Being your boss is a whole lot easier these days. If you have a particular skill or talent, then you can easily monetize it to earn money. Being a freelancer allows you to roll in the hefty amount of money from the comfort of your home. Today, freelancers are a parallel workforce that earns as much money as full-time workers earn from a desk job.
Also, a career in freelancing allows you to spend your free time in making money without being answerable to anyone. You can make a career in freelancing even when you are working as a full-time professional. After all, who minds cashing in some extra money? There are also full-time freelancers who have been fortunate enough to make it a successful career.
Just like any other industry, the first step to a successful freelancing business is customer retention. However, it is a little tricky to grab clients as a freelancer than a conventional business.
Unlike a brick-and-mortar facility, your freelancing business has virtual contact points which keep the clients clueless about the real you. So they tend to think twice before making a deal with you.
Even when you have some clients in your pocket, the next step is to keep them satisfied with your services. All this requires a good understanding of your market and the types of clients you are going to deal with. But it is the problematic clients who consume most of your time when you begin as a freelancer.
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What defines a Problematic Client?
It is normal to find some problematic clients when you start out. However, you must remember that time is the biggest hurdle in pulling through the freelancing work and dealing with the bad customers is one way you waste this precious resource.
A bad client is someone who is oblivious of his industry or lacks the proper details of a project, and the worse he is someone who hesitates to pay the money after completion of his work.
Dealing with bad clients calls for some instinct and intelligence. But above all, it requires some experience. Based on experiences of the people, we present here some common types of bad clients and how you can tackle them. Here they are:
1. Never Happy
Some customers are just never happy no matter how hard you try. They will always ask for revisions or redesigns which show a lack of respect for your time and effort.
If a client is repetitively requesting you to redo your work even when you are confident that it’s up to par, it is time to part ways with him. Don’t get influenced by the thought of losing some dollars as you will lose more money in the form of wasted time.
Check out the human factor. You need to make sure if the client is treating you like a machine or a slave? Freelancing is not an easy job and, therefore, the clients should honor your time as much as they do a person who performs a 9 to 5 job.
If you find yourself forced to haggle with a client for a nominal amount or to perform tasks not mentioned in the contract, you probably have one of these clients.
However, if they don’t pay heed to your reasons and don’t stop blaming you, you should try to complete their projects as quickly as possible and politely bow out. Make sure you get paid before you leave, though.
2. The Mr. Perfectionists
This type of client tends to interfere in everything. While it is fine if a customer goes over his work and checks it for correction, it is not fair to ask for changes repetitively.
The majority of perfectionists are prone to arguing over every last thing with the freelancer, whether it is a trivial grammatical error or formatting mistakes that have no bearing on the quality of the work done.
The only way you can tackle perfectionist clients is by complying with their instructions verbatim. Avoid the urge to add your inputs as they will eventually reject them and all your efforts will go in vain.
Nothing can be as irritating as dealing with an ignorant client who is oblivious of his own business. This breed of customers is not aware of the trends of their market and therefore lacks the plan for communicating with a freelancer.
The worst thing about this type of clients is that they tend to argue with you over things that they don’t have any clue and you have no option but to condone their intolerant behavior.
Giving clear instructions or guidelines seems next to impossible to them. Most of the time newbie freelancers would get frustrated to the point of losing their mind.
The majority of the time it is about requests for changes in the last minute. Just when you are about to finish a project, they tell you to have it done the other way round. Seasoned freelancers, however, would chalk it up to experience, provided they even take the job without any details at the very start.
The only way to avoid such clients wasting your time, energy and peace of mind is to make sure you get all the instructions up front. Never start working right away; ask to schedule an appointment, a meeting, or get the details and guidelines in an e-mail. This would require a bit of hands-on experience as the exact details sometimes cannot be fathomed.
The good news is, every bad experience is also a learning experience, so learn from the past and apply it to future clients and projects.
Dealing with an indecisive client is one of the worst experiences you could have as a freelancer. Such clients tend to keep changing their mind about the outlook of their project. Taking projects in different directions is their favorite hobby. You will be spending time, energy, and skill on drafts and proposal that will be of no use at the end of the day.
Again the only way to deal with such clients is to get the details, instructions and plans right at the beginning before you start your work. If it is not possible, you need to see if you can demand compensation for your drafts, which is only fair. Stand up your rights within certain limits.
5. A Group of Clients Who Never Agree
Your client doesn’t have to be a single person and there could be companies who would dictate you a job. If they are professional, they will delegate you the work after approval of the head honcho of the project. Such groups can be a delight to work with, as they are experienced and almost always available for any questions you may have.
On the other hand, if they tend to have frequent arguments regarding the projects, then the project is most likely aborted in the middle. There is also a possibility that they ask you for revisions again and again.
Amidst such a situation, you need to politely apologize to the client to continue with the project and back off with your payment.
There are some laid-back people who are not likely to call you back or reply a text message. Remember, in today’s world of advanced technology; there should be no excuse to stay incommunicado unless you are away for a vacation or stranded on a desert island.
For such clients, you need to send a few e-mails to confirm details as a test at the beginning of your project and see how long they take to reply. If it’s more than a week, you should either prepare yourself for long delays in getting your answers or figure out how to slide away from him.
Then there are clients who want to evaluate your professional expertise by asking your professional credentials. They will not even bother giving you a job at much lower rate.
There is nothing wrong when a client wants to know the professional background of a freelancer, but be sure to recognize the red flags. The biggest of them is again the time wastage.
You may be forced to go through endless proposals, consultations and price negotiations, and yet the job doesn’t materialize for a long time.
Whether your instinct kicks in early or late, avoiding this type of client is always the safest bet. Cut your losses, and move on. Time is money, and such clients don’t worth it.
Dealing with difficult clients can be tricky, especially if you are a newbie in the freelancing business. However, your skills are valuable and to give them away cheaply or for free will only lessen your value in the market, not to mention making you broke and unsatisfied.
However, losing your temper and resorting to rudeness would not do any good either and it will only make you feel lousy at the end of the day. To avoid such clients, you need to lay out everything lucidly in the contract, such as the deadline, rates, and revision policy. This will ensure your legal protection in the contract if there is a conflict of interest.
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Author Bio: Anna Mash is a Freelance Graphic Designer who earns a living from lending her graphic design skills. With blogging, she aims to educate the freelancer community and guide them the ins and outs of freelancing by Assignment Help Deal organization. Her interests include sports, reading, and blogging. You can connect with her on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.