Freelancer Best Practices
Welcome to the FreeeUp Network! It’s a pleasure to welcome you to the FreeeUp marketplace. The Best Practices are an offering of FreeeUp to provide you with insight into what we believe can lead to better success in landing Clients and achieving a goal of Client satisfaction with whatever the Services may be.
First and foremost, we exist as a company to provide the best possible platform for Freelancers to meet potential Clients and, hopefully, do business with each other. In order to achieve that mission, we are providing you with Best Practices which includes resources and strategies of how you can excel as a Freelancer on the FreeeUp Marketplace.
These Best Practices are created from our experience in the remote hiring world for the past 5+ years. Our team has been on both sides of the coin as Freelancers and Clients so we have experience and insight on what both are looking for.
FreeeUp takes great pride in encouraging and providing resources to Freelancers in the Network so they can provide Services to Clients in a manner different than other freelance platforms.
Benefits of Following the Best Practices
The FreeeUp Best Practices are provided to demonstrate the ins and outs of navigating your business on FreeeUp and to provide FreeeUp’s take on how you can excel as a Freelancer.
The Best Practices serve as a foundation to what FreeeUp is all about, a brand that is centered around allowing Freelancers into the Network that are willing to provide trustworthy and top-notch Services to Clients. We ask that you take the information provided seriously.
Below are a number of benefits that could result by following the best practices outlined in this document:
There are many benefits to working with FreeeUp. Below are just a few that are the most valued by our current workers.
★ Potential to gain multiple Clients.
★ Earn the rate you’re looking for. Clients accessing the FreeeUp Network understand they have access to top-notch Freelancers – Freelancer’s implementing the Best Practices, and other resources provided by FreeeUp, into their business and interactions with Clients plays a big part in that.
★ Take the Best Practices you’ve gained access to through FreeeUp and launch your Freelance business now and in the future.
Given FreeeUp’s extensive experience hiring on Upwork, Freelancers and Clients continue to access the FreeeUp Network through Upwork. Through our relationship with Upwork, we follow all of their payment and working policies ahead of our own. This applies most closely to Freelancers accessing the FreeeUp Network through Upwork and paid through Upwork. If you know of any Upwork policies that we don’t, let us know!
As you will read later in these Best Practices, FreeeUp handles relationships with Freelancers differently if the Freelancer is to find FreeeUp through Upwork.
Skype is a great tool for Users on the FreeeUp Network to communicate with each other, clients, and the FreeeUp internal team. FreeeUp highly encourages all Freelancers to have a Skype account that can be used for communicating with potential and actual Clients. Whether Freelancers already have a Skype account or is setting one up when accessing the FreeeUp Network, here are questions that the Freelancer can ask themself:
➔ Is the name appropriate? It is best practice to keep your username appropriate and understandable. It’s important that Clients, Freelancers, and the FreeeUp network know who they are talking to via your Skype username.
◆ Here’s an A+ example: FreeeUp.Nhirsch3
➔ Do I have a professional photo? While everyone loves to hear about your love for animals in group chats, it is best practice to keep photos to a simple headshot of yourself. Remember, you’re accessing the Network to meet Clients and it’s important to appear professional as you begin to speak with potential Clients.
Given the complexity of running an online marketplace and permitting access to Freelancers and Clients from all over the world, it is critical that everyone can always get in touch with one another. Below are the best practice communication channels for Freelancers working through the FreeeUp Marketplace.
➔ A working Skype account. As mentioned above, Skype is one of the most commonly used communication channels for FreeeUp and Clients.
➔ MailChimp. It is best practice to join and stay on the FreeeUp Marketplace weekly newsletter campaigns. Each newsletter provides further best practices, updates about the FreeeUp marketplace, and information about new tickets that are being submitted by Clients.
➔ Email. It is best practice to create a FreeeUp specific email address for communicating with Clients and the FreeeUp network. By having a dedicated email address, it is easier to keep track of Clients and new opportunities as they appear on the marketplace. Here is an example of what your email address may look like: FreeeUp.NHirsch@gmail.com.
➔ Whatsapp or Viber. It is best practice to have at least a WhatsApp or Viber account on your mobile phone. While Skype is the most commonly used communication channel for desktop, WhatsApp and Viber are very commonly used by Clients and the FreeeUp Network when communicating via mobile.
➔ Phone. It is best practice to own a working mobile phone that Freelancers can regularly check throughout the work day. FreeeUp requires all Users to keep current emergency phone numbers on file within your FreeeUp account so that FreeeUp or a Client can reach you if necessary.
Communication is key to building strong relationships with clients hiring through the FreeeUp Marketplace. It is best practice to utilize the communication channels above and also to always ask Clients which communication channels they prefer as you start working with them. Customizing your communication to each Client will only further impress Clients and establish you as a stronger Freelancer in the network.
While offering services through the FreeeUp Marketplace, you can tap into the FreeeUp team as you are getting introduced to new Clients and growing your freelance business. Below are best practices for communicating with the FreeeUp Marketplace.
➔ Communicate. It’s normal that you’ll be contacted about new projects available with the opportunity to be introduced to potential clients. It’s best practice to communicate with the representative that reaches out to you as quickly as possible so you can be the first to speak with the potential client and possibly land the new project.
➔ Promote yourself. It’s best practice to be as active and communicative as possible within the FreeeUp Network. Whether it is responding to emails, being active in Skype group chats, or staying in touch with FreeeUp internal assistants, the more communicative you are, the more you can land new projects.
➔ Be responsive. It’s best practice to communicate promptly — i.e. within 1 business day– with potential clients once introduced by the FreeeUp Marketplace. This is actually an expectation for all Users. When you respond fast and provide quick communication, Clients can become more interested in hiring you for projects. This best practice applies to Skype communications, email, and any other communication channel where a potential client may be contacting you.
➔ Stay up to date. It is best practice to stay up to date with the various FreeeUp Skype group chats where new requests from Clients are posted and new updates regarding working on the marketplace are provided. You can stay up to date throughout the day or check in at the beginning and end of each day so that you can stay focused on Client projects.
➔ Update your contact information. It’s best practice to update the contact and emergency contact information on your FreeeUp account if one of them goes out of date. This applies to phone, Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, email, etc. You can send any changes to Freelancers@FreeeUp.com and it will be changed in your account.
➔ Keep FreeeUp contact information available. It’s best practice to have the ability to get in touch with someone from FreeeUp in the case that it is necessary. It’s encouraged to record and save the contact information (phone number, Skype, Viber/WhatsApp, email) for the following individuals:
◆ Nathan Hirsch
◆ The FreeeUp Assistants
◆ Three (3) Freelancers working on the FreeeUp Network
The FreeeUp Marketplace is dedicated to helping Freelancers earn the hourly rates that they desire to earn with clients that they are introduced to. In order to earn the desired rate, it is best practice to clearly communicate the following to the FreeeUp Marketplace upon being accepted into the network:
In addition, FreeeUp has worked hard to create an environment where Freelancers can focus on providing quality Services to Clients and not on negotiating their Service rates. From speaking with hundreds of Freelancers, FreeeUp understands that a common complaint about freelancing is the process of discussing rates with new Clients. Hence why FreeeUp attempts to eliminate rate discussions from the Client introduction process. If you ever have any issues with Clients speaking with you about your rates, please contact Accounting@FreeeUp.com.
When looking to accept a project, it is best practice to make sure that you are 100% happy with the rate for the entire scope of the Services to be completed BEFORE accepting. If you have concerns about the rates for your different skill sets, make sure to ask the Client about it. You can also turn down a project before taking it if the rate isn’t what you want. If you want to ask for a higher rate with a new client, you can ask FreeeUp to request it on your behalf knowing the risk involved. At the end of the day, it is entirely up to the Client to accept, reject or counter.
It is best practice not to raise your hourly rate once it has been agreed upon between you and the Client unless your agreed upon scope of Services changes. It has been found that when Freelancers attempt to increase their rates without the scope of Services changing, Clients become frustrated with the situation and it can lead to them terminating the agreement for Services with the Freelancer.
There are no sign up, monthly, or annual fees. FreeeUp charges a Service Fee, the amount of which is applied on top of the hourly rate Freelancer agrees to accept with each Client. The Service Fee does not impact Freelancer’s agreed upon rate for Services to Client. The Service Fee is related to FreeeUp permitting Clients to access the Site and access to Freelancers within the FreeeUp Network. The standard Service Fee is 15% with a $2 (USD) per hour minimum. FreeeUp may go beyond the standard 15% or $2 (USD) mark up at its discretion, however this does not affect the Freelancer’s agreed upon rate. Similarly, FreeeUp may lower Service Fees to assist Freelancer and Client to enter into an agreement for Services.
Freelancers may offer a flat rate for Services by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. If flat rate Services are agreed to with a Client, FreeeUp’s Service Fee is 15% of the flat rate amount, but is applied on top of the Freeelancer’s agreed to flat rate for Services, so the Freelancer’s agreed upon flat rate is not impacted. FreeeUp charges the Client the Service Fee. Similar to the hourly rates, FreeeUp may go beyond the standard 15% markup on flat rate projects at its discretion.
For all terms and conditions relating to Service Fees, see the Freelancer User Agreement.
As a Freelancer, you are operating your own business and the decisions to reduce or write-off any billed time or invoices is subject to your professional discretion. However, while offering Services through the FreeeUp Marketplace, it is best practice to bill Clients for all Services provided. This can include every meeting, task, and conversation that you have while working with Clients. As part of their access to the FreeeUp Network, Clients are informed that this is a best practices of Freelancers.
On the FreeeUp Marketplace, the Client must accept the engagement of a Freelancer before the Freelancer can begin any onboarding work. It is best practice not to start working with a Client until you have been hired through the FreeeUp software and onboarding hours have been agreed upon between you and the Client. Clients understand that it is FreeeUp best practice to be billed by the Freelancer for onboarding.
Minimum Billable Time
Although subject to the Freelancer’s independent business discretion, for Services with a very short anticipated completion time and scheduled appointments, it is best practice for the Freeelancer to discuss and agree with non-Upwork Clients to have a 0.5 hours minimum billable hours per work event. In this instance, if the work time only last 20 minutes, you can still bill the Client for 0.5 hours, given you and the Client have agreed upon these terms. While this best practice is communicated to all Clients, it is best practice to obtain any minimums in writing from Clients and to remind them before initiating work in short increments.
The FreeeUp Account
Each Freelancer will receive a unique FreeeUp Worker account which allows you to work with clients, log and bill hours to clients, leave comments on hours completed, view affiliate earnings, among other helpful features while building a freelancing business. It is best practice to utilize the FreeeUp Marketplace resources and tutorials upon starting to freelance on the marketplace so that it is easy to communicate with and bill Clients. If there are ever any issues with your FreeeUp account, you can reach out to Accounting@FreeeUp.com to express your situation.
Billing periods start on Wednesdays and end on Tuesdays at 12:00 am midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST). At the end of each billing period, the FreeeUp Account will automatically count and invoice the logged hours of the Freelancer for each of Freelancer’s Clients. It is best practice for Freelancers to review the timecard to ensure that logged hours are accurate. It is best practice to submit adjustments, if necessary, before Wednesday at 6:00 PM EST. After that time, the billing period is locked and cannot be changed by Freelancers.
Payments to Freelancers
Payments are made within ten (10) days from the last day of the client billing period, usually by 12:00 am midnight (U.S. Eastern Time) on Thursdays. Payment is based off of the hours in the Freelancer’s Account. It is best practice to keep your FreeeUp Account’s hours as accurate as possible for the past Client billing period. All payments made will account for the work hours logged in the previous week from Wednesday through Tuesday. FreeeUp offers different payment options for Freelancers. If you have any questions about receiving payment from the FreeeUp Marketplace, please contact email@example.com.
As mentioned above, if you found FreeeUp through Upwork you are contracted and paid through Upwork. It is best practice to learn the proper procedures to follow in order to account for being paid through your Upwork account.
Introductions, scheduling, on boarding, and communication after reaching a mutual agreement to perform Services with the Client can make or break a Freelancer’s opportunity. This next section provides best practices for starting, communicating, and working with Clients as you agree to perform Services for them on the FreeeUp Marketplace.
When meeting a new Client, it is best practice to incorporate the following steps into your first interaction, any email exchange, and your overall sales pitch.
It is best practice to turn down offers you are not 100% sure your business can completely satisfy or handle before agreeing to perform Services and prior to the Client clicking the “hire button.” If you wait until after, it will be more difficult for both you and the Client.
If the Client wants to negotiate rates they can email their offer to Accounting@FreeeUp.com. FreeeUp will present the new rate offer to the Freelancer. The decision to accept, reject or counter any rate offering is completely up to the Freelancer within their independent business discretion.
The key steps to introducing yourself to a Client has been further explained below.
Step 1: Ask the Client How They Want to be Addressed
It is best practice to be courteous and respectful to all Clients that you work with. When starting the relationship, it is best practice to ask them how they want to be addressed while you are working with them.
Step 2: Introduce Yourself
It is best practice to prepare a 3 to 5 sentence elevator pitch that you can share with all of your new and potential Clients. The elevator pitch tells the Client a little bit about your business (and maybe yourself), shines a light on your experience, and highlights your business’s main skill sets. We’ve provided an example below and we’re also happy to help you craft your own if it’s your first time.
Sample Elevator Pitch
Hey! My name is John Smith. I’m 27 years old and from New York City. I’ve been working in the eCommerce industry as a social media freelancer for the past 2 years. Before social media, I was a freelance writer working to create product content for a handful of companies. I’m really excited to be a part of your team. I strive to communicate as often as possible and am open to any suggestions that you have for the specific project. I’m looking forward to learning more about your company and how my business can help meet its needs.
Some introductions may take up to 15 minutes, especially if a new Client is unsure about accepting you. It is best practice to take the time to tell the Client why they should hire you, what your qualifications are, and how you can help their business. With that information, the Client can make an informed decision.
Step 3: Exchange Contact Information
You will be able to view each Client’s contact information from inside the ticket and they can view yours as well. Some Clients might not know about this feature or might prefer alternative contact information.
After introducing yourself to a new Client and entertaining some small talk, it is best practice to ask to exchange contact information. It is best practice to have a document on your computer that you can easily send to them with all of your contact information. This will make it easy for them to save it and not lose it. Below is the contact information that it best practice to share with Clients.
Step 4: Share Your Schedule
To make the conversation as simple as possible for the Client, it’s best practice to begin by sharing your current and normal work schedule and workload with other Clients. This includes, but is not limited to:
Once you’ve provided this information, it is best practice to ask them which timezone they are located in for your own reference. If the Client doesn’t initiate a conversation after you provide your availability to perform Services, you can simply ask if this will work for them. From there, you can figure out the best move forward.
It is also best practice to notify Clients and FreeeUp no later than at least two (2) weeks of any change(s) in your address, schedule, or other commitments that may impact your availability to perform Services. During the holiday season of October to January, it is best practice to provide at least four (4) weeks notice of any changes to your address, schedule, and/or availability.
5) Answer Questions from the Client
Throughout the first conversation, the Client can ask questions specific to the information that you share. Before being hired by the Client, you want to make sure that all of their questions have been answered.
It is best practice to simply ask the Client if they have any questions or concerns before moving forward. If you are able to answer the questions, go right ahead. If you think that they’ll be something better handled by FreeeUp, please reach out to Accounting@FreeeUp.com.
6) Get Hired
Remember, it is best practice for the Client to be added to your FreeeUp Account before you begin working and start billing hours. If you don’t see the Client inside your account, it is best practice that you don’t commence any Services or start any onboarding. It is best practice that the Client must confirm hiring you before you have any additional meetings or calls and before you start onboarding, a discovery phase, reviewing the Client’s business, or any other type of work.
The Client can add you to their account by clicking the “hire” button inside their ticket. You can point the Client to the FreeeUp internal support team if they are having trouble making the hire. You will also receive a confirmation email or message from the internal team before the Client is added to your FreeeUp account.
After Being Hired By A Client
After being hired by the Client, the relationship is solely between you and that Client. As the Freelancer, you are responsible for obtaining prior, written approval from Clients of hours that you, in your business judgment, believe will be required to provide any agreed to Services. It is best practice to have this conversation in the beginning of being hired to avoid any issues. Obtaining written approval goes a long way in foregoing any issues with Clients over billed hours. Remember, it is best practice that you bill for all Services performed for a Client.
As a User on the FreeeUp Network, you and your business represent the level of quality and experience of Freelancers in the marketplace. It is best practice that you take all Client needs seriously and treat all Clients (and users) with the utmost respect. To guide you on your path, below are best practices for working with Clients.
Using Skype With Clients
It is best practice to always be in communication with your Clients and Skype is one of the most common channels where Clients and Freelancers interact while working together. Below is a list of best practices for communicating through Skype.
Important: If one of your Clients doesn’t use Skype, it is best practice to still send an update via email to the Client at the end of each work session.
Checking Screenshot with Upwork Clients
If you’ve been hired via Upwork by the Client, they can see screenshots of your work from Upworks technology. At the end of each day, it is best practice to take 5 minutes to simply review the screenshots and delete any that appear unprofessional.
Asking for Feedback
It is a best practice to ask for feedback on a daily basis, sometimes even multiple times in a day when first commencing Services with a new Client. Asking for feedback demonstrates that you are eager to perform the Services to meet the Client’s expectations.
Simply ask the Client how you are doing and how you can further improve with the Services. FreeeUp has found that seeking constructive criticism and asking for any insight into the Client’s business may help in you bringing further value to the Services being performed.
The last situation you want is to have an unsatisfied Client or to learn at or near completion that the Services have not been performed to the Client’s expectation–especially when a dialogue with the Client throughout the Services could have avoided it.
Keeping Proprietary Information Private
When working with Clients, you can be exposed to certain sensitive and protected information. It is best practice to treat Client information with the utmost care and exercise all precautions to maintain and ensure that Client information is protected at all times. This is information that no one wants getting shared with others. You’ve agreed to keep all Client information confidential and return it to Client upon termination or conclusion of Services.
Sharing Miscommunications With FreeeUp
Given the global scale of the FreeeUp Network, there may be a time where communication can be challenging with a Client. If you run into a situation where you can’t fully understand what the Client is attempting to communicate, please send an email to Accounting@FreeeUp.com and someone will reach out to you. They can attempt to get in touch with the Client and figure out the miscommunication—for both the Freelancer and Client’s benefit.
In order to avoid confusion, it is best practice to speak in clear and concise language and to make sure that both parties are on the same page.
It should go without saying that it is best practice to be professional when interacting with Clients and other Usokayers. Being professional leads to a better experience for all.
Being On Time
Being on time is one of the easiest ways to impress a Client. In those instances where Clients request that Services begin at a set time and/or when you inform the Client that you will be performing Services at certain times, it is best practice to be available, on time, and ready to work. If there’s reasons you can’t, it’s smart to communicate that as early as possible to the Client.
Only Accepting Projects You Can Fulfill
FreeeUp permits Clients and Freelancers access to each other based off of the Clients’ needs and Freelancers’ skills and expertise. It is best practice to accurately represent all aspects of your business including without limitation qualifications, experience, and background so that everyone has the best chance of achieving successful results.
It is a best practice to assess all Clients to make sure you can deliver exactly what each Client wants. Likewise, it is best practice for Freelancers to only accept projects where they can achieve the Client’s goal in entirety. If it’s not a perfect match, it’s okay to decline a project. In order to decline a project, please notify the FreeeUp Marketplace team.
Using the FreeeUp Account Correctly
As a freelancer, you have the ability to track your time for each Client using FreeeUp’s Timeclock Account. It is best practice to learn and become an expert at the ins and outs of the Worker Account and to use it correctly every week.
You can become a master at using the Account by navigating to the Resources section once you are logged into your FreeeUp account. You’ll find tutorials on how to properly use the FreeeUp Account as a worker.
Communicating If You Lose Internet or Power While Working With a Client
It is understood that there are natural occurrences outside of your control that may delay or stop you from providing or completing Services for a Client. With Freelancers all over the globe, there’s bound to be an Internet surge or power outage when Services are expected to be rendered.
It is best practice to take the proper measures to ensure that you communicate any issue to Clients and FreeeUp and do everything in your power to get back online in a reasonable amount of time. Below are best practices for handling these types of situations.
Referring Clients and Workers to FreeeUp
As a Freelancer on the FreeeUp Network, you have the ability to earn referral bonuses for Clients and outside Freelancers that you recommend to join the Network. For all Clients that sign up, you will receive $0.50 for every hour that the Client bills with FreeeUp. For all Freelancers that make it through the interview process and are granted access to the Network you will receive $0.25 for every hour that they bill through FreeeUp. If they are an Expert Freelancer, you will received $0.50 for every hour that they bill through FreeeUp.
For referring Clients, there is an affiliate link inside your FreeeUp Account that you can send out to potential Clients. For any Client that signs up using this link, you are eligible to receive referral credit subject to the terms provided herein. You can also introduce potential Clients to the internal FreeeUp team as another option. To refer a prospective Freelancer, the prospective Freelancer needs to mention your business’s name while sending their interest to Freelancers@FreeeUp.com.
All referral payments are based on the hours logged in the FreeeUp Account. All referrals are tracked through the FreeeUp Sign Up and Interview process.All referrals are to be provided to FreeeUp through written notice. A failure to provide written notice may result in not receiving referral credit. This is an exclusive responsibility of the referring party. If you made a referral and you don’t believe you are being compensated for it, please inform Accounting@FreeeUp.com.
Reading FreeeUp’s Weekly Worker Newsletters
As an ongoing effort to maintain strong communication with Freelancers, FreeeUp publishes and disperses a newsletter every Tuesday that gives updates and advice to freelancers. It is best practice to read the entire newsletter each week and ask questions on areas where you want to learn more.
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Signed by Nathan Hirsch
Signed On: October 31, 2017
If you have questions about the contents of this document, you can email the document owner.
Document Name: Freelancer Best Practices
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