Client Evaluation: Cost Effectiveness and Stress Factor

I have one client, who shall not be named, that is really stressful to work for. The initial per hour rate looks good until you see all the unpaid required readings and trainings which knock down that rate. Also, work availability is a problem, as it sometimes comes in spurts and if you aren't there to catch it, it's lost. There are people who put in 60-70 hours a week hanging out there trying to get 40 hours of pay. That knocks down the per hour rate to less than minimum wage in some cases.

Then there are the work reviews, which are almost always negative. They don't praise many people, although they do love the ones who put in mega hours and are constantly giving them achievement awards. There is little or no communication. Many workers write to them numerous times to ask questions and get no answers. People are let go with no explanation other than that their work is not up to standard, when they have been trying for months to find out why and what they can do to improve. Feedback is mostly nil. No one really knows what renewal evaluations are based on.

There is this overriding fear every time renewal time comes near, but this time around, I'm just letting it go. I could stress myself for the next month worrying and trying to kowtow to their expectations, or I could spend that time finding new clients that don't make me want to blow my brains out. I choose the latter.

The point of this post is that there ARE other clients, and you have to be able to weigh the negative and the positive. If you're new to this freelance game, you will likely stress and worry that you'll never find anything better. You may hang on to a bad client way too long because you have bills to pay and are afraid you can't replace them fast enough. I'm here to tell you, that is wrong thinking.

Just like you don't quit a job until you have another one, part of your working day should be spent looking for clients. The "many eggs in one basket" theory is meant explicitly to allow you to dump bad clients without detriment to your financial well being. I have been where you are, stuck with a client that makes you insane, but with no other choice but to stick with them. That almost never turns out well.

I have been doing this long enough to see the writing on the wall with this client, so I spent an hour today setting myself up to return to one of my other clients I haven't utilized in awhile. There is money to be made there. It takes a little extra time and effort, but the pay is slightly better than the client I'm likely losing. I'll spend time tomorrow hitting the freelance boards looking for other opportunities.

So if you've made no other resolutions as a freelance writer, make a commitment to find other eggs for your basket. It gives you the freedom you need to earn and stay sane. Please don't ask me what other clients are out there. There are many freelance sites that have forums where you can ask that question. In the future, I'll be doing reviews of some clients, but right now, the ball is in your court. Go for it!


portiafaceslife said...

My rates are low & on bad days I stress that (a) I'm undercutting fellow freelancers, & (b) I'll never earn enough to pay my advertising costs, minimal though they are. But I am thankful that I have a core of loyal clients who pay promptly (probably because they can pay me out of petty cash!) & even better, express their appreciation with thanks & compliments. A bit of appreciation goes a long way to building confidence to approach other possible clients, as well as just brightening my day. I've dropped the couple of clients who were consistently negative & demanding - not worth the emotional wear & tear!

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