So. You have your very first ever client meeting coming up as a freelancer. You’ve researched scope, requirements documentation, pricing, and maybe you’ve even made your contract! Go YOU.
…this is my first client. What if they find out that I’ve never actually had a client before? What if they ask me hard questions? Will they fire me instantly and go work with the million other freelancers out there? Now I’m super nervous that I’ll lose the client. Do I tell them up front that they’re my first? I like being honest!
The answer is a simple NO! There’s no reason you have to lead with; ‘Hey! You’re my first client ever 🙂 I’m excited to get started on this project!”. You’re screwed as soon as you say that to them.
Here is what happened to us when we told clients they were one of our first:
Your perceived value plummets.
As soon as the words ‘first client’ comes out of your mouth, your previously excited client subconsciously thinks to themselves, “oh wow, I’m their first client…they must have NO idea what they’re doing. I can’t expect great work from them.”
But you know that there’s no reason they need to be worried, you’ve done projects like this before at your 9-5 job. So yes, they’re your first client, but you have to remember that you’ve done projects like this in the past; and you’re good at what you do.
We completely messed this up when we got started as freelancers; I cannot even begin to tell you. We mistakenly said to one of our first clients, “Oh yeah Thomas and I have never done this type of work before, and this is the first time we’re working with a company like yours…but don’t worry, we’ll figure it out.” That didn’t paint a great picture or instill any confidence in us. The client immediately cast us as a charity project, and that’s how he perceived us for years. He felt like he was doing us a favor by hiring us.
I remember he had us doing simple WordPress fixes for his startup and after a year of this he would always say things like “Hey I needed this thing done on my site, but since you guys are so new to this, I went to my other friend to check it out first.” This was so incredibly frustrating because we were 1000% capable of doing the task; he just perceived our value to be way less because we told him that he was our first client a year prior. A year!!
Be honest and professional.
Let me be very clear here; I don’t want you to hide anything or lie to your client. It may seem like you are at first, but you have to remember that this isn’t the first time you’re designing a logo, this is just the first time you’re working as a freelancer. How the client perceives your value is vital to the outcome of the project.
If they specifically ask you if they’re your first client, then tell them the truth! Just be sure to mention that you’ve done a dozen projects like this before or that you worked on a team doing this exact thing for three years at your previous job. That’s confidence right there. Who cares if this is the first client relationship you’ve had.
If you have a meeting coming up with your very first client, then remember a few tips going into it:
- Everyone has their first client; you’ll be okay 🙂
- There’s no need to say that this is your first client project.
- If they ask you specifically if this is your first freelance client, then be honest and say “Yes!…but check out all this other cool work I did so it doesn’t matter 😉 “
- Keep that perceived value up! You want them to see you as the expert and the professional that you are.
Now get out there and crush it! Let me know how your first client projects go in the comments below. Happy to help anyone through this!