5 Signs Your Client is About to Fire You – by S.E. Batt

5 Signs Your Client is About to Fire You – by S.E. Batt

During your freelance career, you’ll discover that it’s just as easy to lose a client as it is to find one. This is why it’s important to always keep an eye out for new opportunities, even if you have plenty of clients already. If your schedule is all filled up, simply keeping your finger on the pulse of the market will keep you prepared for when the worst happens.

There are ways you can detect when a gig is going south. When you sense that things are going awry, you can then send freelance job applications out to prevent a loss of income. Here are five ways clients can leave you, and how to detect it in advance.

The client’s life gets too hectic
Life has a way of throwing a wrench in the works and sometimes your client gets caught up in the worst of it. I’ve personally had a client whose health deteriorated to the point where he could no longer manage freelance queries, and had to shut down the site entirely.

If you notice your client is finding it harder and harder to get back to you on pitches or drafts submissions, there may be something going on in the background. It may just be a temporary hiccup or it could be something more serious. If you’re worried about the future with your client, use the gaps between replies to chase up old and new clients.

The client buys too much content up-front
In this example, a client originally falls in love with the work output they can achieve with freelancers. As the work piles in, and the posts get published, the client slowly realizes that perhaps they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. I recently had a client put their entire freelance team on hiatus simply because they had far too much work waiting in the queue to be published!

Keep an eye out on how fast your work goes from acceptance to publication. If you notice that your articles start taking weeks or months to be published, yet the rate the site is publishing content remains the same, your client may be suffering from an inundation of articles. See if you can find other work while they churn through all their content.

The client starts having financial problems
A client will find it hard to maintain a relationship with freelancers if they’re struggling to keep the roof over their own heads. If you notice a client is trying to get more for less, delays payments for seemingly no reason, or even ‘forgets’ payments altogether, you may need to jump ship before it sinks. A client who skimps on paying quickly and honestly for work performed is not worth your time. If a client owes you for past work, agreeing to do more work for even later payment is always a bad idea. You may not get paid at all.

The client becomes despondent about the work/project
Sometimes a client has grand ideas of where they will take their project but, as the months go by, and the results don’t meet their grand expectations, the client becomes more and more despondent about the future of their work. Eventually, they’ll close down the site after losing interest in the project.

Hopefully your client will continue to be enthusiastic about their project, and will relay that energy to you as their writer. If you notice that they don’t really seem to care for the direction or health of the site, it may be a sign that things aren’t turning out as glamorous as the client first hoped. Go on the hunt for a client who has more confidence in the work they do!

The client becomes despondent about the writer
The most deflating cause of a lost client is when you are the problem! Sometimes, a client doesn’t feel right about you personally and, other times, they may be reconsidering their stance on freelance work. I was once terminated by a client who decided that freelancers were no longer for them, and wanted to move everything in-house.

Keep an eye out for any criticisms the client may have about your style or anything else, and try to rectify them ASAP. If they have to keep prodding you for work, or changes to your work, they may lose their patience, and turn to someone else. Likewise, if the client seems very aloof about you and the work you do, they just may not be ‘feeling it’ anymore.

Freelance writing can be quite turbulent and career-changing decisions can be made within the space of a day. You don’t need to be caught unawares every time. However, by keeping tabs on how your client is acting, you can get a feel for when a gig is turning south. Don’t wait for the termination email to come in; start looking for a new gig right away!


S.E. Batt is a freelance writer and author. He enjoys a good keyboard, cats, and tea, even though the three of them never blend well together.

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One Response to "5 Signs Your Client is About to Fire You – by S.E. Batt"

  1. Tatiana Claudy  May 19, 2019 at 12:18 am

    Thank you so much for this informative article!


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