Bad clients are the ones who take advantage of you. Bad clients waste your time and obviously don’t pay what you deserve. Don’t get cheated on your writing contracts. Get to know more early warning signs now.
Being a freelancer gives you the liberty to choose your projects. It is an investment of your time and efforts. That is why it is very important to know which clients could be right for you and the ones you need to stay away from.
To start a freelance writing career, the first step is to calculate your freelance writing rates per hour/per word. This is a very important exercise to do before you send out proposals to clients. And so, it makes sense to choose the right clients to send the proposals to.
Unfortunately, I was cheated a few times. I have now learned to keep my guard up against bad clients. Ah! this is the story of my life too – some people learn by observation, I experience things before I learn the lessons. I am wiser as I get older, but it was something else that has protected me and helped me change to become a Brand New Liz. I am glad for all those negative experiences in the past. Read on to save yourself from some heartache, time and money.
Don’t send Proposals to these Bad Clients
A typical freelance writing website needs you to bid on projects to work on. Of course, it is really up to you where you want to bid. Whether it is a $15 an hour project or 15 cents worth of an article.
As soon as you see one or a combination of these early warning signs of bad clients make sure you avoid them.
If you have calculated your minimum freelance writing rate, then bidding for projects that pay lesser than your minimum amount is simply not worth it. There are many clients who have special offers for newbies – they can offer a good feedback for lesser fees on the work. It is really up to you to go for it, but trust me, eventually this will be very demotivating for you.
Multiple People being Interviewed
Maybe the client hasn’t found the kind of candidate fit for the job. But chances are, the client is asking for samples from interviewees. Thus dividing the total work (for free!). I personally would not bid for a project that is asking for samples or has more than 25 applicants already. This is an obvious early warning sign of bad clients.
This is a very tricky area. Of course, if you have the time and if the client hasn’t specified a free write-up on a given topic, you can always go ahead and do part of the job to make a good first impression. And it works too! I would not recommend you work for free, otherwise.
Only low-bids welcomed
This is a sure shot way to get the job done for peanuts. This client is only taking advantage you. If you are ok with the low fee and would not lose motivation later, then go for it.
Asking ID proof
You are not entitled to give your bank account, social security number or passwords to any client. Please do not share your personal information, it will only be used for naughty purposes.
Payment made Outside
If the client proposes to pay outside the content writing portals, perhaps the PayPal way or a direct bank transfer, then steer clear of them. Unless you have already established a relationship based on mutual trust, do not fall for this. Even if you must agree, then agree to an advance payment before you submit your work. Once the payment is made, be diligent and sincere to submit the work on time.
Submit Work Before Pay
This one is the worst; clients may ask you to send your work via Skype or email. Do not do it unless you have the advance payment or a part payment.
Starting work without a contract
Typically the clients on Upwork will “hire” you and then you start your project. If a client asks you to “go ahead and start working on it, I’ll have the contract done in a couple of days”
Not only will you waste your time, but you will also end up being cheated in case you submit the work without the contract in place.
Promises of Future Work
I worked with this client who continuously give me big batches of writing to be done. These at very low prices too. Stating, “we are giving you so much work, the pay has to be discounted.” These clients obviously do not care for you, they just want their work to be done. Done at low prices too. Don’t fall for their “I will give you more future work”.
Gives you a Bad feeling
Listen to your intuition. If you have a gut feeling about a client and it’s not a good feeling then definitely avoid these bad clients. Even all the projects associated with them. This is perhaps the most important early warning sign of bad clients.
Here is a great article by Erika that gives you 9 Signs That You Should Pass on Potential Work. She talks about the polite ways to reject the project as well. Be sure to check it out.
Hope you find these insights encouraging. Let me know if there are any other warning signs that you have experienced in your writing career. Comment here and I’ll be sure to add it in here.
All the best!