I’ve been working independently for nearly five years. Personally, I love the environment and appreciate the freedom that comes with working from home, the Starbucks down the road or a friend’s shared workspace downtown. It provides a little extra creativity that escaped me when I was confined to a corner office.
But telecommuting is not always simple. We work with companies all over the country as their “virtual” marketing department providing them with a complete digital solution without the massive personnel needs. Now, in today’s world that shouldn’t be that difficult; there are still hurdles we must conquer in order to make things flow efficiently. So how do we work as the marketing department for organizations and corporations without losing our edge or the trust of our clients? Here are four things we focus on at RTL Digital to make sure we keep our clients happy and projects on task.
Communicate efficiently and effectively
I’ve worked with many freelancers who could do one or the other, but being able to communicate concepts and progress both efficiently and effectively is key. We strive to keep communication on target and detailed without being overwhelming. We use a simple project management style as well as have regular phone/video conference calls to make sure the entire team is on the same page. We never leave anything to chance or hope the client will infer something in passing communication. Keep it simple, but make sure to get the idea across in full.
Detailed reporting in the form of executive summaries
We not only provide these reports to our clients, but we require them from our subcontractors as well. Reporting in any facet of business is key to building value with those who hired you. Detailing the progress you have made along with supporting data of the value you have provided simplifies the trust building part of your relationship with your client and gives you a tangible collection of your efforts’ metrics.
Complete transparency in your relationship
One thing we always look for in our contractors is transparency. We need to be able to trust our partners and not have to worry about them fulfilling their obligation to us or interfering with our client relationships. We ask that each of our contractors be 100 percent transparent about their relationship with us and with our clients from day one. It is the same with our commitment to our clients. Questioning the integrity of our relationship is counterproductive and not healthy for our business. So, we are transparent from before the ink is dry on the contract.
Accountability on every task
This is probably the most critical component of any telecommuting relationship. Deadlines must be met. Reports must be filed. There is no room for slacking in a telecommuting job or contractor relationship. Being accountable to the company that writes your paycheck is job number one.
Building a lasting partnership with a company miles away is all about being dependable. Everything we have mentioned above points back to building trust and proving you can work independently of a supervisor that is standing over your shoulder eight hours a day. Technology has created an environment where it is possible to have a great job and live halfway around the world. But that relationship depends on trust.