuss two common problems that hold freelancers back from healthy communication with their employers:
- Failing to ask questions. This problem plagues both sides of the collaborative equation: employers and freelancers just don’t ask enough questions when they’re working together. Employers often have other freelancers to manage, and want to move on to bigger and better things as soon as possible, so they rush through their instruction and assume you have things under control. From the other side, the freelancer often holds back because they don’t want to look weak or ignorant about any aspect of the project; in their minds, asking too many questions increases their risk of getting fired, so they bite their tongue and try to “fake it until they make it.”
Failing to ask questions in this way is a huge problem for both sides, which is why I dedicated an entire chapter to it in the Rapid Business Lessons Freelancer Certification course. This free course teaches you how to ask your employer questions properly, and is becoming an industry standard for employers seeking the best outsourcing experience. In my years of outsourcing to freelancers, I’ve had questions posed to me in every way you can imagine, and some were distinctly better than others. Some people came across as seasoned professionals, while others sounded like clueless amateurs scrambling for answers – which would you rather be?
Rather than lowering your credibility and authority in the eyes of the employer, the method I teach indicates to the employer that you’re engaged and invested in the project’s success. This translates to improved communication and employer satisfaction, more money in your pocket from bonuses and referrals, and, hopefully, better reviews for freelance hiring platforms in the future. You can learn the method I’m describing for free in Lesson 3 of the Rapid Business Lessons Freelancer Certification Course.
- Cultural barriers. Trying to communicate effectively with an employer can be especially difficult when they’re located remotely. Sometimes getting over communication gaps means breaking through cultural barriers. Let’s put the language barrier aside for now – that’s a whole other challenge. It can be hard to get on the same page when you’re part of a completely different culture. You have little in common: your employer’s weather, politics, sports, and social customs will all be unfamiliar to you, making it hard to create the level of understanding that’s often needed for a seamless working relationship.
Even when you do speak the same language, some words carry different meanings depending on their cultural context. Look at the differences between British and American English; these two nations have been politically connected for centuries, yet culture variances still leave room for misunderstandings that cost people time and money in working relationships.
Lack of communication is a big problem, and education is the only answer. After nearly two decades of dedicated research and experimentation with outsourcing work (both internally and externally), I was able to identify 19 common problems with the freelance market, and now I’m sharing them with you in my free online curriculum. The Rapid Business Lessons Freelancer Certification Course outlines simple, actionable solutions to this problem, along with best practices for your freelancing career. I describe 7 steps to clear communication in Lesson 15 – go have a look.
If you have an internet connection, you can earn your Rapid Business Lessons Freelancer Certification here; no cost, no subscription, just content to build your career. Last year alone I received hundreds of letters from freelancers around the world telling me how this course changed their lives. This course is full of “insider information” from the perspective of an experienced Canadian employer; think of it as the “answer key” that takes the guesswork out of your career.
Invest in Your Education with a Freelancer Certification Course – 100% Free
The Rapid Business Freelancer Certification Course is designed for foreign and domestic freelancers looking to further their education, increase their bottom-line profits, and spend less time bidding for new work. I am offering it for free at https://www.rapidbusinesslessons.com/freelancer.
I’ve designed this course in a way that’s sensitive to the very problems I described in this article, presenting its lessons and troubleshooting tips in many different formats to eliminate the risk of miscommunications. You’ll have full access to video lectures, chapter quizzes, and complete textbook material that will earn you the Rapid Business Lessons Freelancer Certification that is currently recognized by many prominent North American employers – some will even require it before you’re considered.
The course is easy to digest and can be completed in just a 2 hours of work. It’s a worthwhile investment that costs you nothing more than your time and effort, and will pay you back in a big way. For many employers, this course is considered mandatory when outsourcing work to foreign and domestic freelancers.
This course has no hidden fees, no subscription, nothing; it exists only as a means to improve the freelancer experience, build the market, and get you more jobs. This is a resource I wish I had when I was freelancing, and I highly recommend you check it out now!