Like most freelance writers, I believe that it’s important to give new client relationships a chance. After all, you’ll never be successful in securing a roster of great clients if you don’t take a chance. However, as a prospective new client recently reminded me, clients often reveal a lot about themselves early in the client relationship. Here are just five of the early signs that a new client relationship will fail (or that you should walk away).
1. Quick Turnaround
Clients that call and ask for immediate turnaround times do not have realistic expectations of what great writing requires or respect for your time. In either case, this likely isn’t going to be a long term client relationship worth keeping. Unless your client is willing to pay a rush fee that makes it worth endangering other client deadlines and relationships or your personal life.
2. “Could Do It Myself…”
On the phone, this recent client mentioned that he “could do it” himself, but he didn’t have the time. The problem is that if your client thinks they can do it themselves, they also don’t know what writing entails or value your expertise as a professional writer. This particular client didn’t actually have business experience yet, as he was an older gentleman starting a new company, and definitely didn’t have writing experience. On the other hand, I have a terminal graduate degree in writing, am widely published, and have over ten years of experience in writing and editing. My clients don’t hire me to do something they could do themselves. They respect my expertise and expect results, which they get. Otherwise they wouldn’t come back for more collaboratively work.
3. Lowest Bidder
In the end of our conversations, the almost client mentioned that he’d received lower offers. I think he expected me to lower my prices to match these $5 a page quotes. I did not.
The secret is, I know my worth. I know the quality you get from Fiverr is definitely not the same type of product I provide my clients. If it was, they would hire writers off Fiverr. Many of them tried (secretly, I’ve tried to get some help with personal projects this way) and failed. The writing quality you get for $5 is just plain bad. If a client wants you to write for some unreasonable amount, accept that it’s unreasonable and move on.
If a business client isn’t interested or professional enough to have an email address from their domain, they likely don’t take their business very seriously. Zoho Mail is free and takes very little effort to set up. If a client isn’t willing to do that, what are the odds they’re going to be professional to work with?
5. “Small Budget”
The words “small budget” scare me. Clients typically use it as a way get you to lower your prices. However, it could be a way to signal that they’re having money problems, too.
These are just some of the reasons why a new client relationship will fail. It is unlikely that a client exhibiting these signs will make for a good, professional relationship. Instead, find professional clients that you can work with for the long term.