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14 – Freelance Writers Business Problems – 7 Reasons to Turn Down Writing Clients

reasons to turn down writing clientsWhen to turn down writing clients is one of the lessons every successful freelance writer needs to learn.

In the beginning we’re so excited with the idea that someone, anyone, is willing to pay us for our writing, we miss any red flags that might be warning us off.

We don’t yet really understand that we are in charge of our writing business and we get to decide all sorts of things, including who we want to work with.

For as a freelance writer, we’re much more working with our clients, than working for them – or that’s how it should be.

Which means, among other things, that there lots of good, solid reasons to turn down writing clients.

7 reasons to turn down writing clients

Here are my seven favorite reasons:

When they won’t meet your price, or close to it. 

When you set your fees you had good reasons which isn’t really any of your clients business. The chances are you that you’re worth at least the fees you set, probably more. The client who won’t or can’t pay them is not a client you want. Even for friends and non-profits, I suggest discounting no more than ten percent.

When they won’t pay a premium for rush work

The fact that a client insists they need a piece of writing in a hurry is their problem, not yours. You should be paid extra for helping them out of the problem that they created. When you take on rush work it means you’re interrupting your planned schedule. Additional charges range from 25 – 100 percent.

They’re really hard to reach

If you can’t reach the client, you won’t be able to complete the work. Try setting appointments and if they break two or three in a row you may have to have a discussion or put them on some sort of notice by email and phone message. Sometimes there are good reasons they temporarily can’t be reached. But your time is also valuable and if they want the project done they need to be available to you.

They demand you be available ‘all the time’

Believe it or not, there are clients who expect you to be available by phone and/or instant messenger all day every day. Sometimes they will post this requirement in their ad – just skip those. You’re an independent contractor which. in the US, means your clients cannot  control your time. It makes sense to talk about when each of you will be available to the other in your initial conversations. You can include a paragraph about this when you write the agreement.

When you realize you don’t understand what they want and probably won’t

It’s surprising how many clients don’t really know what they want when it comes to writing. Part of a freelance writer’s job is to educate clients. However, if you sense you’re not getting through, or you really can’t figure out what they want, save yourself some time and lots of grief and just turn them down.

When you notice you hate interacting with them

Sometimes, after you’ve worked with a client for awhile, you’ll discover you just don’t like them. Working with them is a pain. You dread their phone calls and hate opening their email. Finish the current project and tell them you’re moving on. You don’t have to tell them why, just say “this will be my last work for you” and stick to it. There’s no requirement that you be unhappy – quite the contrary.

You’re really are too busy 

Sometimes you have to turn down writing clients because you’re simply too busy to give new ones good service. This is a signal to raise your rates. You might also want to find another writer or two you can give the overflow work to – that way you’re still being of service. Some writers want to go so far as to build a stable of writers and maybe others like designers, etc. Not an easy path, but can be fun and lucrative I understand.

What’s your favorite reason to turn down writing clients?

Sign up now for early notice of my new ebook, Freelance Business Writing Solutions. You’ll be among the first to know when it’s available.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman freelance writer





{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Diane Beason

    Anne, I just have to tell you how much I enjoy your blog! I’m dipping my toes into the freelance world and have found your blog – and this series – to be a great resource. Your expertise has been a great help to me. Keep ’em coming! And thanks!

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