In today’s digital world, reputation is everything, especially when you submit a proposal template for that new gig that seems like a perfect fit your skills. Take any business, from software to restaurants - reputation plays a decisive role. Fancy advertisements will only take you so far if your product’s ratings and reviews are pathetic. You might taste success initially, but it'll be short-lived.
You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do - Henry Ford
Freelancers aren't immune to this either, especially with freelancing websites becoming more popular than ever. Having client testimonials next to your profile, or even using it to build a freelance portfolio website, can go a long way in removing that uncertainty from the minds of the potential client and nudge the decision in your favor.
Get ready to build your freelance reputation and to become successful with the following tips.
Getting published is an excellent way to get noticed and establish your expertise in your niche. The key here is to ensure that you pick the right websites - their reader base should overlap with your target segment.
There are two ways you can do this, either you can submit articles through their content submission page, or you could get in touch personally with the relevant editor or content manager. Start building the relationship on social media first - Twitter would be ideal. After a few interactions, take it to email.
Once you've managed to succeed, ensure that you take full advantage of it. Flaunt it on your website, LinkedIn profile and freelance marketplace profiles. This can do a lot to both your credibility and visibility.
Once a project is over, you aren't obliged to keep in touch with the client. But, if you want to build a good reputation, you better!
Here are a few ways you can keep in touch with your clients post wrap-up.
Doing all this will help you gain more referrals, repeat business and foster top of mind recall. More than that, it shows that you are diligent, trustworthy and helpful.
When you're starting out as a freelancer, take up smaller and simpler projects which can be finished quickly. Once it's wrapped up, ensure you receive some kind of testimonials from your client.
The idea is to build up a profile and show that you can finish off tasks on time and satisfactorily. Having the right productivity and email management tools in your kitty can do more than you can ever imagine. Clients would trust you more when you’re quick to respond to their emails and meet deadlines.
Quick tip: always use email reminders; most of us would, more often than not, fail to stick to the to-do lists (they’ve never worked for me!)
Connecting with influencers from your niche is a great way to build your credibility. Merely sending connection requests on LinkedIn or following people on Twitter won't do you much good. You need to engage in meaningful conversations with them.
One way to do it would be to engage with them about their content. If the influencer published an article recently, write an informed comment or tweet to them (don’t forget to tag their handle). You have to be a little persistent here - it could take a while before you get your first reply.
Once you’ve built a connection, get down to business- tell them more about yourself and the services you offer, leverage the relationship. Here are few things you could do:
The end result - people will begin to recognize you ,and you'll be able to establish yourself as a knowledgeable, reliable person.
Completing certification programs or attending workshops and classes by subject experts aren't merely about learning new things, it authenticates your knowledge and skills. It shows that you are serious, committed and that you're up-to-date. It'll also help stand out among the ever-growing community of freelancers.
The key here is to ensure whatever course you're attending is relevant and valuable to your business.
With a little extra effort and some common sense, you'll be able to surpass client expectations. Things such as doing minor and supplementary tasks free of cost, submitting your project on time, and doing your tasks without being asked to, will go a long way towards impressing your client.
Put yourself in their shoes, find out those small things which you could do bring value. Do this consistently, and your client will consider you as a trusted partner. Plus, it could also help you develop a unique identity in your niche.
As a freelancer, a good reputation is only the beginning of it: it will get you a steady stream of projects, but eventually - it really boils down to how good your work it.
You need to keep your eyes open all the time for opportunities; keep learning, adopt new approaches, and widen your network.
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A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?