Have you had a client from hell? Whether it is content writing, IT development or social media consulting, you are bound to run into one at some point.
Maybe you miss the warnings signs or your good freelance clients turned bad along the way. Here are great tips from freelance experts on how to deal with them.
I asked my (first ever) freelance writing client, Vanaye Hamilton, on how she would deal with a client from hell. She shared these golden nuggets of advice, and you know what? Whether you are a newbie freelance content writer or seasoned, these tips work well for all freelancers.
Vanaye says, “The client is always right. I live and die by that and it’s the basic principle of what it takes to run a business (freelancer or not).” This superstar content strategist gives me intelligent tips to avoid turning a client into the devil. I want to share them with you too! Here they are –
Copywriter and Content Strategist Vanaye believes all freelancers need to be Patient. “You must be patient in everything as a wife, mom, and freelancer. True patience is only gained through prayer. ;-)” So, you can’t just get into the market and demand high prices for mediocre work. “Additionally, you must build your skill and that comes with time.” Patience is key, my dear freelancer.
Build Your skills
Vanaye believes, “Not all your freelance clients will be happy – but that’s just a part of it.” So that’s why it’s important to build your skills. Then if a client comes back with feedback to improve your work, look at it as a learning, not as criticism. Thinking of it as criticism will close your mind. If you refuse to take constructive criticism, you’ll create a bubble and sit inside it. This will harm you in the long run (or get you fired!)
Offer samples to perfect tone
“Before taking on any copy I do free or low-cost samples to make sure it’s a fit or provide a portfolio to something I’ve done that is similar. (I never spend over 20 mins on a sample. If I take longer I pass on the job.)” says, Vanaye.
[Tweet “The freelance client is always right, accept this to avoid heartache later.”]
Don’t just rely on the content brief alone
“I always aim to speak with freelance clients beyond email. A copy is personal and represents the brand. Hearing my clients simplifies writing for them. During this call, I can gauge personality and other undertones we writers look for. By asking zillion questions during initial consultations I save myself a lot of time.” says, Vanaye and I agree!
Ask for benchmark sites
This one helps you in many ways than you can imagine! Vanaye says, “Asking for samples of websites they like or blogs and influencers they follow also gives me great insights. These insights shed light on which tones and messaging they prefer. I match and personalize these tones accordingly.”
Provide a scope of work
Freelance clients from hell will find fault in everything and not give you feedback. Vanaye says, “In my experience, if the client is tough it is my fault. I’ve failed to explain exactly what I’ll be doing and what they can expect. Providing a “scope of work” and detailed invoices saves times and frustration for me.”
The scope of work is essential to deal with freelance clients from hell. Copywriter and marketer, Jen McGahan’s client from hell stories tell you the same.
Cringeworthy Freelance Clients From Hell
“This client from hell got me so hurt it broke my heart. One of my practices as a freelancer is to create a file for each client. It has everything about the project. Recently when I was decluttering my work area, I saw those two files again. Those belonged to the clients from hell I dealt with. It still breaks my heart to even look at the files, bringing all those dark memories flooding back.” says, Jen.
This client offered a big job, it had big money! I needed the money and I guess I got greedy, so I ignored the red flag when he said: “we can work through this”. We agreed verbally, never signed a contract or anything. So this project had no boundaries since it was open from the start. One month into it, this client proclaimed he wasn’t happy with my work and he didn’t pay. I never expected this coming from a nice guy who spoke so pleasantly and had shared all his personal info.
This was a short job, copy work. The client was referred by a friend of a friend. We agreed on the price which he paid quickly. Later on a call, he mentioned in passing he needed graphics so I wanted to help. Suddenly the whole job became about the graphics. This was not even the work I was hired to do in the first place! I am originally a copywriter, all I was doing was just messing around with the images and the layouts, etc. At the end of it, this client was unhappy. I refunded the money – even the pay I got for the copy work I did earlier. I wanted him out of my life. But sadly, he showed my graphic work to some common friends and complained about my work. This not only was embarrassing but it also demoralized me too.
It was painful for Jen to narrate these horror stories. It made her sad, but she hopes you will also learn from her experience.
Here’s an inforgraphic to tie all the lessons together. Hope you like it. Pin it on your Pinterest or paste it on your vision board 🙂 Hope it helps you avoid clients from hell. All the best!
If you are a new freelancer, then it’s even more important to know the early warning signs to avoid dealing with rude and cunning clients. Do you have a client from hell story? How did you handle it? Share with us!