Clients are the lifeblood of freelancing – without them, writers would be doodling in margins and hacking away at that never-quite-finished project. They are, in effect, as important as customers to a retail store and should be treated that way. The downside of certain third-party sites like CloudCrowd, Textbroker and Mediapiston is that they give the false impression of anonymity to new writers, de-emphasizing the importance of professionalism and politeness in client interactions due to the sheer volume of working clients on a given site.
As we briefly discussed in chapter 6 of The Freelance Writer Guide, forging a solid connection with your clients is a great way to ensure a steady work flow, especially for subjects you excel in. If you come off as rude or brusque to a new client, they may not get the correct impression of who you are or the skills you offer. That being said, certain clients are going to be an absolute bear to work with, and you’ll have to wade through everything from superior attitudes to oceans of typos in the shortest message. Always keep in mind that they hired you and paid you money because they have a goal that – for whatever reason – they’re not able to reach themselves. This means that their ideas may come across as unformed, strict where they have no right to be and in some cases just plain wrong. This doesn’t matter. It’s your job to get them from A (the idea) to B (the finished work), as efficiently and politely as possible. If you can’t, politely decline and move on – there’s no shame in it and sometimes it needs to be done for your own sanity.
If direction and “business mode” are things you struggle with, It’s also advisable not to take projects for something you’re opposed to. A thoroughly reluctant pro-choice writer isn’t likely to turn out a solid piece on pro-life, and vice versa. If you want to make a good profit off of freelancing, you’ll have to learn which subjects and word counts work best for you, as this magical combination will produce the most money with the least work. Spending time struggling with clients you butt heads with wastes your time and might garner you a bad reputation in the world of clients – one side comment about your lack of professionalism from one client to another could cost you short-term work and long-term reputation.
If you’re angry, take a walk, count to ten, do some deep breathing – but don’t take it out on the client. It’s a costly move that you’re bound to regret in the long run.