• Advice

How to Grow Your Freelance Career—by Getting Rid of Your Clients

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

Rookies to the world of freelance may think otherwise, but growing your business by simply adding more and more clients is not the way to go.

At first it may seem like a great idea. But eventually, you’ll realize that signing up for energy-draining and money-pinching contracts is merely a waste of time.

It’s not really the contract that is to blame. Let’s face it: The client is the money pincher, soul-crusher, and ego-buster.

I know what it feels like being a hungry freelance blogger. You’re willing to accept almost any and every offer you receive.

In such a competitive field with an ever-growing number of workers, who would be willing to offer you work for a more than decent pay, right?

Wrong. What’s missing in the numbers is the ever-increasing number of clients in the field as well.

According to Benrmatthews, freelance consultant and digital expert, “Twice as many freelancers have seen an increase in demand in the past year as have seen a decrease – 32% experienced an increase versus 15% who have seen a decrease”

In other words, the playing field is wide and we freelancers have options: yes or no.

Embrace the “No”:

You might be taking extra work because you want more money, but let’s face it… if you take more workload than you can manage, you will not be able to do it well.

It is necessary to have realistic expectations when you are accepting work. Remember, you’ve got enough on your plate already with your day job, housework, bills and other such obligations.

Trying to do too much will deteriorate the quality of work you have to offer.

It’s not always a matter of how much you can or can’t manage: Sometimes, the client, the work, or the amount they are willing to pay is simply not worth your time and efforts.

Again, you need to clarify your expectations before you say yes to such an assignment.

There’s is nothing wrong with saying “no” to your clients.

But one problem remains. How do you know whether the next assignment is a dud or a do?

Some signs you’re signing up for a dud contract:

It becomes hard to differentiate between what you should or shouldn’t pursue when you’re new.

However with experience—and some instinct—you’re bound to figure it out.

Here are a few signs that you’re dealing with career-draining client.

1. The client doesn’t respect you or your work

The relationship should be unlike the traditional one-way relationship you may have seen in rigid office-based environment.

Since freelancing offers far more flexibility and freedom to “choose” who you work for, there’s no reason for you to view your client as a dreadful boss you fear, but can’t get rid of (or else he’ll get rid of you).

What is even more important is that your client should respect and appreciate the work you offer – otherwise there is no reason to go on with the relationship.

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2. The work just isn’t you

The work you signed up for may be a fairly decent job, but it could be something you’re just not cut out to do.

For example, as a marketer and a creative, I can’t imagine what it would be like to sign up for a job that required “bookkeeping.”

Accounts is certainly not my favorite field and if I were ever given the task to keep accounts, my boredom from doing such a job would reach unbearable levels by the end of the day 2.

When money becomes the main motivator, we tend to take on gigs that just aren’t quite right for us – but it’s a trap!

Remember, you want to fill your portfolio with work that is on your list of “interests” or “experience”, not work you signed up for just to earn money.

3. You’re not being paid enough

If you’re a freelancer, remember this motto: never sell yourself short!

It’s easy to undervalue your work and accept the “lowest possible rate” when you’re bidding, but that only negatively impacts your work, reputation, quality of life, and career.

Know what you’re worth and stick to it!

How to Weed ‘Em Out:

So, how do we weed out those suckers without offending their “highness”?

It’s much simpler than you may think.

Sometimes, we’re stuck with long-term clients and long-term contracts to which we have already agreed.

In such cases it’s better to tactfully do away with the client. One way is to raise your prices owing to “market changes” and to such an amount that forces them to search for services elsewhere.

You may also cut down a service or two and tell them how the terms of agreement have to change (if possible).

Another way is to inform them of “other commitments” that prevent you from working for other clients (legally)—and of course, this doesn’t have to be true.

On a final note, try to be as professional and ethical as possible when you eliminate your clients.

Give notice of your decision well before you actually so that they have enough time to make alternative arrangements.

They may be tyrannical soul-suckers, but with your reputation on the line, it’s best to be humane.

Edward Warner is a professional freelance copywriter and blogger. He provides essay writing service in UK. He writes ad copy for many local ads in UK.