What to Bring to Client Meetings as a Freelancer

A freelance businesswoman walking with her minimalist leather Atlas Supply Co. backpack.

Meetings with clients: You must wear approved, on-brand colors. You must use company-branded pens to sign all documents. You will be required to carry all documents needed for meetings in the company-provided briefcase. Your shoes must be black and freshly polished. A cardigan or suit jacket is mandatory. All questions about these standards will be directed to your immediate supervisor.

Do the requirements above sound familiar? Though most companies are not this strict, some of these guidelines may ring a bell. The company with these dress code mandates and meeting conduct might be the reason you decided to work for yourself! Whether freelancing is your mad side hustle or your main gig, this article is for you.

While you certainly don’t want or need the detailed list of requirements mentioned earlier, it is helpful to have an idea of what to wear and bring to the meetings you have with your clients. As this can vary from industry to industry, we’ve broken our suggestions down into sections related to common freelance industries.

Event Photography

Many photographers like to meet with their clients before the wedding or other event to discuss terms and finalize a written contract. This meeting is a great opportunity for you to make a professional first impression while maintaining your personality. Many photographers choose to bring a printed version of their portfolio with them, but you can also get away with bringing your laptop or tablet that has a high-resolution screen. You’ll also want to have your contract printed and ready to go with you. Bring any necessary paperwork in a well-organized binder and be sure to have a nice pen with you that is easily accessible.

 A photographer wearing the Atlas Supply Co. camera bag walks in a field looking for her next photo opportunity.

To carry these items, we recommend our camera backpack. While the main function of this backpack is to carry your camera equipment (you may or may not bring your camera to show the client on this first visit), you can remove the velcro-secured dividers and place your binder and portfolio inside. It also has a separate laptop sleeve for your tablet or computer or even some additional printed photos.

Interior Decorating

As an interior decorator, it is important that you express your sense of style and fashion to your clients right from the first meeting. Your first meeting might include discovering the scope of the project, negotiating, and contract signing. So you’ll need paper, pens, and a laptop or tablet to show your prices and past projects you’ve completed. While plenty of formal discussion needs to happen in this meeting, you’ll want to avoid looking intimidating to your client on the first meeting, so you probably don’t want to come carrying everything in your arms or toting a bulky briefcase. For you, we recommend our versatile Wing work backpack/tote. The Wing tote has three uses that you’ll love, allowing you to carry it as a tote, crossbody bag, and functional work backpack. It comes in a few different colors that will allow you to maintain your unique style.

Business Consulting

Whether you are a financial, marketing, or another type of business consultant, you need to look and feel prepared and professional for client meetings. In your first meeting, you’ll likely be assessing the business you’re working with. Collect as much information as you can before the meeting. 

Feel free to play with your wardrobe a bit in these meetings. Maintain your professionalism and use accessories to showcase your personality. You’ll likely need to bring your work laptop and maybe a notepad to jot down any immediate ideas you have or to do some quick calculations. If you don’t need all the room of a work backpack, a quality shoulder bag will do the trick. Our Ally shoulder bag is a great option for consultants and will enhance any style you already have.

Coaching/Training

While most of your time is spent in athletic clothing or whatever you’re most comfortable in, your initial meetings may be different. While you certainly can still choose to wear what you normally would, it may also benefit you to dress up a bit. In your first meeting, you might be talking with your clients about their fitness goals or what they’d like to get out of hiring you. You likely won’t need to bring much with you, other than maybe a tablet or laptop. A basic Atlas pack, namely our staple backpack, is a versatile backpack that can be used for your day-to-day function as well as be part of your more formal client meetings.

Web/Graphic Design

What should you bring to your client interviews as a web or graphic designer? As freelance creators/artists, you don’t want to stifle your personality and style. Wear what feels best to you while keeping in mind your client and what their expectation of your first meeting might be. You’ll probably need a copy of your portfolio so bring your laptop or tablet (or both). You may also (depending on your specialty) want printed copies of some of your work. If you plan on nailing down a contract on your first visit, don’t forget that and bring a nice pen! To carry your items without dulling your style, pick a leather or canvas backpack. Our minimalist backpacks have the right colors that won’t distract from your style or brand, and they have the space you need to carry all the necessary items to your meeting or elsewhere.

Whatever your passion is, Atlas Supply Co. is here to do anything we can to help you live it. We have quality bags that support a variety of lifestyles, and they are perfect for our freelance friends. Shop our collection today!

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