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When is it good to say ‘NO’ as an online freelancer?

Freelance consulting best practicesAlthough it is not the easiest thing to do as an online freelancer, saying ‘NO’ can be the best approach at certain instances. If “customer is the king” as per the good old saying, he or she shouldn’t show the characteristic of a cheap and become a ‘bad client’! So, when a particular customer shows bothersome behavior, it is always good to stay away from him.

Different types of bad clients

  1. Those who request for free samples (particularly from writers)

These clients generally request you to submit a free (yet original) sample work even before placing an order. Once the sample is submitted, the client may condemn your hard work (now matter how good it is) or simply become unresponsive. This can be a scam targeted on freelancers (particularly the entry level individuals). Instead of requesting you to create a new sample, they can refer to your portfolio if they are genuinely interested about hiring you.


  1. Those who need too many revisions

This sort of clients can keep you busy for many days with constant revisions. They easily exceed the amount of revisions you offer. End of the day, you will work for many more hours than anticipated while generating no additional income. This is a total waste!

  1. Those who feature poor communication

When you work with these clients, you may have to wait for days, if not weeks to get an answer for a question (no matter how critical it is). This will frustrate you significantly and keep you guessing.

  1. Those who bargain too much

Clients that bargain too much can be really annoying. Although such clients might be useful to get your very first order, dealing with them constantly will good for your revenue generation.

  1. Those who suggest you different platforms

There are some clients who might ask you to join another platform. They are not clients; they promote other freelancer platforms while distracting you from your work.

  1. Those who want something unethical or illegal

Some clients might ask you to do something illegal or unethical. Although they are good with payments, it is always better to stick to your principals and avoid unnecessary problems.

  1. Those who pile on tasks during the process

Some clients are troublesome enough to make various additions to the agreed project without making any addition to the project cost. Although you can be flexible for a certain extent, you shouldn’t make your service look cheaper with constant additions; you should charge them accordingly.

  1. Those who communicate too frequent

Although communication is essential, it may become frustrating when it happens too frequently. If a particular client contacts you several times a day and ask for updates, your work hours are in a real danger.

How to avoid them?

  • Perform a thorough profile check before accepting the order
  • Provide comprehensive project outlines
  • Don’t be too desperate on hunting for project
  • Don’t get into personal level communication
  • Be strong enough to say NO (in a gentle way) whenever you have to

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About The Author

I graduated from a top 20 university (Emory) with a dual degree in English and Business. I have pursued a thriving business career with just over a decade of experience in marketing strategy, branding, and communications. I have worked with Fortune 100 companies’ billion dollar accounts, empowering them to create their most enduring brand stories. However, my most challenging accounts have been the boutique-sized accounts, where the money had to work hard for the client. I have also forayed into teaching high school English. I know when to be pithy and to the point. Conversely, I know how to weave a web of words like a work of art so that it ensconces the reader like a cocoon.


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