In your freelance life, you undoubtedly encounter so many instances where you need to follow up. You might be waiting for clients to hand over project details or payments. You might be wondering what happened to that query you sent to customer service. You might be anticipating correspondence about a prospective job. There are a lot of situations that can pop up during your freelance career that you'll need to request an update on, but it can be quite daunting to do so. Here's why you shouldn't be afraid of following up.
1. There's nothing wrong with asking.
If you're wondering why your pay hasn't come in yet despite the fact that you've already completed the project, you have a perfectly good reason to ask why your bank account is still empty. If you're polite about it -- like saying that you would just like to check if the payment was made -- your client won't have a problem letting you know why it has been delayed. Your client may have simply forgotten, or may have no idea that payment hasn't gone through due to a system glitch of some sort. Most of the time, there's a perfectly good reason why that happens, and following up actually gives your client a chance to explain the circumstances.
The same goes for anything else that your work may require, like details or files. When you need something, just ask.
2. It's a way to keep in touch.
When you're waiting to hear about a job and it has been a while since you last heard from your prospective client, there's no harm in checking in. The client may just be extremely busy and your email may serve as a reminder about the project, as well as show how serious or interested you are about it.
You can come across job prospects of all kinds but may end up with nothing because you never follow up after your initial contact with the clients. Some clients simply need a nudge in the right direction and checking in on them can help with that. This applies to clients you have worked with before as well. Asking about new projects is perfectly fine and will keep you on their radar.
3. It can help give you peace of mind.
Whether you're experiencing a glitch at an online jobs marketplace or you're encountering difficulties with your bank account, if you're waiting for an answer about something, don't be shy about pursuing it. If an email is the only thing that's in the way between you and a good night's sleep, go send it.
Keep in mind however, that like with anything else, it's best to do it in moderation. As much as following up can help your career in more ways than one, overdoing it won't do you any favors either. Don't follow up multiple times in one day – once or twice is usually enough. Keep your messages short and direct, and always be kind and respectful. If done right, following up is nothing to be afraid of.