We remote workers often have to jump through a set of hoops to get clients. There’s the endless need to upskill, the required installation of time trackers, and setting up one’s accounts for receiving payment.
On the other hand, are you aware that you can also screen potential clients? I mean, yes, most of us will take whatever work we can get at the beginning, but there are also some jobs or rather, some customers, that simply aren’t worth the trouble regardless.
You know what I mean. I’m talking about the low-ballers, the demanding dictators, and the devastatingly clueless. Sure, the work might look great on your budding CV, but it could also cost a piece of your soul.
But how can you tell which clients to steer clear off? It’s not like they have signs hanging off their foreheads, right?
Well, that’s true, but there are some telltale phrases that nightmare clients tend to use. Here are some to watch out for:
1. “We can’t pay you yet, but you’ll get a lot of exposure.”
“Lots of our clients will see your work.” “This type of exposure would be great for your business.” Does this sound familiar?
Some clients will use all sort of tactics to avoid paying you what you’re worth. Ironically, this sort of statement acknowledges that your work has value. Only, they’re not willing to pay for it.
Avoid this sort of client at all costs. Just about all forms of compensated work will give you some sort of exposure anyway.
2. “This shouldn’t take long.”
Hourly rates are tricky because they can penalize your expertise. The better you are at your job, the faster it can be for you to create something worthwhile. Why should you get paid less for that?
What makes this statement such a red flag, however, is that it places value on the amount of time alone rather than the value you actually bring to the table. You can probably try to educate such a client if they’re misinformed, but do tread carefully here.
3. “Can you send us a draft before we give you down payment?”
It’s one thing to ask to see samples of your work. It’s not like clients can use those anyway. Making you “audition” before they decide to pay you is a different monster.
Clients can say this in different ways, but it all boils down to them trying to get the upper hand. Securing a down payment prevents clients from doing a runner on you once they’ve got the initial drafts. Stick to that.
The bottomline is, your client should have some skin in the game before you even start on your deliverables.
4. “The previous designer/writer/social media manager couldn’t make the cut.”
Okay, so, this is tricky. On the one hand, it’s possible that multiple subcontractors didn’t come through for the client or were just a wrong fit for them. That’s fine.
On the other hand, going through designers, writers, and other remote workers like water could also indicate something toxic underneath.
How do you know which it is? Jumping into a Skype call could work. Take note of the client’s non-verbal signals. Do they appear to be the egotistical, power-tripping, “won’t take no for an answer” sort? Can they talk about their past subcons with respect?
Observe very carefully, and don’t be shy about asking probing questions if you feel the need to.
AKA “I needed this yesterday.” There’s nothing wrong with communicating a project’s urgency, but the word “ASAP” can come off as entitled.
This entails that you should set aside all your other existing projects, calls, emails, and meetings in favor of what the client needs from you. Clients who use this word without offering some form of additional compensation tend to lack empathy. Worse, they might not understand the amount of effort and time it takes to create quality work. Yikes.
Fortunately, the majority of clients are actually quite decent. Lots of them are eager to find people who can render quality work and are willing to pay the right price for it. There are, of course, some bad apples, but it helps to be vigilant.
It also helps to be on a remote work platform that looks out for you. At Remote Staff, we won’t just pre-screen clients. We will also provide you with assistance in case of disputes and can guarantee your compensation even if a client should prove false.
Complete your Remote Staff profile today and feel the difference for yourself.