Family as your first freelance client?

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I was reading this Instagram post from @martin_lasek.

(I definitely recommend following him, BTW.)

And, his advice was to let family be your first client to help you get comfortable working with clients. And, one thing he said jumped out at me:

“Believe me the fact it‘s family doesn‘t make them an easier client it just makes it easier for you to enter the field of project management, delivering and actually finishing it.”

Man! Is that so true?

And, I’ve been back and forth on this.

Family CAN be a great first client.

And, it can help give you that jumpstart you need.

With something to put in your portfolio.

Experience.

Etc.

But, you really have to be careful. Because you can quickly ruin a relationship and get discouraged as a freelancer if you don’t do it right. So, I’ve developed some “rules” for working with family.

Follow these and you’ll get the experience and portfolio items you need…

Without making Thanksgiving dinner as uncomfortable as a giant in a clown car.

1. They’re a client.

Once you decide to work with a family member as a client… they’re a client. Throw ALL your expectations about how they’ll behave out the window.

Because THEY will.

At the end of the day, they want their thing built.

And, if you don’t deliver or mess it up.

They won’t like it.

So, treat them like any other client.

2. Scope, scope, scope… and then more scope.

The #1 issue you’ll face with family members as clients is scope creep. “Come on, bro!” “Really, sis? You can’t add just this one more thing?” “Come on, son. I did everything for YOU growing up.”

And on and on.

Families are masters of guilt-tripping each other.

They WILL do it to you.

So, take this as a challenge to learn how to manage scope creep.

Keep THEM on task and you’ll have no problem with regular clients.

3. Exit strategy.

What if things go to hell? Bring this up BEFORE you agree to work with them. Tell them this is your first time doing this. You might just screw it up. And, decide on how you’ll exit the agreement if things go wrong.

This will save your relationship with them.

It helps manage expectations.

And, gives both sides a way out.

It’s uncomfortable, but crucial.

So, there you go.

If you do those three things, at a minimum, you’ll be much more likely to have a good experience, learn a ton and build up your portfolio while working with someone you know and trust.

Oh and charge them.

Something.

It can be 10 bucks.

Doesn’t matter.

Make them pay.

You’ll thank me later. 😉

Of course, at some point, you’ll want to move into getting regular clients. A portfolio, experience… those will help a ton. But, you still have to learn the SKILL of getting clients.

Where to find them?

What to offer?

How much to charge?

Persuading them to hire you.

It’s a skill just like learning how to ride a bike or coding out a CSS grid. Once you learn it, you can USE it again and again to get you the clients you want. In any case, that’s what I teach you in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course.

The SKILL of freelancing.

Best part… you can take it without paying a purple nickel over on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John
P.S. Or if you prefer Patreon, you can find the course here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/beginners-guide-21994444

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John Morris

JOHN MORRIS

I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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