4 Client Mistakes You MUST Avoid When Freelancing – by Joshua Pantalleresco

4 Client Mistakes You MUST Avoid When Freelancing – by Joshua Pantalleresco

Mistakes are going to happen when you choose to become a freelancer. I’ve made plenty, both in the work I’ve produced, and in dealing with clients. Breaking down those mistakes, I have concluded there are four reasons to fire a client, or be fired yourself:

You’re Just Not Ready
I got an opportunity to write for a real estate magazine and even got the chance to open up with two stories. The interviews for the stories went great, but my angle for the interviews were not in line with what the magazine was looking for. We tried a couple of different things, but in the end, the magazine concluded that I wasn’t ready to work with them, and we parted ways. Of all the mistakes on this list, this one is the most forgivable. If writers work at their craft, and get better, get published more, and continue to work at it, people who previously said weren’t ready may give a second chance. Attitude helps as well. I thanked the magazine for the chance in spite of the results, and they were pleasantly surprised when I thanked them.

Emotionally Unstable Client
This one is the trickiest of all the reasons to fire a client, or be fired. Things happen in life and all of us have felt the last eighteen months pretty brutally. It’s hard to quantify just how to measure this. Being kind to your clients and to yourself is a must. At the same time, no one needs to carry someone’s emotional burdens. Forgiveness and kindness are important, but so are boundaries. Know what they are, and let no one cross them. Also, keep your own behavior in check.

Client Won’t Listen To Suggestions
I had the chance to work on a crowdfunding campaign, and the client did not implement a lot of the ideas I suggested. I’ll shoulder some of the blame here, because I failed to communicate just why I gave the advice I did. If a suggestion isn’t taken, that’s not the end of the world on its own. As a freelancer, it is your job at that point to let the client know that the desired result is almost always more difficult to achieve than they think. Sometimes a better approach is found, but if this is a constant pattern, this is usually a large red flag. If the client isn’t listening to you, or you are not listening to the client, is it a matter of respect, priorities, or something else?

Client Refuses to Provide Information Needed
This one is pretty self explanatory. If information isn’t provided, there is no way to do the job properly. There is no coming back if a project gets to this point. There is no trust in this deal or relationship if this is going on. Walk away.

All of the issues above are red flags that can be nipped in the bud with communication. Talk to your clients, and let your clients talk to you. With my current broadcasting gig, I’m in touch with my clients and co-host all the time. Ideas are exchanged, questions are asked, and everyone feels like they are respected. Almost always, the issues I mention above can be avoided if people are talking to each other. Communication is the nature of all relationships, and can diffuse almost all of these situations.

Even with the best of intentions, not every client is going to work out.

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