As freelancers and independents, the relationships with our clients is the gateway to success. Working closely together often creates strong bonds that outlast a certain project, and may even develop into friendship. But if you ask a group of freelancers in confidence if they’ve ever had a problematic client, almost all of them will have a horror story to share. You can’t predict how working with certain people will turn out, but you can learn how to better choose your clients to avoid the difficult ones. Over time this will become easier, but if you’re just starting out or you feel like you’ve been faced with one difficult client after another, take a look at these tips to help you choose the right clients for your biz.
Know what you want.
Before you commit to a client, make sure you know exactly what kind of projects you are looking for. If you can clearly state the type of project you wish to work on, you’ll find clients who are looking precisely for your services. Having clarity on what exactly you want to work on will help you stay clear from those enjoyable projects that ultimately lead to frustration for both parties. It’ll simply make finding a match that much easier! Be as clear as possible with your realistic business intentions, and make sure to communicate them to your potential client.
Ask the right questions.
What is your client looking for? What problems led this potential client to begin their freelancer search? What is the timeline? Are you sure you will be able to complete this project? Do you have the tools necessary?
The more communicative both sides of the party are, the more likely you will be able to see if it’s a right fit. The project a client explains may sound like an absolute dread to you or it may be extremely exciting. Taking time to understand your client’s goal will be worthwhile and can save you a lot of time in the future. Before moving forward, make sure you will be able to add value to your client’s project. Read here for more insight on asking your clients the right questions.
Establish detailed expectations.
Between deadlines, budgets, and techniques, there is a lot to go over with potential clients. Create a contract with your client to make sure these details are in writing. Feel free to use our contract template for freelancers, and watch our free webinar for more insight into what it all means. Having a contract will hold both parties accountable and ensure a fair business deal. Setting descriptive expectations is key to keeping a thriving business relationship.
This idea will be the most helpful when establishing your business and choosing your clients. As your solopreneurship continues to grow, your cash flow will increase. But don’t bite off more than you can chew. Saying yes to every offer is a recipe for burnout, not to mention dissatisfied clients. Although it may feel counterintuitive to turn down opportunities, saying no allows you to focus your time and skills on your existing clients and provide the best work you possibly can.
If saying ‘no’ is still a learning process, use these ideas to learn how to confidently decline a potential client.
Trust your instincts.
This may come as a surprise to you, but so many people talk themselves into working with a client that they initially had a bad feeling about. You have these feelings for a reason. Don’t disregard them.
All in all, it’s hard to fake enthusiasm when working with problematic clients. But you don’t have to. Seek out clients who have projects that excite you. Sometimes we forget this, but us freelancers get to pick and choose our clients and our projects. This is one of the best parts of being an independent hustler. Don’t take on projects that feel forced, especially if it doesn’t feel right from square one. To avoid those troublesome and demanding clients, be transparent with your expectations and say no when necessary. You might feel guilty for having to turn down a client. Just remember that your business(ses) will be more successful if you filter out clients that hold you back.