If you have experience working with clients of many different types, you will understand that it’s easier to work with some of your clients, while it’s much harder to work with others. When it comes to working with clients, there are always unique needs, styles, and personalities that need to be addressed. You may have found that, when working with clients who have different needs or styles, you tend to spend much more time working through those issues, which costs you money in the end. And in a home-based business, it’s likely that time is your most valuable asset. Although you may have tons of clients wanting to hire you, are you willing to spend your most valuable asset trying to appease those clients who don’t work best with you?
Who Is Considered A Bad Client?
First off, no client should ever be considered “bad” – period. However, I am a firm believer that each of us has clients that don’t fit with our personalities, nor do they have the same working style and approach to their projects. In my opinion, these are what I call “bad clients” – they simply don’t jive with our personality. So a client that works well with me may not work well with you at all. But more importantly, a client that works well with me is going to pay me for the true value that I provide, and they will continue to return on future projects because getting work done takes less effort compared to my competition.
A “bad client” is one that costs you the most time in managing the unproductive pieces of your working relationship. For example, if you’re working on a website project and you prefer to tryout ideas on the site and make changes later, then working with a client who prefers to make several decisions before implementing design won’t be the best client for you. You may feel like they hurt your creativity and put a damper on the flow of the project. For me, working with clients who don’t allow me to throw ideas at a project will likely experience less than my best performance, although they will always get 100% effort from me. Most likely, this will be true for you as well when a client’s strategy is different from yours.
It is important to note that you are getting paid to complete the work you agreed to complete for your clients. Working with them on their own strategy happens all the time. The point is that, in cases where you are not fully expressing your style of work, the work can be less than fulfilling. I point this out because ultimately you choose the clients and projects that you work with on a daily basis. Life’s too short to do work that you don’t like.
So How Do I Find Great Clients?
Finding a great client is a luxury to say the least. If you’re just starting your new freelance business, then all you can do for now is apply for projects and work through these projects until you find a client that you really like. This can likely take several months.
During this time you will need to focus on projects that you like working on best. Doing so will give you a much better chance of finding projects that you like, and will lead to more clients that you like too. And the most crucial aspect of finding clients that you like will be your work skills, reputation, and your ability to judge your own ideas and improve them throughout a project. You must be able to judge your own ideas based on the highest standard of quality and try to impove your work to match that quality. Although this doesn’t guarantee that your client will be satisfied, it maximizes that chance that your ideas are inline with high-quality and clients will likely reward your effort, especially if it looks great. Your ideas will not always work out the way that you want, but clients will always see that you are contributing new ideas to their project, and they will reward you with more money or more work.
What About Those Bad Clients – How Do I Handle Them?
There will always be good clients and bad clients, no matter how successful you are in your freelance business. If you end up with a difficult client, understand that it’s not the end of the world. The first thing to consider is the situation. What is your client asking you to do, and is it something that you can do reasonably for them without risking your work reputation or tons of your time? If you have spent hours and hours of your time working with a client and they’re not helping you move the project forward, then the next step would be to have a light discussion. At this point you are not wanting to end the work relationship, but instead you want to communicate the point that you are giving 100% to make the project successful, although it’s not moving forward.
After having this critical discussion, your client will likely understand your point of view and work to help you finish the project successfully. If your client still does not help you move the project forward after this type of discussion, it might be time to consider having a more serious discussion that brings up the possibility of ending your relationship on that project. Once you have this discussion, the client should have a clear picture of what needs to happen in order to finish the project successfully. If your client still doesn’t work to an agreeable arrangement, then end the relationship by having a discussion with them. Breakups are never easy, but you always feel better doing it in a way that is least likely to hurt one another.
Final Advice For Getting Better Clients
Hopefully this article helped inspire some ideas on how to approach your new and existing clients. If you’re not landing the type of projects or clients that satisfy you, then it might be time to re-think your approach. In the end, getting the best clients really means being able to provide the services they want at an affordable price, with the least effort as possible. If you are able to accomodate your clients by making their project as easy as possible, while providing your own ideas to spice up the project and improve it, you will have a never-ending flow of work. Although there are times when clients will not want you to provide your own input on projects, you must bite your lip and follow through. It’s crucial to your reputation and it will affect your ability to land future projects.
And one more important point – many freelance contractors do not have a strong ability to communicate well. If you can take this problem out of the equation for your clients, you will get work – period.
If you would like to share some of your ideas for working with clients, please leave a comment. Best of luck in your business!