José Vidal
Dec 5, 2018 · 4 min read
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

If you are starting as a Freelancer, the chances are that you want to take ANY job that comes to you. And honestly, I don’t blame you, as getting customers is an incredibly difficult task as we saw in my previous article: 5 Tricks I Discovered to Get Clients as a Freelancer.

Unfortunately, some jobs are just not worth your time. Not only that, they can even harm your reputation and as a result, could potentially affect your future earnings. I’m not referring to jobs that are poorly paid, but situations where the client doesn’t value your work enough to treat you as you deserve. Let me elaborate by giving you some examples I encountered as a Freelancer:

The client is asking you to do something that is not what you are offering

There’re no two jobs that are equal, but sometimes you will encounter a client that will ask you to do something completely different than what you are proposing in your ad. The worst part is when you try to clarify that this is not something that you do, and the client tells you condescendingly: “why? Other freelancers do it”

This is a red flag for many reasons. The most common of which: the client is probably thinking that the service you are providing is trivial. If you can do what is announced why not doing what he has in mind as well.

It’s like asking a plumber to paint your kitchen just because both things happen in the same room. My advice, in this case, would be to politely decline the opportunity, as he will most likely ask for additional tasks as it’s “only 5 minutes more”.

The client is heavily complaining about other Freelancers (more than one)

This is another major red flag. Ok, there’re chances that he might have been the unluckiest client of all time, but I tend to believe that most Freelancers are professionals and do their job the best they can.

In my experience, this type of client is tough to satisfy. It doesn’t matter whether you do a perfect job, he will probably find something that is missing. He is also the kind of client that will be pinging you at 8:00 am asking for updates and will get angry if you don’t answer within 5 minutes.

Stay away from such clients. There’s a reason why they speak so poorly about all previous Freelancers they had. You don’t want to be associated with a person who can damage your reputation that easily.

The client is taking several days to answer to each request

This one is trickier. We all go through hard times where we are not 100% available. I completely get it.

However, there’re times where the client takes several days to answer to each request, AND at the same time gets anxious for the lack of progress. This type of client thinks that you can read his mind and figure out what he wants without any input from his side.

For this type of customers, I would try first to set their expectations straight, by saying that you require fluid communications to do your thing and that if this is lacking, the deadline will have to be postponed. If the client rejects this, the best you can do is to decline the opportunity and move on.


Ok, but what to do if I’m currently working with a difficult client

Damage control. Try to close the contract as soon as you can. Give your best to make the client as happy as possible, and ideally, forget about your pride and give him a BONUS (e.g., eBOOK) at the end of the process to try to prevent a bad review. After all, reviews are incredibly important to your future success (Social Proof).


What about you? Did you have as a Freelancer/Business owner any bad experience worth mentioning? :) Please let me know in the comments section!

Have a nice day!

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José Vidal

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Software Developer | Django & React | Check out my website for more: https://josevidal.me!

The Startup

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