January 13, 2022
1. They never pay on time
2. They are difficult to work with
3. They don’t value your work
4. They are not paying you enough
5. Their projects are unfulfilling
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If you are working for yourself, having a steady client base is a crucial part of your business. But naturally, not every client is easy to work with, and there will come a time in every freelancer's life when it’s ultimately best to walk away and fire your freelance client.
Now, this can be due to timing discrepancies or other personal reasons, but more often than not, there are clear warning signs that this client is not the right fit for you.
Here are 5 red flags when working with a freelance client.
This is an absolute no-go. As a freelancer, you are reliant on your income and not being paid on time can create many problems for you down the road. After all, rent must be paid and food must be bought. So just as much as you have to take care of your outstanding payments, your clients have to make sure your invoices are paid on time.
Now, we understand that mistakes can be made and especially in between holidays and end of tax year deadlines, there might be some late payments once or twice. However, if you constantly have to send reminders and ask about your money, it might be time to let this client go.
Difficult can mean a lot of different things, but at the end of the day, if you continuously run into problems when speaking with your client, there is something wrong in your relationship. Whether it’s incomplete briefings, long e-mail response times, or too demanding deadlines, the extra effort it takes you to collaborate with this client might literally not be worth your time.
While this doesn’t always mean you have to quit working with them entirely, you should always address these issues early on and make sure your conditions of working for them are met as well. And if they are not willing to listen or adapt - leave and never look back.
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Everyone wants to be valued for the work they are doing, and giving constructive feedback on work should not be limited to employees. However, there is an odd discrepancy between the fact that freelancers often build the foundation of a business’ success by providing high-quality and quick services, but somehow, they are merely seen as an external worker who can be used for unwanted and complicated tasks.
How much you feel your work is valued ultimately is subjective, however, if this feeling persists even after it has been addressed, you should seriously consider the impact this can have on your mental well-being and overall motivation.
Many freelancers start off by accepting projects that barely pay enough to keep them afloat. And while we understand that you have to work and earn at least some money, you should never sell yourself short. Also, it is totally acceptable to ask for a raise if you have been with a client for a longer period of time and have delivered great results for them.
Think about it in this way: If you would have been an employee during this time, you would probably be asking your supervisor for a raise or a promotion, too. Just because you are not a full-time employee with your client, doesn’t mean you haven’t gained experience in your time as a freelancer and have increased your value for them.
Finally, another huge red flag is if you are dreading to work on their projects. There will always be aspects of your work you don’t like or tasks you like more than others, however, if you have to force yourself to work on something you really don’t want to do, it is probably time to walk away.
This can be due to your own personal development: You might have been cool to perform certain tasks at the beginning of your career, but a few years down the line, you are looking for a new challenge or want to increase your impact and responsibilities. Or your client has shifted their strategy and therefore engage you in a new project you just don’t see yourself working on.
Whatever the case may be, just because you are a freelancer does not mean you have to put up with everything that is thrown your way. You are entitled to say no and if you are not being heard, you can always fire your freelance client.
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