I’ve been freelancing for over six years now. So I’ve seen the highs and the lows. From working with incredible clients to the not so great clients as I mentioned in this recent post.
I want to save you tons of frustration and hopefully share some insights with you to help you improve if you’re already freelancing or if you’re thinking about freelance writing in the future.
First off, it’s important to note that every business relationship is a two-way street. While there are definitely bad clients out there, some freelancers are not professional. These individuals are often not reliable. Some of them might even disappear, which makes clients view freelancers as completely replaceable at any given moment.
I know it’s probably not intentional. Maybe you’re overwhelmed. But you must accept responsibility for the things you control. Sometimes you might have scope crawl or just an unreliable client. I get it!
No matter what happens, you must hold yourself responsible.
Sometimes you’ll have a bad client. If you know a client is a bad client, don’t assume you can change them. Don’t assume things will get better. Meet your professional obligations, and then tell them in a professional manner that you are ending the relationship.
Remember that as a freelancer you are in serious demand. You offer a very unique skill set and provide a product or service that businesses need more than ever.
You’re skilled. You’re hungry. You’re doing the work that many, many people dream of doing. Be confident in what you’re doing. And the following is a simple way to stay on track.
Avoid Fiverr and Upwork Like The Plague
Any time you accept any of those countless low-paying gigs on Fiverr or Upwork, you only devalue your freelance work, which kills your confidence. You are also devaluing the work of other freelancers.
Talk about a lose-lose scenario. The only one who wins is those services that make a large cut of each sale.
I encourage you not to support or work on these platforms that make their money undercutting professionals. If you want something done at an extremely low price, get creative. Barter with someone. Partner with someone. Figure something out. Remember, you’re seriously creative.
I understand that there are times when you might need these content mills to pay your bills. I know clients will go out of business or have cutbacks. There might even be a pandemic that completely changes the economy, right.
Here is probably the best advice you’ll ever hear as a freelancer: never stop marketing. Ever.
And don’t forget that having great clients that respect you and pay you what you’re worth makes most problems go away.
A Challenge For You
I want to challenge you to start thinking more like a business and less like a freelancer. Keep in mind that because we tend not to be in the office with our clients, they often don’t perceive us in the same way as they do other employees. In many cases, it’s a matter of “out of sight, out of mind,” at least until the due date for a project draws near. Then they love us, right?
Remember, you can manage a client’s expectations from the very first time you interact with them. It pays off to be upfront and direct. Put it in writing. ALWAYS have terms in place on a contract.
You will never get great clients if you spend all of your time working with lousy clients, mediocre clients, and even pretty good clients. Strive to work with only your ideal clients.
I know that’s a tall order, but they are out there, I promise. I’ve worked with some of them over the years. Great clients will treat you with kindness and respect. But you need to hold up your part of the bargain too.
One of the best things you can do right now is to take some steps to improve your onboarding process. Decide how you will communicate with potential clients to help you find great clients. It’s worth spending a few minutes to set up a system that allows you to save hours of pain and frustration. Maybe it’s as simple as tweaking the contact form on your website. Or creating a contact form. I know this feels like something insignificant, but it’s not. This small step can be a game-changer for you as you move forward. Never stop learning, never stop growing, and keep doing great work.