A recent study revealed that about 59 million Americans have performed freelance work in 2020 alone, which is a significant increase of 2 million freelancers since 2019. Because of this, freelancers represent 36% of the total US workforce and contribute $1.2 trillion to the country’s economy.
There are various reasons why American workers are switching to freelance jobs that caused this growing trend, and one of those is having the freedom to control the workload. Freelancers also have complete control of their time and schedule and where to accomplish their work, unlike most traditional office jobs. But the possible downside of a freelance career is looking for and handling clients. There will be those who never seem to be satisfied with the output and those who are indecisive and keep changing their minds about the project.
If you’re a freelancer and want to avoid these unpleasant situations, here are four red flags you should remember when looking for a prospective client:
They Refuse to Sign a Contract
Even if it’s a freelance job, it’s crucial to have your client sign a contract to ensure that both parties’ interests are protected. A contract will come in handy when resolving conflicts and allows customers to understand the scope and limitations of your service. If your client refuses to sign a contract, don’t be quick to reject the opportunity. Try to talk firmly with them about why you need them to sign. Also, try to understand their reasons why they are unwilling to do so because it might be the terms included in your contract. If the client is still reluctant to cooperate, it’s best to look for another customer.
They Have Poor Company Performance
If your prospective client is a company who has poor business performance, you may encounter communication and even remuneration problems with them. It’s better to avoid them beforehand instead of taking up the work and worrying about them during the project. So when considering a new employer or client, it’s practical to read up on the company’s performance. This can include reviewing their financial statements, reading news articles about their recent activities, and checking out their company website, if available. Doing so will help you predict if the company has an excellent reputation and is profitable to hire and pay you after a project. Lastly, learning about the company’s core values and beliefs will allow you to see if your values align with the company.
They Expect You To Be Available Constantly
One of the reasons why people choose freelance work is because it gives them more time for personal commitments. So if your clients expect you to be online and available all the time, it’s a sign that you should talk to them about your boundaries. During your initial meeting with a prospective customer, make sure to discuss information regarding how clients can communicate with you and when your working hours are. This is important since knowing what you love working on, like preferred work hours and amount of workload, will help you maintain a healthy and balanced work-life. Although this can make you lose some projects, clients that can’t respect your working hours bring more trouble than they’re worth.
They Micromanage You
Lastly, clients who micromanage freelancers are easily one of the biggest red flags you should avoid. There’s nothing wrong with directing you at the beginning of the project, but if they’re constantly supervising you at work, it’s time to have a conversation with them. In dealing with a micromanager, be honest, open, and polite about the issue and explain how this behavior is negatively affecting your workflow. Make sure to always talk with them calmly without letting your emotions overwhelm you. Healthy communication between you and your clients ensures that you can peacefully finish the project with a satisfied client.