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5 tips for freelancing with clients outside of your sector

We’ve all been approached by someone outside our freelance sector asking for advice. Whether that’s someone asking a vet for advice on their child’s health, a car salesman asking an animator about building a computer, and yes, even a traditional artist asking a designer which program to use to make realistic trees. (It’s SpeedTree in case you were wondering) I’ve compiled 5 quick tips you can use when approached by a potential client or if you are faced with a difficult situation when freelancing outside of your sector.

  1. Don’t talk down to them. Your clients have come to you for advice, they don’t understand the sector they want to branch out into. Try to explain what you’re doing in a manner that is easier to understand. If your client has worked with Adobe Illustrator and understands it more than Unreal Engine 4, use Illustrator examples.

  2. Be innovative. Your client may ask you to do something in the Engine that you’ve never thought possible. Tell them you will spend an hour on it trying to make it happen and you will report back. You don’t want to waste their time but you don’t want to shoot down their ideas just because you’ve never tried it.

  3. Be honest, when a client comes to you, they are likely looking for your advice on a topic they don't entirely understand. If they suggest something that may result in wasted time, tell them in advance, they can then decide on whether or not to pursue it but cannot place blame on you.

  4. Research. If you take the time to research the sector/work that your client is based in, you will have a better understanding of how you can help them whilst reinforcing your interest in working with them by going above and beyond.

  5. Be patient. I know it's really difficult, especially when something really simple to you isn't translating correctly. But trust me, one day you'll be explaining something for the 10th time and something will just click in the client's brain. It's difficult to learn new things, especially when you're under the pressure of a project deadline, but it's so rewarding! Be patient with your clients and enjoy the process. (Please don't let the client's run over you though and drag a project on for decades, that's too patient!)

Remember, it’s ok to tell someone you don’t know the answer. It’s also ok to tell them “This isn’t my sector, I wouldn’t know that,” but don’t make them feel bad for asking. If you work in 3D space but always get the same “Can you do some graphic designs for my website?” questions, don’t roll your eyes. It’s an easy mistake to make and who knows, maybe they’ll want you to make some 3D renders instead of asking an illustrator to do the work.

What’s one tip you would tell a freelancer starting out? Leave them in the comments and they might be featured in a later post.

Have a fab week!

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