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Freelancing Basics

Freelancing in Nigeria: Understanding & Setting Client Expectations

Last Updated on July 1, 2023


The rise of freelancing in Nigeria has been noticeable in recent times, with more youths and professionals choosing to work independently and remotely.

As a freelancer in Nigeria, one crucial aspect that cannot be overlooked is understanding and setting client expectations. This is because it determines the quality of service delivery and impacts both the freelancer’s reputation and the client’s satisfaction.

When working as a freelancer, the first step in understanding client expectations is by asking the right questions. This includes knowing the client’s business goals, target audience, timeline, and budget.

With a clear understanding of the clients’ needs, a freelancer can then offer a detailed proposal that sets realistic expectations.

It is imperative to be transparent with clients about the work process, including the expected timeline, deliverables, revision process, and payment structure. This helps to mitigate potential conflicts that may arise during the project’s execution.

Setting boundaries is an essential part of managing client expectations as a freelancer in Nigeria. This involves communicating the scope of the project and what part of it falls outside the agreed-upon terms. This helps to manage the client’s expectations and reduce the likelihood of scope creep.

In short, as a freelancer in Nigeria, understanding and setting client expectations should be a top priority. Communication, transparency, and setting realistic boundaries can go a long way in building a good working relationship with clients, resulting in more satisfied customers and repeat business.

Read: Building a Sustainable Freelance Career in Nigeria: Tips and Tricks

Understanding Client Expectations

As a freelancer in Nigeria, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of your client’s expectations. This can help you build trust and deliver high-quality work that meets their needs. Here are some key factors to consider:

Communication is key

Great communication is the foundation of any successful freelancer-client relationship. Be sure to understand your client’s preferred communication channels (email, phone, Zoom, etc.) and respond promptly to their messages. This can help you clarify any misunderstandings and avoid potential conflicts later on.

Clarifying project details and scope of work

Before taking on any project, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the required deliverables and the scope of the work.

This includes the client’s goals, target audience, branding guidelines, and any technical specifications. Be sure to ask questions to ensure that you have all the information you need before starting any work.

Identifying project timeline and deadlines

Setting realistic project timelines and deadlines is one of the most important steps in managing client expectations. Make sure the client is aware of when they can expect the work to be completed and any potential delays that may arise.

This helps you build trust with the client and maintain open communication throughout the project.

Setting payment expectations

Freelancers in Nigeria need to have a clear payment policy in place to avoid any misunderstandings or payment delays.

Be sure to discuss payment terms with your client upfront, including the rate, payment milestones, and any fees for additional work. This helps the client understand what they can expect to pay and when.

Highlighting potential revisions and feedback

Every project will require feedback and revisions, so it’s important to manage the client’s expectations around this.

Be sure to discuss the number of revisions that are included in the project and any additional fees that may be charged for extra revisions. This helps the client understand what they can expect and can help you avoid potential conflicts later on.

Building strong client relationships as a freelancer in Nigeria requires clear and effective communication and a thorough understanding of the client’s expectations. By following these key steps, you can ensure that you deliver high-quality work that meets the client’s needs and exceeds their expectations.

Read: Insider Tips for Successful Freelancing in Nigeria

Setting Client Expectations

As a freelancer, understanding and setting client expectations is vital to your success. You need to be aware of what the client expects from you and communicate what you can deliver. Here are some tips to help you set and manage client expectations:

Being realistic about deliverables

It is important to be realistic about what you can deliver to the client. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep. Make sure you understand the scope of the project and what the client expects from you. If you are unsure about anything, ask questions.

Prioritizing workload and managing time

Managing your workload and time is critical to meeting client expectations. Prioritize your workload based on deadlines and client needs. Set realistic deadlines and communicate with the client if you need more time to complete a task. Avoid overpromising and underdelivering.

Communicating any changes or setbacks

If there are any changes or setbacks in the project, it is important to communicate with the client as soon as possible. Be transparent about the situation and come up with a solution together. Keeping the client in the loop builds trust and strengthens the relationship.

Meeting deadlines and exceeding expectations

Meeting deadlines is crucial in freelancing. Exceeding expectations is even better. Make sure you deliver quality work on time. If you can go above and beyond what the client expects, then do it. It will increase the chances of getting repeat business and positive reviews.

Maintaining professionalism throughout the project

Professionalism is key to building a good reputation as a freelancer. Communicate clearly and respectfully with the client. Be responsive to their needs and concerns. Don’t let personal issues affect the project. Remember, the client is paying for your services and expects a professional attitude.

Setting and managing client expectations is a fundamental part of freelancing. It requires communication, organization, and professionalism. By following these tips, you can ensure a successful freelancing career.

Read: Freelance Work-Life Balance: Advice for Nigerians

Freelancing in Nigeria: Understanding and Setting Client Expectations

Challenges and Solutions

Dealing with difficult clients

Difficult clients can be a hurdle, but it’s important to maintain professionalism and set boundaries.

  • Listen to their concerns and offer solutions.

  • Don’t compromise your work ethics to please them.

  • Document all communication and agreements.

  • If things go south, know when to walk away.

Overcoming language barriers

Communication is key in freelancing, and language barrier can affect the quality of work delivered.

  • Find common ground and use simple language.

  • Be proactive in seeking clarification and explanations.

  • Utilize translation tools and services if available.

  • Suggest a video or voice call for complex discussions.

Managing multiple projects at once

Freelancing can involve juggling multiple clients and deadlines, which can be overwhelming.

  • Develop a system for prioritizing tasks and projects.

  • Set realistic deadlines and manage client expectations.

  • Communicate effectively and proactively with clients.

  • Delegate where possible and outsource if necessary.

Utilizing project management tools

Project management tools can help streamline tasks, improve productivity, and enhance communication between clients and freelancers.

  • Research and adopt a project management tool that suits your needs.

  • Ensure your clients are comfortable using the tool.

  • Utilize the features to manage tasks, deadlines, and communication.

  • Track progress and share updates with clients.

Fostering a positive working relationship with clients

Building and maintaining a positive working relationship with clients is vital for repeat business and referrals.

  • Establish clear communication channels and expectations from the onset.

  • Show interest in their business and industry.

  • Offer additional value and go above and beyond their expectations.

  • Provide regular updates and feedback.

In general, freelancing in Nigeria comes with its share of challenges, but they can be overcome with the right approach and tools.

Knowing how to deal with difficult clients, overcoming language barriers, managing multiple projects, utilizing project management tools, and fostering a positive working relationship with clients are key to thriving in the industry.

As a freelancer, constantly developing and improving these skills will not only make your work life easier but also increase your chances of success.

Read: Managing Your Finances as a Freelancer in Nigeria


Generally, understanding and setting client expectations is crucial in the freelancing industry in Nigeria. It helps to avoid conflicts and build long-lasting relationships with clients.

If you’re considering taking on freelance projects in Nigeria, we encourage you to do so. The industry is growing, and there are many opportunities available.

However, it’s essential to navigate the industry carefully. Research and gather as much information as possible, and be prepared to negotiate and communicate effectively with clients.

Remember, as a freelancer, you are your own boss. You have control over your work, clients, rates, and time. So, take charge and make the most of your freelancing career in Nigeria.

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