What is a consultation?
A consultation is simply a meeting to discuss your project, to figure out what you want, when you need it and what your budget is. The tricky bit is deciding when a chat becomes a consultation, so you need to make sure you’ve clarified it with each freelancer you work with individually. Some will be happy to talk it through with you in depth whereas others won’t discuss anything without billing for the time.
What are you paying for?
If a freelancer is helping you figure out the details of your project then that is using their time and skills. Don’t be one of those people who contacts loads of freelancers to chat about your project and waste their time chatting about it when you have no intention of hiring them. Remember that this is their career and any time spent chatting about a project is time they could be working on something else (or enjoying themselves!). If you really want to chat in depth about your project and get help hammering out all the details then be prepared to pay for the time. A consultation should only take an hour or so, so won’t cost a fortune and could save you a lot of time and money later on, so is a good investment.
Preparing for your consultation
If you turn up to your consultation empty handed and unprepared then you’re wasting both of your time. At a minimum you should have a sketched out plan of what you want or be able to outline the main requirements for the project.
You should look up examples of similar projects online so you know the kind of quality and budget range you can expect. You must avoid getting into a situation where you tell the freelancer that you trust their opinion and then later on complain.
If you know you want a certain type of content but don’t have any specific ideas then you need to do a mind map. A mind map is a graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that helps you to structure information, helping you to better analyse, comprehend, synthesise, recall and generate new ideas.