In every profession, business and career, attention to ethics, integrity, honesty and trust are paramount to ultimate success. I am going to highlight and explain the freelance lifer’s ethics and principles in which I believe. I will warn you that in this article I am more opinionated than ever.
The trustworthy professional doesn’t agree to take on a job or project outside of his or her expertise or interests. Just because you would like to receive the fee, don’t agree to tackle work that you are unprepared to do properly and easily or a project that won’t be to your liking. I know that when times are tough, it is hard to turn down work. But working on a task that we are not prepared to do well or with at least a modicum of passion is the surest way to “turn off” a client and word does travel.
A much better approach that will pay off in the long run is to recommend a colleague well-versed and well-prepared in that area. Both the client and your colleague will always remember you for your honesty and help. I also believe that “what goes around, comes around” so your good deed will eventually multiply in your favor.
The ethical professional treats all clients and other freelancers with respect and fairness. In my opinion this means never divulging confidentialities, charging different clients different fees according to what the “traffic will bear” or speaking badly of or spreading rumors about another freelancer or client. If, for example, someone asks what you think about another person’s abilities and you are not impressed by that person’s work or approach, it is better to say nothing or make a suggestion of someone “I am more familiar with.”
A true professional asks, “What can I do to help others achieve their goals?” Even though time is one of our most valuable assets, I feel that we must take the time to help others when they ask us for assistance. I am not saying that we need to always be available for the “free loaders.” You know who they are. But I am suggesting that when someone calls for information or tips on how to solve a problem, we are gracious and giving.
The business people I know who are open and willing to share what they have learned from their mistakes and victories are those business people who are succeeding in today’s shaky economy. They are sincere and genuine mentors. You will find that the more people we help, the more people who want to and can help us will appear — as if by magic.
My favorite marketing gurus all agree that people will hire those they know, like and trust. Can you be trusted as an ethical and honest free agent, independent professional and freelancer?