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Client Management

Understanding Client Expectations: The Nigerian Freelancer’s Guide

Last Updated on July 29, 2023


Let’s delve deep into understanding client expectations.

As a Nigerian freelancer, working with clients from different parts of the world requires more than just delivering quality work. Understanding the expectations of clients is crucial for a successful working relationship.

Definition of Client Expectations

Client expectations refer to the specific needs, desires, and requirements a client has for a particular project or service. These expectations may include turnaround time, quality of work, communication, and delivery.

Importance of Understanding Client Expectations

Understanding client expectations is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps you to deliver work that meets the client’s needs, which means you can expect repeat business.

Secondly, it helps you to manage the client’s expectations, so they don’t demand more than you can provide.

Thirdly, it gives you a clear understanding of what you need to do to satisfy the client.

Moreover, understanding client expectations helps you to build a good relationship with your clients. It shows that you are attentive to their needs and committed to delivering quality work. This can also improve your chances of getting referrals and recommendations from satisfied clients.

Therefore, it is essential to ask relevant questions, clarify doubts, and communicate effectively with clients to ensure that you understand their expectations before starting any project or service.

Common Challenges Faced by Nigerian Freelancers

As a Nigerian freelancer, there are numerous challenges you will face once you are in the freelance industry. These challenges can be overwhelming and can hinder your motivation to deliver your best work.

However, as a freelancer, it is important that you learn about these challenges before entering the industry, so you know what to expect.

Here are some common challenges that Nigerian freelancers face and ways to overcome them:

Cultural Differences and Communication Barriers

As a Nigerian freelancer, you will most likely be working with clients from around the world, including Europe and America. This means you will have to deal with cultural differences and communication barriers that can make your work more difficult.

It is important that you understand these differences and learn to communicate effectively with your clients. You can do this by researching the culture of your clients and learning their language.

Lack of Standardization of the Freelance Industry in Nigeria

Unlike in developed countries, the freelance industry is not yet standardized in Nigeria. This means that clients and freelancers do not have a clear understanding of what to expect from each other.

It is important that you communicate your expectations with your clients and that you set up a clear contract that outlines what you will deliver and when.

Unethical Behavior of Some Clients

Unfortunately, some clients may try to take advantage of Nigerian freelancers by not paying them for their work or asking for more work than what was initially agreed upon. It is important that you protect yourself against these clients by getting a clear contract that outlines what you will deliver and when, and by getting upfront payment or a deposit before starting any work.

In summary, being a Nigerian freelancer comes with a unique set of challenges that can be daunting, but with the right mindset and preparation, you can overcome them.

By understanding cultural differences and communication barriers, setting up clear contracts, and protecting yourself against unethical clients, you can set yourself up for success in the freelance industry.

Read: Managing Difficult Clients: A Guide for Freelancers in Nigeria

Importance of Setting Clear Expectations: A Guide for Nigerian Freelancers

As a Nigerian freelancer, setting clear expectations with clients is crucial for your success.

Here’s why:

Why Setting Clear Expectations is Necessary

  • It prevents misunderstandings

  • It establishes trust with the client

  • It helps you manage your time and resources effectively

  • It sets the tone for the entire project

Now that you understand why clear expectations are essential, let’s discuss how to set them:

How to Set Clear Expectations with Clients

  • Start by defining the scope of work. What are the specific tasks you’ll be responsible for, and what is the timeline for completing them?

  • Agree on the deliverables. What exactly will you be providing to the client, and in what format?

  • Set communication expectations. How often will you communicate with the client, and by what means?

  • Discuss payment and invoicing procedures. Will you be paid hourly, or will there be a flat fee? When will you invoice, and when is payment due?

  • Clarify revisions and edits. How many revisions are included in the scope of work, and what is the procedure for requesting changes?

It’s important to remember that setting expectations is a two-way street. The client should also have the opportunity to express their expectations and ask questions.

Here are some tips for facilitating this conversation:

  • Be proactive in communicating with the client. Don’t wait for them to come to you with questions.

  • Ask open-ended questions to encourage the client to share their expectations. For example, “What are your goals for this project?”

  • Listen actively and take notes. This will show the client that you value their input and take their expectations seriously.

  • Clarify any confusion or misunderstanding immediately. Don’t wait until the end of the project to address issues that could have been resolved early on.

By setting clear expectations with your clients, you’ll establish a solid foundation for a successful project. You’ll prevent misunderstandings, build trust, and effectively manage your time and resources. So take the time to have this important conversation with your clients and set yourself up for success!

Read: Effective Client Management Techniques for Nigerian Freelancers

Steps to Take When Client Expectations are not Met

When you work as a freelancer, meeting client expectations is vital to your success.

However, no matter how carefully you plan and execute a project, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. When client expectations are not met, it can be frustrating and stressful, but there are steps you can take to address the situation and get the project back on track.

Here are four steps you can take when client expectations are not met:


The most critical step is communication. When you notice that client expectations are not being met, reach out to the client and discuss the situation.

Don’t delay the conversation; the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to address the issue. Approach the conversation positively and constructively.

Explain what is happening, the impact it is having, and your commitment to finding a solution. Be sure to listen to the client’s concerns and acknowledge their perspective.

Re-Evaluating the Project Scope

It is essential to re-evaluate the project scope. Review the original project scope and compare it to the work completed.

Identify the areas where the work deviated from the initial scope, and determine the causes. Were the client’s expectations unrealistic, or did you fail to meet them? Identifying the cause is vital to finding a solution.

Discuss any changes or additions to the project scope with the client and obtain mutual agreement on any new expectations.

Offering Solutions

When you have identified the cause of the issue, offer solutions to resolve the situation. Brainstorm creative solutions with the client and obtain their input.

Be sure to consider the client’s priorities and needs when proposing solutions. Always provide a timeline for implementing the solution, so the client knows when to expect changes.

Discuss the solutions with the client and obtain mutual agreement before making any changes.

Renegotiating the Project Terms

If the issue has significant implications, you may need to renegotiate the project terms. For example, the new solution proposed by the client may require additional resources, which means additional time and effort. Discuss these implications with the client and obtain an agreement on any changes to the timeline or budget. Document the changes and obtain client sign-off.

In essence, when client expectations are not met, it’s essential to communicate with the client, re-evaluate the project scope, offer creative solutions, and renegotiate the project terms if necessary.

Addressing the issue head-on demonstrates your commitment to doing quality work and your willingness to work with the client to find a solution.

By taking these steps, you can turn a difficult situation into a positive outcome that strengthens your client relationships and your reputation as a reliable freelancer.

Read: Understanding and Implementing Value-Based Pricing in Nigeria

Understanding Client Expectations: The Nigerian Freelancer's Guide

Tips for Managing Client Expectations

As a freelancer, understanding client expectations is one of the most critical aspects of successful project delivery.

Here are some tips to help you manage expectations:

Communication Strategies

  • Respond promptly to client inquiries and concerns

  • Clarify client requests and expectations before starting work

  • Regularly update clients on progress

  • Provide feedback and suggestions for improvement

  • Establish a mutually convenient mode of communication (e.g. email, video call, etc.)

Documenting Project Details

  • Create a detailed project plan with the client

  • Clearly outline project milestones and deadlines

  • Agree on budget, payment terms, and scope of work

  • Put everything in writing

  • Have clients sign off on project deliverables at each stage

Managing Timeframes

  • Give realistic timelines for project completion

  • Ensure that project timelines align with the client’s expectations

  • Make sure that you meet project deadlines

  • Communicate any changes in timelines as soon as possible

  • Provide updates if there is any risk of missing deadlines

By keeping these tips in mind, you can create a positive relationship with clients and ensure successful project delivery.

Remember, good communication, detailed documentation, and commitment to timelines are key to managing client expectations.

Read: Retainer Agreements: A Guide for Freelancers in Nigeria


Understanding client expectations is crucial for Nigerian freelancers to succeed in their careers. Not only does it help build long-term relationships with clients, but it also leads to repeat projects and positive reviews.

By taking the time to communicate effectively, asking the right questions, and setting clear expectations, freelancers can decrease misunderstandings and increase client satisfaction.

Recap of the Importance of Understanding Client Expectations

When it comes to freelancing in Nigeria, understanding client expectations is essential for several reasons.

  • Firstly, it helps to establish trust and build a strong working relationship with each client.

  • Secondly, it ensures that the freelancer delivers work that meets the client’s needs, which leads to repeat projects and positive referrals.

  • Lastly, clear communication helps reduce misunderstandings and the likelihood of disputes over payment or project deliverables.

Call to Action for Nigerian Freelancers to Prioritize Client Expectations

As Nigerian freelancers, we need to prioritize client expectations and recognize that they are crucial to the success of our careers. This starts with devoting time and energy to communication and establishing clear expectations from the outset.

By doing so, we can create a positive working environment that leads to more projects and greater success.

Final Thoughts

In the end, understanding client expectations is a vital part of succeeding as a freelancer in Nigeria. By prioritizing communication and reliability, we can build strong relationships with clients that lead to success in our careers.

Remember to always ask questions, clarify deliverables, and set clear deadlines, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals as a freelancer.

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