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How communication can make or break your freelancing career

Cubo writersMar 27, 2023

As a freelancer, communication is key to building successful relationships with clients, colleagues, and collaborators. It allows you to share ideas, ask questions, and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

However, communication can be a challenge, especially when you're working remotely.

Misunderstandings and communication breakdowns can lead to missed deadlines, unhappy clients, and ultimately, a loss of business.

Why communication is important for freelancers

Freelancers work independently, often in isolation, and have to manage their own workflow along with dealing with clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

An illustration of a freelancer workingIn order to succeed as a freelancer, it's paramount to have excellent communication skills. Communication is the foundation of building successful relationships with clients and other stakeholders.

The ability to communicate effectively helps freelancers to build trust, establish credibility, and set clear expectations on both sides.

The challenges of communication in freelancing

A great method to gain more control over your professional path and work-life balance is to freelance. It does, however, come with communication issues that can be challenging to handle.

For example, independent contractors need to be able to communicate clearly with their clients, subcontractors, and colleagues. Without proper communication, misunderstandings, and conflicts can easily arise, leading to project delays or even failures.

The absence of face-to-face interaction is one of the main barriers to effective communication for freelancers. Face-to-face contacts are possible in traditional office environments, which can foster rapport and trust among team members.

It might be challenging to develop a personal connection when you operate as a freelancer because you might never meet your clients or colleagues in person.

Another challenge of communication in freelancing is the time zone differences. Freelancers often work with clients or team members who are located in different time zones.

This can make it difficult to schedule meetings and collaborate in real time. Moreover, language barriers can also pose communication challenges when working with international clients.

Tips for effective communication with clients

Effective communication is crucial in building successful relationships with clients as a freelancer.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Set expectations early on

Before starting a new project, make sure to discuss with your client what they need and when they need it. This helps to set clear expectations from the beginning and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

  • Be available

It's important to be responsive to client messages and emails.

  • Use clear and concise language

Avoid using technical jargon and complicated words that your client may not understand. Use simple and clear language to explain your ideas and concepts.

  • Listen actively

Listen carefully to your client's needs and concerns, and ask questions to clarify any doubts. This helps to build trust and ensures that you're delivering exactly what they need.

  • Be honest and transparent

If there are any issues or delays, be upfront with your clients and let them know as soon as possible. Effective communication not only helps you to deliver quality work but also positions you as a reliable and trustworthy professional in your field.

The role of active listening in freelancing relationships

Active listening is a critical aspect of building successful relationships as a freelancer.

It means not just hearing what your client is saying, but also understanding their message, their tone, their body language, and their underlying concerns. When you actively listen to your clients, they feel valued and respected, and they're more likely to trust you and continue working with you.

Communication barrierActive listening involves being present at the moment and focusing solely on the conversation at hand. This means putting aside any distractions, such as your phone or computer, and giving your full attention to the person speaking to you. It also means asking relevant questions and seeking clarification when needed.

By actively listening to your clients, you can gain a deeper understanding of their needs and expectations, and tailor your work accordingly. This can lead to increased client satisfaction and repeat business, as well as positive referrals and recommendations.

The importance of clear expectations and boundaries

As a freelancer, it's essential to set clear expectations and boundaries with your clients. It helps to avoid misunderstandings, ensure that both parties are on the same page, and ultimately build a successful working relationship.

When starting a project, make sure that you and the client are on the same page in terms of deadlines, payment, and scope of work. You should communicate your expectations clearly and make sure that the client understands them.

Remote teams collaborating on CuboIt's also important to set boundaries for communication. Let your client know when you're available to communicate and what communication channels you prefer.

This will help avoid misunderstandings and ensure that you can give your client your full attention when you're working.

How to give and receive constructive feedback

As a freelancer, giving and receiving feedback is an essential part of building successful relationships with clients.

However, the way feedback is delivered can have a significant impact on how it is received. Therefore, it's important to understand how to give and receive constructive feedback in a way that is both effective and respectful.

Feedback principlesWhen giving feedback, it's important to be specific about what you want to address. Rather than simply saying "this isn't good," focus on the specific areas where improvements can be made.

Be clear and concise, and provide actionable suggestions for improvement. It's also important to remember to be respectful and not attack the individual, but rather focus on the work itself.

Navigating difficult conversations with grace

As a freelancer, it's inevitable that at some point in your career, you will encounter a difficult conversation with a client. Whether it's discussing missed deadlines, addressing a misunderstanding or negotiating payments, these conversations can be uncomfortable and stressful.

A Woman Having a Video Call on a LaptopHowever, it's important to understand that these conversations are a necessary part of building successful relationships with clients and growing your freelance business.

The key to navigating these difficult conversations is to approach them with grace and professionalism. Start by preparing yourself for the conversation by gathering all the necessary information and considering different outcomes.

It's also important to approach the conversation with empathy and understanding, putting yourself in your client's shoes to gain a better perspective on their concerns.

Building trust through communication

As a freelancer, building trust is crucial to your success. Trust is established through communication, and effective communication is key to building lasting and successful relationships with your clients.

To begin with, you should always make sure to listen carefully to your clients and understand their needs and expectations. Be open and transparent in your communication, and make sure to keep your clients updated throughout the project. This helps to build trust and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

You should also be responsive to your clients' messages and keep your communication channels open. Whether it's email, phone or video calls, make sure to respond in a timely manner and keep your clients informed about the progress of their project or any other relevant updates.

The benefits of consistent communication

As a freelancer, one of the most important skills you can cultivate is communication. It's essential to communicate effectively with your clients, colleagues, and anyone else you interact with in your professional life. Consistent communication is key to building successful relationships with your clients and keeping them coming back.

When you communicate with your clients on a regular basis, you build trust and rapport, which can lead to more work and referrals. It's important to keep your clients updated on the progress of their projects and to let them know if there are any delays or issues that may impact the timeline. This will help them to feel confident in your ability to deliver quality work on time.

Consistent communication also helps you to avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications that can lead to conflicts or missed deadlines. By keeping the lines of communication open, you can address any issues or concerns before they become bigger problems.

 Whether you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, online coach, small business owner, or remote worker, it is important to get your business out there and Cubo takes it a step further.

James and Brenda collaborating on CuboIt’s like if you took Zoom + Calendly + Slack, and Linktree together to create this all-in-one communication platform.


In conclusion, effective communication is the cornerstone of building successful relationships as a freelancer. Whether it's with clients, peers, or collaborators, prioritizing clear and consistent communication will not only lead to better project outcomes but also foster long-term success in your freelancing career.

Remember, communication isn't just about conveying information - it's about building relationships, establishing trust, and demonstrating professionalism.

By prioritizing communication in your freelancing work, you'll create a reputation for yourself as a reliable and trustworthy partner, which will ultimately lead to more opportunities and long-term success.

Best of luck in your freelance journey!