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Sticking to the Client Brief as a Freelancer

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 1 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Sticking To The Client Brief As A Freelancer

Sticking to a client brief is the best way for a freelancer to complete work to the client’s specifications. In order to understand what a client wants, the freelancer and client should discuss the brief and any related details to make sure that everyone is on the same page before any work is begun.

Freelancers should discuss the contents of a client brief including the substance, the style and any stated deadlines so that they can best plan and complete the projects that they have accepted.

Client Brief: The Substance

The substance of a client brief is the details of the freelance worker’s project. These details should describe exactly what the client wants done in relation to the project. The more details contained within the client brief the better. For example, a freelance writer may take on an assignment to a feature article, but the brief should detail if there are any interviews to be conducted, how many words it should be, if any particular sources must be used and if there are any subjects or sources that should not be used.

Interior decorators may take on a project to decorate a bedroom, so that client brief should describe exactly what is desired for the room, if structurally changes are allowed, if new soft furnishings will be required, etc.

Animal trainers must know which animals are to be trained and what they should be trained to do. The more details that are added to the client brief the better a freelancer can provide exactly what the client asks.

Client Brief: The Style

A client brief should also detail the style in which the freelancers work should be completed. For example, photography briefs should detail if the work is to be done in black and white or colour film, and what sizes the photographs should be at the end of the project.

Writing briefs should detail if any particular style guide or manual is to be used, as well as if any particular form of spelling (British or American English) should employed and the formatting of the writing.

An animal trainer should be told if any methods are encouraged or discouraged by the animals’ owners. If such style details are not mentioned, freelancers should ask about them instead of possibly completing the assignment and finding that the client does not like it.

Client Brief: The Deadlines

Client briefs should always include an ultimate deadline for the completion of the project. They may also include mini-deadlines by which the client would like certain subsections of a project completed. If a freelancer agrees to these deadlines then (s)he should do everything possible to meet them.

If a freelancer knows that (s)he can not meet these deadlines then there may be room to negotiate other dates. However, if a freelancer does agree to a deadline and finds that (s)he will be unable to meet it, (s)he owes it to the client to let him or her know as soon as possible so that alternate arrangements can be made.

Freelance client briefs may come in the form of a formal brief, a contract or a series of emails. However it appears, the brief should include details of what the project should contain, the style in which the project should be completed and any deadlines associated with the project.

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