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To Err Is Human – How to Handle Freelance Mistakes

Date March 21, 2009

Mistakes happen and how you handle them will impact your freelance career. No one wants to hear from a client that they have mistake on a project but sooner or later every freelancer will encounter this situation. With that in mind you should make every attempt to turn in completed work free of errors, but also have an idea of how you would respond should your client find mistakes in your work.

Don’t Get Defensive

The worse thing you can do is take a defensive stance when confronted with mistakes in your work. In an industry where your reputation can make or break your business, you need to face the situation and work on damage control. Regardless of how carefully you work, you are bound to make a mistake from time to time and the best response is to own up to the error and devise a plan to fix the problem. Saying “I’m sorry” can go a long way toward preserving your relationship with your client. After apologizing you should let the client know how you plan on correcting the problem including the length of time they can expect to wait for the corrected work.

Tips To Avoid Future Mistakes

Don’t beat yourself up over making a mistake, instead take the opportunity to learn from your mistake. The following tips can help you avoid reduce the chances of future errors in your work.

  • Take your time- It’s a face paced world we live in and everyone is in a hurry. Unfortunately rushing around trying to meet deadlines is just asking a mistake-waiting-to-happen. By taking your time and doing it right the first time you can avoid the headache and embarrassment of dealing with an unsatisfied client.
  • Keep the lines of communication open- It is not uncommon for a freelancer to misunderstand what the client is really after. Let’s face it, in many cases the client isn’t really sure what they are looking for, either. It is your job to ask plenty of questions to ensure you are cognizant of what the project entails. If you have any questions throughout the project, contact the client with your questions.
  • Don’t overbook yourself- Prevent mistakes by only taking on work that you can reasonably handle. When you over-commit you may find yourself rushing around in a panic trying to meet your deadlines. Mistakes are bound to happen when you are unable to fully focus on the job at hand.
  • Know your limits- Freelancers by nature are usually confident people. Sometimes that will get you in trouble if you take on a project that is beyond your abilities at that time. To prevent mistakes in a project make certain you have the ability to meet the clients expectations.
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One Response to “To Err Is Human – How to Handle Freelance Mistakes”

  1. marquita jensen said:

    It seems like it has been a while since you posted an entry to you blog. I had really started to like reading them. They are well written and knowledgeable, being I’m somewhere between planing and starting to be a consultant I hope you don’t quit.

    Marquita Jensen

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