Search the Internet and you’ll undoubtedly find an abundance of reads, resources, and recommendations to find freelance work as a writer. But, what good is an amassed roster of professional clients if they:
1. DON’T PAY AS PROMISED
2. HAGGLE WITH YOU ABOUT PRICES
3. DISRESPECT YOU
4. ARE DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH
5. HAVE UNREASONABLE OR UNFAIR EXPECTATIONS
6. FORCE YOU TO VISIT THE LIQUOR CABINET BEFORE NOON
Truth be told, savvy client selection is crucial to your survival, success, and profitability. In fact, it’s one of the most important skills you’ll need to cultivate in your career if you seek to go the distance.
WHY THEY MATTER…
‘Solid” clients mean you’ll spend less time chasing your money, less time marketing, less time embroiled in battles, and more time doing what you love—writing. And, I should know. As a veteran scribe, I have worked with the best and the “undesirables.”
A CAUTIONARY TALE…
Many moons ago, I was on cloud nine upon scoring one of my first “paying” blogging gigs. It was a very competitive position and I was highly flattered when the job offer was finally extended after a rigorous screening process. When hired, I loved the opportunity to connect with people all over the world to exchange ideas and stories. And, the community seemed to have embraced me well.
Fast forward four months later. I had to quit. Apparently, the client thought it was acceptable to send me emails laced with angry profanity whenever he took issue with my work. His behavior was uncomfortable and unacceptable so I had to bail out. I was never confrontational with him. I simply resigned with grace and dignity. No one should have to endure that type of treatment to make a few bucks.
Which brings us to the 4 Types of Clients you’ll want to avoid to Minimize Stress and Maximize Earnings. Today’s lessons will help to shorten your learning curve, increase your client I.Q., and expand your bottom line.
4 TYPES OF CLIENTS TO AVOID AS A FREELANCE WRITER:
THE TYPE: THE PENNY-PITCHER
The penny-pincher is always looking for a bargain, discount, deal, or hook-up. They shop for professional services as if they were at a yard sale. They often have “champagne tastes” on a beer budget. The problem with this type of client is that you will never really earn what you desire and deserve. As a result, you’ll feel cheated and undervalued. The working relationship will likely be short-lived and long-suffering.
THE TYPE: THE PROCRASTINATOR
Projects will move at a snail’s pace due to this client’s lack of urgency and sense of priority. Your emails requesting answers and direction may go unanswered for days or weeks. That means you can’t bring closure to your assignments, which can ultimately delay getting paid.
THE TYPE: THE “DIFFICULT” DIVA
The “difficult” client can come in many forms. Sometimes, they are extremely indecisive, or have unrealistic expectations, or are tough to please, or are in poor form (like the blogging client I mentioned previously). Either way, difficult clients make for very stressful and strained relations. This can sap your creativity, energy, and passion.
THE TYPE: THE NON-PAYER OR SLOW PAYER
You’ve performed the task you were contracted for. The project was completed satisfactorily and before deadline. The client even raved about your work. Yet, your invoice for payment keeps getting “misplaced” or overlooked, or partially paid. It’s 30 days, or 60, or 90 days delinquent. As a result, you spend more time trying to collect funds that are due than you did performing the actual assignment.
To prevent or reduce the likelihood of encountering these types of clients in the future, here are a few screening measures you’ll want to observe:
SAVVY SCREENING AND FREELANCING PRACTICES
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Check “Whispers and Warnings,” conduct Google searches, and peruse the Better Business Bureau to determine if there are any complaints filed about a company or potential client before signing on with them. Better safe than sorry.
2. TRY SHORT-TERM PROJECTS INITIALLY
Don’t enter into long-term contracts or lengthy projects that, if unfulfilled, might cause a breach of contract on your part. Just like corporate jobs have “probationary periods,” clients should, too. Go slow.
3. WHEN POSSIBLE, CONDUCT A BRIEF PHONE CONSULTATION
Sometimes, it’s possible to detect “red flags” and incompatibility based upon a simple 15-minute initial conversation. Does the client express his thoughts well? Is he friendly? Is there a meeting of the minds? These are things to consider.
4. GET EXPECTATIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN WRITING
This makes for a more productive, peaceful, and progressive working relationship.
Remember that, as an independent consultant, you get to “hire” your clients as much as they hire you. Choose wisely for optimal results.
What experiences have you had with clients, and what types do you avoid? Tell us about it in the COMMENTS section below!!
>>>Read More WritersWeekly Feature Articles<<<
- Are You UNDERcharging Your Clients to be “Nice?” Don’t Sell Yourself Short! by Angela Hoy
- Would YOU Write for a Convicted Killer? 5 Types of Clients…and Which Ones to AVOID! by Rich Mintzer, Ghostwriter
- Use Low Paying Sites to Find Higher Paying Clients – Yes, REALLY! by Jane Fazackarley
- How to Deal With Your Clients’ TERRIBLE Ideas By Ryan Leclaire
- Welcoming the Good Clients While Shunning the Bad By One Wiser Businesswoman
JENNIFER BROWN BANKS is a veteran freelance writer, award-winning poet, and serves on the board of directors of a prominent arts organization in the midwest. Her blog (Pen & Prosper) has been recognized as a “Top Blog for Writers” for five consecutive years. When she’s not writing, she enjoys tea, reading, cooking and a good bargain sale.
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I Insist on a one-hour phone consultation before making any decision. I have a number of questions I ask any potential client before letting them off the phone. And above all else, I listen to what that person has to say — from ‘Hello” to “goodbye” – this can tell you a lot about the person’s personality.
So, my negative (prospective) client experience is as follows:
One example of ‘to be avoided’ — a client knew they had a phone conference scheduled. So, naturally, they don’t answer your call. They tell you (in an email) they were ‘tied up’ and ask you to call back – ‘sometime later’.
(Are the red-flags flying yet?)
You graciously email them and give them a time that you will call (only once!) to initiate it. They okay this time, then when you do get them on the phone, they want the ‘conference’ to be over in 5-minutes.
Does this tell you to run away very fast?