Three Client Boundaries Any Freelancer Should Have

Freelancing gives you the ability to grant yourself the autonomy you wanted while you were working that in office 9-5 job. The downside of this is that it's often very easy to let your work bleed into your personal life. The problem with always being on the clock is that, if you're not careful, you will always be on the clock.

Here’s the deal — if you're replying to your new client’s emails at 11 pm on a weekend, they're going to expect this type of commitment for the duration of your work together. Unless you’ve determined that 11 pm on a Friday evening is within your standard communication hours, the rule of thumb is never to start something you would not want to continue.

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Three Client Boundaries Any Freelancer Should Have

  1. Establish your means of communication and limitations — I personally like to limit my means of client communication to email and ClickUp, a project management program I‌ use. I have a strict no social media contact policy meaning I don’t reply to any project-related DMs unless it’s to let them know to contact me via email or ClickUp. I also no longer give out my cellphone number. I've made this mistake a few times and had clients texting me at all hours of the evening (before I set up clear boundaries). Whether it's by DM, email, text, or a project management program, be clear with your clients on the best way to reach you.

  2. Set your communication hours — I‌ say communication hours because this is the time frame when your clients can expect a reply from you and not necessarily when you’re working on a project. Don't tell your clients that you are available until 4 pm then reply to their emails at 9 pm. Not only are you breaking your own rules but also conveying the message that you are available at this time creating inconsistency in your business.

  3. Set late payment fees — A reality most freelancers are going to face is that some of your clients are going to pay much later than their invoice due date. While you can’t always prevent this from happening, including a late payment fee in your invoicing is a way to provide an incentive to pay on time. In addition to including your late payment fees in the T&Cs of your invoice, you also want to include this in your contract.

    When you set clear client boundaries as a freelancer, you prevent confusion and frustration on both your part and your client’s. Most clients are going to appreciate the professionalism, and it makes your professional life much easier.

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