It seem to be happening to me often. I have just started freelancing remotely. For now, I am targeting small project (1-7 days long).

Usually I try to keep a small backlog of projects so I am not completely without any work at any time.

Once I have a new project with 10 days deadline, I will began it after 3-4 days (after finishing older projects).

But I already noticed some clients want daily updates from next day. I of course wouldn't want to work with such clients again, but what for now.

What do I tell them everyday if I have not even started yet.

2 Answers 2

  1. You should set client expectations at the start when terms are agreed. You control your time not them. If they don't like your terms then they don't have to hire you. Don't be afraid of saying, "I don't give daily updates" or "Daily updates cost extra." I've noticed that clients who want to talk your ear off in "important" conference calls have a lot less to say when you charge them for the meeting time. And if they do decide to talk a lot, well it's just more money in your pocket and you can smile. Like the time I had an insane client who would call me in for 1-2 hour meetings twice a week but would just have me sitting there while he argued with his partner. So I was making 3 figures/hour to watch them argue. This went on for months. Anyhow don't be quick to cut a client off just because they expect something and you never set boundaries/told them how you operate. It's your job to tell them what the rules are.

  2. It will help you a lot if you charge by the project instead of by the hour. Assuming that the project is well defined and you make sure to charge for any additions the client tries to add during development. Right now your client thinks you work exactly X dollars worth of work each hour. That's probably not reality. What happens when you run into a situation where you know you can do the job in 30 minutes but most of your competitors would take 8 hours? Better to get paid for the value of what you deliver than simply for time. Because the true value of what you deliver may sound way too high as an hourly number but sound reasonable as an overall project/item number.

  3. Give yourself more time. If you think it will take you a week to do a client's project try to give yourself 2-3 weeks lead time plus tell them it takes 2 weeks to complete and that you're working on other projects at the same time. Just an example. Now maybe you have some leeway if you break your leg or have a family emergency OR someone who is willing to pay you way more for a rush job shows up.



It is important to keep your clients updated, even when there isn't much to report. In general, if you don't tell clients what you are doing they assume you are not doing anything.

It might also help to review each project when it comes in and make a list of questions. You can then include these questions in your daily email

You could then have a standard email script that says something like

Dear Customer,

I hope you are well. At this time, your project is proceeding as planned. It is currently in the requirements phase.

Can you please tell me ask your question here?

Thank you for your time.

When you begin work on the project, change the third sentence to "the implementation phase."

You could also say

Dear Customer,

I hope you are well. At this time, your project is proceeding as planned. It is currently in the requirements phase. I have no questions for you today. I will provide another update tomorrow.

This lets the client know that you have not forgotten about her and her project is still in your plans.

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