Top 5 Client Red Flags for Freelance Writers

(Psst: Either clearly communicate in the beginning that these are not acceptable or else run!)

Just like you may not be a good fit for all clients, some of them may not be a good fit for you!

Red flags to watch out for:

1) Asking for Free Samples

If you have supplied the client with RELEVANT content samples, you should not have to write an extra free sample.

If you don’t have relevant stuff to show, ask to be paid for a short sample (100-250 words).

If you’re just starting out, write your own samples before you approach a client.


2) Too many Revisions

Your time is money. Don’t be willing to do unlimited revisions.

If the client has approved an outline, yet asks for 4-5 rounds of revision, request a face-to-face call to iron out issues.

Sometimes, clients get the hint. Otherwise, refuse more than 2 rounds of revisions.


3) Scope Creep

The scope of the project should be thoroughly decided BEFORE you begin work.

No “we’ll see how it turns out along the way.”

If the client requests extra work, inform him/her that it is chargeable.

Respect yourself and others will respect you. I learnt this after years of bending over backwards for clients.


4) Unrealistic Expectations

Just because you’re a contractor does not mean that your time is less valuable.

If clients expect turnaround times that are unrealistic for you, gently tell them how long it will take you to produce a decent piece of work and why (time to research, structure, write, create etc.)

Don’t work on weekends for “urgent work.” Once you give in, you’ll always be doing urgent work.

It has happened to me.

If a client is always in a hurry, either explain that quality work takes time or refuse the project.


5) Micromanagement

Once the contract is signed, scope is set and workflow is determined, clients should LEAVE YOU ALONE.

If your client asks for hourly/daily “quick” updates when you have committed to a submission date, gently inform them that you work best without distractions.

Reassure them that you will submit on time. Freelancers have a reputation for being late, so don’t overcommit.


Talk to Me

Have you come across these red flags?

How did you handle them?

Do you want to add anything to this list?

I filmed an Instagram reel about this topic. Check it out?



Categories: Blog, Content Marketing

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