Why deadlines are NOT meant to be broken.

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Why deadlines are NOT meant to be broken.

It’s kind of crazy, and possibly stupid, but if I know the train leaves the station at 9:51, I’ll leave the office at the very last possible minute – just in time to make it to the train by 9:50, hop on, and watch the doors close behind me.

Sometimes the train leaves without me just as I’m running up the stairs, but to my defense – that doesn’t happen often.

I know, it’s dumb, and I can’t really explain it… but there’s something about the thrill of getting there at the very last possible minute that gets my adrenaline pumping.

My wife hates going running with me to the train…

But when it comes to my business – I’m never late for the train.

In fact, I make it a top priority not only to be on time, but to get to the station 10 minutes early, before the train arrives.

Why? Because when it comes to my business I take things very seriously. So if I made a promise to my client to be on time, I WILL be on time.

There’s a saying that goes like this: “Deadlines are meant to be broken. And I just keep breaking them.

Well, I don’t believe in that saying.

Here’s my alternative:

“Deadlines are not meant to be broken. I’ll do everything I possibly can to always meet my project deadlines.”

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I can’t stress enough how important it is to the success of your freelance business to always meet the deadlines you set with your clients.

Here are 4 reasons why meeting your deadlines is super important:

  1. Your goal is 100% client satisfaction.
  2. Great customer service helps grow your business.
  3. Your job is part of a larger project.
  4. It builds credibility and trust.

1. Your goal is 100% client satisfaction.

Being on time is crucial for client satisfaction.

Take yourself as an example.

When you hire someone for a certain task, and he fails to deliver on time – how do you feel about that provider? He made a promise to do X by Y date, but then completely fails and explains in detail how his dog ate his keyboard.

Sure, there are times when life happens and something comes up that you couldn’t have anticipated. We are all human and sometimes life happens and things are out of our control.

But if this does happen, it’s up to you to be professional and let your client know to expect a delay due to X or Y. Your client will fully understand if you communicate your problem in an honest and sincere way.

It should be your top goal in every project to make sure your client is 100% satisfied with your work, and delivering on time is a major factor in the overall satisfaction.

2. Great customer service helps grow your business.

Freelancers are service providers. Your goal as a freelancer should be to always do your absolute best for your client, and meeting deadlines is a large part of that.

As a service provider, who has clients waiting to receive the end product by a certain time – you need to provide what the client needs when he needs it.

How would you feel if you ordered groceries to be delivered to your home by 1 PM but the delivery man didn’t show up until 5 PM that day? You’d be annoyed. You were depending on the store to deliver your items on time, so you could prepare dinner for your guests.

Same goes for us freelancers. If a client asks us to deliver certain tasks by X/Date, we need to complete the tasks by that date. If we don’t, the client will be disappointed and unhappy with our customer service.

And if you have a profile on an online freelancing platform such as Upwork, clients will leave public feedback on your work, in order to help others know if they should hire you or not.

Guess what one of the 5 factors in your customer service review is? “Adherence to schedule.”

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It’s not there by chance – being on time is a key part of providing great customer service – and great customer service is key for growing a successful business.

3. Your job is part of a larger project

Sometimes people have plans that don’t involve us. Yes, it’s true. It might be hard to grasp, and don’t ask me why it has to be this way, but life isn’t always about you or me.

Joking aside, my point is that often times our work is only part of a larger scheme of things. It’s just one piece in a large puzzle that creates a picture.

For example, if a company depends on me to produce a promotion video for their new product that is due to launch by X date, then it’s up to me to deliver on time, as my promotion video is only one factor in a larger campaign that includes: social campaigns, in-store promotions, Adwords ads, website banners and more.

So as a safe practice, always consider your job to be just one piece of your client’s bigger project. It will help you understand the importance of your role in getting your tasks completed in time.

4. It builds credibility and trust.

By sticking to your word you build trust and credibility, which are two of the most important factors to getting repeat clients.

If your client knows you always deliver on time, you’ll be the first person he thinks of to hire for future projects – even if he has a tight deadline to meet, as he will trust your word when you say you can deliver on time.

And not only that, if your client has a colleague that needs work done, he will feel comfortable recommending you as a trusted freelancer (see word of mouth strategy). It’s simple math, when you trust someone you hired in the past, you’ll be happy to return to that freelancer for more work later down the road.

So how do you ensure you never miss a deadline?

Read 7 actionable steps to ensure you never miss a deadline.

Key takeaways:

  • Deadlines are not meant to be broken.
  • 4 reasons why you should always meet your deadline:

    1. Your goal is 100% client satisfaction.
    2. Great customer service helps grow your business.
    3. Your job is part of a larger project.
    4. It builds credibility and trust.

“Deadlines are not meant to be broken. I’ll do everything I possibly can to always meet my project deadlines.”

If you want to grow your freelance business the right way always meet your deadlines. But do so while enjoying the flexibility and freedom you have as a freelancer, because after all – that’s one of the main reasons you probably went freelance in the first place.

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Why deadlines are NOT meant to be broken.

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