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It’s hard to turn down a client and it’s even more difficult to break up with a current client. Retaining a problematic client could be detrimental to your work life and your personal life.
Ever needed to do revisions then explain over and over again why you need to be compensated for them?
Do you often need to send reminders to your clients that you have not received a payment for your work?
Do you often feel like you need to go back and revise your contract to prevent being taken advantage of?
Any of these situations sound familiar? Not sure when it’s time for a “client breakup”? Better yet, do you find it hard to justify leaving a client?
It’s hard, I know, but it needs to happen to keep your business afloat! Here are a few ways to know its time.
When you perform a service for someone, you require payment. Usually, as a freelancer, it’s paramount to establish a good relationship with your clients. That’s not an easy task when the value of your work is questioned. If you see a pattern of late payments, it may be safe to assume your work is being as valued as it should be. This can be intentional or unintentional, regardless you should work with people who respect your work enough to compensate you once your work is completed. It could very well be other reasons for late payments, but that doesn’t mean it should be tolerated.
Again with client relationships, if your client is trying to exploit the relationship in any shape or form. End it immediately. Speaking from experience, only stress and lawyer fees have come from dealing with loophole happy clients. You’re not a massive cooperation with lawyers on a salary that has loopholes, you’re a single individual trying to get by. If they want to treat your as a huge cooperation but, pay a freelancers rate, drop them.
For a lot of clients, working with freelancers is new to them. Some education on how the working relationship should happen is to be expected. If you find yourself explaining over and over again, this could be problematic. That is time spent that is hard for a “new to freelance” client to understand. Let’s say collectively for a week you spent 4 hours explaining to a client how things work. You should be compensated, they may not consider explaining to them how your relationship should be as billable “work”.
Once clients realize the wealth of knowledge you have, they may want to pick your brain. Which is great! The problem occurs when the brain pickings aren’t enough to justify your time. It’s not easy to plan your time around a client who only need you for an hour or two once a week or every other week. Consistently is important when freelancing, it’s hard to plan without it. This is the reason why I suggest adding a weekly minimal that the client can “use or lose”, similar to cell phone minutes (but no rollover!). For instance, if you have a 10 hour a week minimal, those brain picking sessions are much more justified. Unless you are ok with doing some free work.
In summary: Don’t be afraid to break up with a client.
On the positive side, you now have more time for your ideal client who pays on time!
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