How Should a Freelance Writer Deal with Bad Clients?

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If you’ve been a freelance writer for a while you know that not all clients are created equally. Most of them are great, but a few…not so much. So if you are currently a freelance writer or plan to be one you might be wondering how should a freelance writer deal with bad clients. Here are a few tips to help you out.

how should a freelance writer deal with a bad client

How Should a Freelance Writer Deal with Bad Clients?

There is a quick and easy answer to this issue. If you have a freelance writing client that is causing you issues then you should fire them.

Chances are, this person or company is taking up a lot of your time. They are causing you stress and worry.

No one needs to deal with that especially since there are literally millions of potential clients out there just waiting for you.

I know that you might be worried about the revenue loss and I get that.

But chances are, you can make it up very quickly providing your writing service to someone else that will appreciate your writing skill. 

I mean, correct me if I am wrong, but one of the main reasons you decided to work for yourself is to avoid a lot of the hassles that come with having a boss and even co-workers, so why put up with it in a client?

So, the question really becomes, how do you get rid of this difficult freelance writing client, and what you should do before you kick them to the curb.

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Steps to Take Before Getting Rid of a Client

First off, determine how big of a hit this will be income-wise.

If this is a small client that provides you with work from time to time, then this isn’t a big issue.

If, on the other hand, it is a client that gives you work each month and you rely on that income to pay your expenses, then you will have to secure new clients before you let this one go.

This shouldn’t be all that difficult because if there is one rule to live by in the freelancing world, it is this:

Always be marketing.

Let me repeat that for those in the back that didn’t hear…

Always be marketing.

If you are always marketing then you always have new clients coming down the pipeline, and this one difficult client won’t be missed.

If you haven’t been marketing, then start doing so now.

Call businesses and ask if they use freelance writers. If they do, you have a really good chance of getting a new client.

Do this every day and you will never go without work.

Once you have a client or clients coming onboard that will cover any financial loss you might be facing by removing the difficult client it is time to act.

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How to Fire a Client

There are a couple of ways to fire a client. The first one is to be direct and simply tell them you will no longer be able to provide content for them.

You don’t owe them any explanation. 

You are a business owner, not an employee.

Just tell them that after you finish their last assignment you will no longer be able to provide them with content.

If they ask why you can tell them that you’re taking your business in a new direction, or you are having to cut back on clients, or any other ideas you can come up with.

Or you can tell them nothing.

It is up to you.

If this is a little too direct for you and a little scary, I get it.

No one likes conflict and most people try to avoid it as much as possible. I’m the same way.

So, you can go about this another way, that will make your customer think it isn’t about them at all.

You can tell this terrible client that you wanted to give them a head’s up but you are raising your rates.

Whatever you are currently charging them, double or triple it or more.

There is a really good chance they will tell you that they can’t pay your new rate.

Then you can tell them, you understand that and wish them the best.

Then the two of you can go your separate ways.

No conflict or drama.

Once you do, you will feel a sense of peace you can’t even imagine right now.

Or, you can come up with some other excuse.

The choice is yours and you have a right to work with the types of clients that make your professional writing career easier and less stressful.

You might also enjoy:

Should Freelance Writers Stick to a Specific Niche?

Should I Start a Blog as a Freelance Writer?

Is Freelance Writing an Oversaturated Profession?

Is it Necessary to do a Course for Pursuing a Career in Freelance Writing

What are The Most Common Mistakes Freelance Writers Make When Starting Out

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How To Spot a Bad Client Before You Take Them On

The best way to get rid of a bad client is to never have them as a client in the first place.

I get it. When you’re starting out, especially, it can be really difficult to turn down business. You’re just thrilled at the idea of having a client and making some money.

That’s only natural.

Even so, in time you will realize taking on this client was a mistake and their drama is costing you more than you’re making.

So, how do you spot a bad client? Watch for any of these red flags:

  • They are only concerned about your rates
  • They don’t communicate well
  • They don’t value what you bring to them and their company
  • They see your writing in terms of cost instead of an investment
  • They think they know more about writing than you do
  • They think you should be available after work hours
  • They are a micromanager

The bottom line is this. If your client doesn’t see the value you bring to their business then they won’t be a good client.

If you have to spend your time justifying your rates and convincing them that you are worth what you charge run for the hills as quickly as possible.

Only work with people that already understand that your time and skills are valuable.

You’ll be glad you did.

If you’d rather not work with clients at all then you should check out how you can make a really good living with no clients here.

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To Sum it All Up:

Try to avoid bad clients in the first place, but if you get stuck with one, fire them as soon as possible. Don’t let a client ruin your day or make you wish you’d never started freelancing in the first place. Remember, you are the boss, and you get to decide who you work with and who you kick to the curb.


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