Picture this: You finally decide to take the leap and become a remote worker. You are ready to achieve the location and financial independence you so badly want.
But then it happens… You get a nightmare client.
I am speaking from experience, I still remember the day this happened to me…
All of the things that I feared about being a freelancer started to come true. The late evening requests, questioning my prices, constantly changing their mind.
It literally drove me to the brink of insanity. What was I doing? Why did I trade in my easy 9 to 5 for the stress of running my own business?
When every day all I wanted to do was burn my business to the ground.
Thankfully, I didn't end up burning it to the ground, and after it was all said and done, I realized that I made three big freelancer mistakes that lead to this nightmare situation.
But what are those mistakes and what can you do to avoid them?
To find out, let's go through my current process for finding and working with dream clients. You will see exactly how it's done while helping you avoid those business-killing mistakes.
Let's set the stage. You have just finished up a discovery call with a potential website client and it seems like it's a great fit.
You may feel compelled to immediately throw together a random proposal using a template you found on Google… Maybe you desperately want a yes and to just want to get started on the project right away.
Not so fast.
The proposal is crucial, so don't rush it.
This brings us to the first big mistake….
Simply listing all the website features versus taking time to highlight the benefits may cost you lots of clients.
Clients are not interested in the techy features and all of the fancy names they don’t understand. They simply want to know how their shiny new website is going to benefit their business.
I can't stress this enough.
Take the time to think about how the product you are going to deliver will benefit them.
Customize your proposal so it speaks directly to their pain points and clearly explains how you will solve their problems.
And make sure you ask the right questions during the discovery call so you actually know what their problems are. (Download our FREE PDF designed to help you crush your discovery calls and sign your first (or next) client).
Don't assume. Not only are you much more likely to get a YES! if you highlight the benefits in your proposal, but you're also less likely to get a client who questions your price.
Undercharging is the second mistake on this list and it’s a very common one, especially when you’re starting out.
But I guarantee you, if you take the time to list out all the benefits that your work is going to have for the client, you'll be a lot more likely to charge accordingly.
With my nightmare client, not only did I undercharge, but I also didn't charge extra for all the small edits and minor changes they requested. I'm a massive people pleaser, so instead of politely explaining that any changes outside of what we initially agreed, I would charge extra - I just kept saying yes...
As much as I don't like to admit this, this wasn't actually the client's fault. It was my fault. I didn't lay all this out in the proposal and it bit me in the backside.
Don't be like past Julia. Learn from your mistakes. I know I did. Be sure to add a section in your proposal that clearly states what's included and what's excluded and how you'll charge for any add-on requests.
Set those expectations early in and I guarantee you'll set yourself and your client up for success.
This brings us to the third and final mistake.
At the end of the day, as a freelancer, you are running your own business and you desperately want it to succeed. So you may find yourself constantly breaking your own boundaries and thinking to yourselves - just this once.
Then all of a sudden you realize you've created a monster and you want to burn your business to the ground.
Before you give up though, take the time to figure out your non-negotiables.
Once you've figured those out, communicate them clearly from the beginning and stick to them.
Now you know the most common freelancer mistakes to avoid. Working 24/7 won’t do you or your business any favors.
You've decided to freelance and start your own business for a reason, and I reckon it's not to work all the time for nightmare clients.
Know your why and if you don't, check out this Goal Setting Strategy that completely changed my life.