So you decided to start working in your pajamas? What a good decision you made! You won’t have to go through those ridiculous morning routines of getting ready for work. You’ll just wake up, juice some fresh fruits and veggies, and start your work. You don’t even have to get dressed.
Before this dream comes true, there’s one important thing to do: find your first client. This is something you must be really careful with.
You’re so excited at the beginning. You set a high price per hour and you start bidding for the huge projects. Since you have zero experience, however, most clients just ignore you. Then, you decide to bid lower. You get to a point when you’re ready to take any job, just to try this freelancing thing.
Hold it right there! If you take any job and you face a bad client, that experience will affect the future development of your career as a freelancer. That’s why you want to stay away from these five types of clients, no matter how desperate you are to get a gig:
- The Anxious One
“Are you there?”
Five minutes later: “Are you there?”
Five minutes later: “I need urgent updates, are you available right now?”
Five minutes later: “It seems I’m not getting your messages.”
Five minutes later, you’re getting a call. It wouldn’t be that bad if this scenario didn’t occur in the middle of the night.
The anxious client will always expect you to ditch them. They won’t hope you’ll get things done on time. They are so afraid that you’ll disappear that they constantly bug you with messages. The worst thing: if you dare not to answer within an hour, they will head off looking for another freelancer.
It’s best to stay away from this type. Who needs that much stress in their life?
- The “Just One More Question” Dude
So you’re trying to make everything clear for this potential client. You go through every detail, and this guy still doesn’t close the deal.
“So are you sure you’ll only work at a rate of $25?”
“Are you sure you can handle these topics? Really, are you absolutely sure?”
“Will you really complete the project by next week?”
When you think you’ve answered all possible questions, this client comes up with few others.
If you’re willing to make all these explanations, go for it. However, you’re really wasting your time. This client will also question your work. Take this from my experience: they will ask for endless revisions and the requirements will never stop.
- The “I Don’t Know What I’m Saying” Guy
Oh. My. God!
This guy just can’t clarify what he wants. He gives instructions like “Write me a post that will work for my target audience. Write me something I will like.”
You can already tell he has high expectations, but he doesn’t know how to convey them through clear instructions. He leaves you with vague guidelines that mean nothing to you.
You may do impressive work for this client. Guess what: they won’t like it. You never know what they expect, and you can rest assured they are not expecting what you intend to deliver.
If a potential client gives you vague instructions, ask for details. If you notice that they don’t really know what they want, get away.
- The Discount Dude
Let’s say you’ve set your hourly rate at $25. The Discount Dude will do their best to negotiate it down. “Are you willing to start with $10 per hour and see how it goes? I’ll be ready to increase the hourly rate if I like your work.”
You start thinking: “Hey, I lose nothing. I’ll start with $10 and I’ll progress up. Of course, this guy will like my work.”
No! What you should be thinking is “No, dude! I set my rate to $25 for a reason. I don’t appreciate you trying to decrease my value.”
If this client pays $10 for your great work, they won’t be willing to give you more for the same work. They might increase the rate to $12 because they will try to keep you, but don’t expect them to reach your full price. Sooner or later, you’ll want to get rid of this client and you’ll be wondering how to do that.
Once you do get rid of this client, the low hourly rate will look bad on your resume. Most freelancing platforms show how much you worked for. It will be hard to get a better-paid job in future. Ditch this guy! You don’t need cheap people in your life.
- The “I’ll Pay for This Next Week” Freak
This guy will do everything in their power to get you through a project as quickly as possible. They will set really close deadlines and they will want to make sure you’ll do the work on time. When you’re trying to negotiate the payment, however, you get the response: “Don’t worry; I’ll pay for it next week.”
So this is a person who wants to get everything quickly, but doesn’t respect your deadlines. When next week comes, they will continue making excuses. My first client was of this type. It’s been three years since then. He still didn’t pay. I keep sending messages, just to remind him I haven’t forgotten about the payment. What can I say? I have a weird sense of humor. Guess what: he still has the guts to lie that he is planning to pay.
If you notice any signs of this type in a potential client, go away! Go far, far, far away!
Look, freelancing is great! You’ll find the good clients. You just have to be careful at the start. If you notice that your first potential client falls in any of the five categories I listed above, continue searching for the one who deserves your work. Good luck!