Questions about the client
How would you describe your business? / What is your line of business?
What do you offer / do for your clients?
What is your target audience?
Are there any specific restrictions for your line of business?
Questions about the project
Is this a new project or a redesign?
Is there something you need to have or improve?
What is it you feel is missing from your business?
What is the main goal you want to achieve with this project? (Brand recognition, new leads, more paying customers.)
What features would you like to include in the project? (this will be easier if you actually provide a list of features to the client and explain some features they may not be aware of)
What is the material I will have access to?
Is there another professional I will be working with? (i.e. a graphic designer, a content writer, a social media manager, somebody you want involved in the process)
When do you want to have this project completed? Give me a time range.
What is your budget for this project?
Will you need support from me in the future?
Have you thought of advertising? If yes, will you need my help or do you have another agency in mind?
There is no limit to the questions you can ask your clients until you feel you have all the information to complete the project. Of course there are a lot of things to cover and there are things that will be revealed during the project. But you need to leave the first meeting with a pretty clear picture of what is the project you are starting and how you will communicate during the development of the project. I strongly suggest that you take the time and have all your questions in writing before the meeting and if this is the first time ever trying this method, role-play it with a friend a couple of days before. This will help you have a general rehearsal of your method and more importantly time the meeting so that you can edit your questions and really keep the meeting in the one-hour frame time.
As you take on more freelance projects you will get more comfortable setting up your own procedures and questions. This is the real freedom freelancing offers you. You get to decide how, what and when you do things for your clients.
Pro tip: Keep written files after every client commutation. This will require a system but knowing what your customer wants is the completely up to you.
Be friendly and kind but keep a professional level and state clearly and polite anything that you believe is not fit for the project in question. Clients need you to help them understand a part of technology that serves them without feeling scared or with questions about what is happening. Keep in mind that a satisfied customer is your best advertisement. Think and plan everything in advance and invest in your clients. And may the force be with you. 🙂