6 Personal Boundaries Every Freelancer Must Set to Avoid Getting Screwed
My client stole $1,800 worth of work because of my mistakes.
Earlier this year, I built a website that I was never paid for. After delivering the site to my client, she changed the backend passwords, blocked me from her socials, and stopped responding to my emails. The $1,800 worth of time I worked on this project was nothing compared to the number of hours I spent stressing, writing emails, speaking to lawyers, researching small claims court, and admittedly crying over my naivety.
If you’ve ever been duped by a client, you know how big of a hit it can be on your entrepreneurial ego. It’s easy to feel deceived and resent the person who took advantage of you and your services. But anger won’t get you paid.
It took six months to realize that I could only blame myself. I now consider this a major learning experience. After all, it helped me develop these five non-negotiable, personal boundaries that I set with every new client.
I’ll never be scammed again and, if you follow these tips, you won’t either.
Don’t ignore red flags. Turning down bad clients gives you the availability to work with reliable ones.
I’m ashamed to admit that I saw multiple red flags during our very first strategy call, but I needed the work and was eager to get back into the health and wellness industry. This client was a yoga instructor, forced to offer virtual classes due to the pandemic. She found my profile online and invited me to interview for her open role as an email marketing specialist.
On our initial call, she spent a concerning length of time badmouthing her former freelancer, explaining how she quit unexpectedly. In hindsight, I suspect she quit because she wasn’t being paid on time, or at all.
This client also mentioned that she would be paying me through the unemployment she was collecting. I appreciated her honesty and empathized with her situation. We negotiated a bi-weekly partial payment plan of $300.