How to handle “tricky” clients for freelancers

Before we begin handling difficult clients we should first focus on why all clients are important. We have all heard it many times before but let’s repeat it; without clients, there’s no work, so, yes, all clients are important.

We can sometimes forget that our clients are humans too. They each have their distinct experiences, backgrounds, biases and motivations that affect the way they communicate and perceive things. As a freelancer, you will be investing a lot of energy and time on building relationships. It requires more work in the beginning, and can be hard until you begin speaking the same language as your clients. 

So, what do we do if we value a relationship? We exert more effort to make it work. 

But what if it is the client who doesn’t put in the effort? Well, clients don’t owe you anything. Just  because you are getting paid for your service does not mean that they can take advantage.  What if they are being too much? Would you leave? No. 

In this article, you might find some simple tips to help to protect yourself from tricky clients without losing the relationship.

Ask for clarification and concise guidelines 

  • This is where you begin to understand the importance of contracts.  Job descriptions are too vague and nonspecific. Contracts on the other hand will help you understand the entirety of the tasks at hand. This will help you avoid working free for services that aren’t in your scope of work because sometimes, clients are being too demanding. Such a 

scenario often comes in disguise as “We talked about it, why isn’t item X included?” 

Be clear what you offer

  • Some clients get more for less. It might start with a “Can you just do this please?” and could then lead to you doing several more hours work than you are paid for. So, just like your clients, you need to provide a clear description about what you offer for what price. That includes and is not limited to the number of edits after the work is done, the length of articles and images.

Be clear how long something takes

  • Some clients think that work takes less time than it does. It might take THEM less time, but it takes you more time, because you are less experienced or less aware of exactly what they want. 

Be clear about the whole task 

  • Knowing your part in the bigger picture helps to structure your work, helps you to prioritise tasks and helps you to become a better team player.

Be clear about your place

  • You are a freelance worker, you are replaceable very quickly. You might not like to think that, or hear that, but it is true. Know what annoys the boss, know what pleases the boss, and be sure to do your work on time, on budget and in line with expectations.

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