Have you ever felt like crying so badly, the tears won’t even flow?
OK, rewind: it was a Sunday morning and I stared in shock at my laptop screen. I had a funny feeling that my writing client was trying to skip out on paying my invoice.
He’d shown signs of bailing on me a few days earlier, but he claimed that he’d keep his word and pay me as we’d previously discussed.
Although my gut warned me that I probably had a rat on my hands, my memory reminded me that the fellow behaved like a reliable gentleman during our first transaction together. Still, I braced myself for the worst and sure enough, the worst took place. The client coldly and arrogantly informed me that my invoice would not be paid and that I should have no issue with finding other sources of work elsewhere.
I was now short hundreds of dollars and oh yeah, three of my bills, including my rent, were due within a few days!
Has anything like this ever happened to you? Maybe you’ve dealt with a client that left you feeling spent, dizzy, tired and shocked. If this has happened more than once, you might ask yourself why this keeps happening to you…again and again. You might ask yourself if you’ve missed signs, if you spelled everything out to the client in the beginning. You might question if you were naive in any way.
Don’t feel bad.
You’re not alone and the good news is, there is a way for you to keep these toxic client relationships from happening again. I’ll let you in on a secret: It’s my firm belief that the laws of business and the laws of love often overlap.
In the same way that you can learn to apply “loser repellent” to your love life, you can do it for your professional life!
If you want to learn how to keep losers away from your freelance blogging career, try these tips from the laws of love:
Create a Barrier to Entry
If your upfront payment price-points are too inexpensive, you’ll allow any Tom/Dick/Harry to reach out to you! Hey, you know how it is for us writers. We’re so insecure about being rejected, we offer our services too cheaply or too easily. We’re too accommodating!
Yeah, raising your fees and upfront payment percentage, etc. will send some clients scampering away. That’s exactly what you want to have happen. Trust me, the ones who are serious about paying, can afford to pay and respect your craft will stick around. These are the clients who are worthy of your time and efforts—the ones you’ll want to “marry” with a long-term blogging contract.
Be Specific About Your Expectations
When a loser client understands that you have strict standards of operation, especially around payments, they’ll slink away. Low-balling, shifty clients will know that you’re not playing their games!
Stop Setting Yourself Up to Get Hurt
This means that you need to stop prioritizing your client’s needs and agendas above your own. Know this: the client will never care about your needs (for example your need to eat, or to pay bills) more than their own. Therefore, never count on the client’s “promised payment” to cover your bills.
If you gain nothing else from this post, learn this: If you have no financial savings or if you’re just starting out, work on your client’s projects in your spare time. DO NOT stop performing your everyday work, no matter how much you may hate it. As you earn more money from your freelancing side business, you can replace some of your daily work with freelance client work. But NEVER, EVER replace guaranteed money with promised money.
Speaking of not getting screwed, make your clients earn the right to be treated with priority. They can earn this right by paying your fees without arguments or drama, on time. They’ll make your working relationship a joy, not a burden!
Value Yourself and Your Abilities
Just as you might assess what makes you a worthy romantic “catch”, you need to take inventory of what makes you worthy of the respect and the premium fees that a freelance writer deserves. It shouldn’t take you long—considering your life experiences, your previous professional background, your education and your talents—to realize that your clients are receiving a lot of value!
How often do you base your fees on how many keystrokes you can type in an hour or worse, how much money you used to get paid per hour? When is the last time that you’ve taken inventory of all of your professional skills, your personal skills, your education, your “street smarts”, etc.? Do you realize that all of these play a part when you create a project for your clients?
You can get closure on all of those crappy, toxic client relationships you’ve experienced. You might even decide to put a stop on the type of work you are currently selling, especially if it’s causing you stress and it isn’t working for you.
In your romantic life, you’ve learned that when you focus on obtaining the right type of partnerships, you’ll avoid a lot of the drama. The same absolutely holds true in your professional life!