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Your Freelance Client Onboarding Checklist

Bringing on a new client can be daunting, especially if you’re recreating the wheel every time. You have to gather lots of information to be successful and then organize your tasks to stay on deadline. It can be overwhelming, and we want to make it a bit easier. Here’s a list of client onboarding questions you can pull from to make sure you’re kicking off new client relationships on the right foot.

We used these questions when running our own freelance business. It made an incredible difference to collect this info upfront. Rather than chasing clients down for info well into our working relationship, we had a clear understanding of their vision and needs from the get-go. You can ask clients to respond to these questions via email or cover them all during a kick-off call. We recommend keeping the answers in a document that you can reference easily.

Your Freelance Client Onboarding Checklist

Get to Know the Product and Brand

  1. Who was your product or company built for?
  2. What are some common problems and stressors for your customers?
  3. How are you solving those pain points?
  4. How do you want your customer to view your brand?
  5. What brands, publishers, thought leaders, etc. are important to your target audience?
  6. What are some of the most common questions your customers have about your company or industry?

Align on Your Client’s Goals

  1. What are your short- and long-term goals?
  2. What is the primary goal (conversion) of your website? Do you have any micro-conversions?
  3. What are the top three KPIs you have been measuring?
  4. What is your business focus right now?
  5. What channels are you using to drive growth?
  6. What channels are you not using to drive growth?
  7. What do you want to accomplish in the next 3-6 months?

Uncover Their Competitive Advantage

  1. Who are your competitors?
  2. What are their key value propositions?
  3. What are your competitive advantages?

Learn About Their Pain Points

  1. What are your obstacles right now? (no strategy, product positioning, no resources, etc.)
  2. What strategies have you already tried to overcome them?
  3. What are you interesting in trying?

Nail Down the Details and Set Expectations

  1. What does the success of this project look like?
  2. Do you have success metrics in mind or should we build those together?
  3. Are there any additional needs that may arise down the road?
  4. Do you prefer weekly, biweekly, or monthly calls?
  5. How do you prefer to provide feedback?
  6. How quickly will you be able to provide feedback on my work?
  7. Are there any other team members who will be involved?
  8. Have you worked with freelancers before this project? What went well? What didn’t?


We encourage you to mix and match based on what makes sense for your own business and clients. We can’t stress enough how important it is to align with your clients upfront, gather the right information, and get organized from day one. You’ll thank yourself later!

About the Author
Samantha is co-founder of Harlow. Previously she was a marketing and demand gen freelancer. She enjoys traveling, connecting with new people, spending time with her dog Karl, and throwing back an extra dirty martini every now and then.

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