5 Awful Client Habits to Avoid
In the wonderful world of freelance writing, there are many lucrative opportunities for freelancers of all levels. Unfortunately, there are also many traps waiting for someone with an inexperienced eye to fall into. Be aware of these five questionable practices to protect your income, career, and sanity.
1. Lack of Clear Communication
There are many clients out there who want to hire you because they have no desire or ability to learn your profession. While not every naive client is a bad one, steer clear of those that expect you to read their minds and produce a miracle.
It is not unreasonable to expect specific information on the project’s details and the compensation offered for it. If you have to spend an hour on the phone with a potential client only to hang up more confused than you were before, then they are probably not the client for you.
2. On-Demand Contact Expectations
Nothing is more frustrating than working with a freelance writing client who feels entitled to every second of your day. You should never be writing more in back-and-forth emails than you do on the actual assignment.
In this age of digital empowerment, everyone with a smartphone is constantly “plugged in.” Do yourself a favor and unplug — set clear boundaries on when you can and cannot be reached, and stick to your guns.
3. Paying for Gold with Pennies
Almost every client you come across will have a budget they must stick to. However, if that budget is so low that you’d have to work 23 hours per day just to keep your lights on, it’s probably best to say your goodbyes and head for greener pastures.
If you are a quality freelancer, then keep searching until you find clients that will pay you what you’re worth. Also, hit the brakes hard when approaching anybody offering exposure as compensation.
You can’t pay your bills with exposure, you can’t eat exposure, and you can’t fill your car’s gas tank with exposure.
4. Bad or Abusive Attitudes
Unless you’re a freelance writer of the masochistic variety, you should never, EVER, tolerate a client with an abusive personality. Most of us are drawn to this career because of the flexibility, fun, and freedom from bad bosses.
Do not settle for people who aim to damage your self esteem — there are plenty of other fish in the figurative sea. Red flags to watch for include trashing other freelancers/employees and critiquing your work in an insulting manner.
5. Last-Minute Revisions
It is unavoidable in the writing world to be occasionally asked for last-minute revisions. This act alone should not automatically place a client on your blacklist.
However, if it seems to happen with every project, or you are being asked to do more than originally agreed upon, it is definitely time to have a serious conversation.
Inquire about the cause of these constant revision and extra work requests. If you truly like the client, negotiate for a higher rate so that you are not losing money by playing in their circus.
If you seem to attract nothing but these types of clients, it is time to step back and look at your marketing approach to identify why they’re drawn to you. No freelance writer that is good at what they do, and has a passion for their work, deserves to fall prey to this behavior.