How to Weed Out Low-paying Freelance Clients

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.
Woody Allen

You are re responsible for looking out for your own freelance copywriting business, especially when it comes choosing clients.

Ultimately, you determine which clients, projects and companies to target, but we can all agree that we want to be paid for our work. And paid fairly.

Not all clients agree, and it’s up to us to cull them from the herd. Here are some basic filters to help weed out low-paying (and no paying) clients.

Assess your value
What’s makes you worth hiring? Knowing what you offer has five key advantages.

  1. An honest assessment of where you stand
  2. A clear picture of what you need to learn to get where you want
  3. A way to educate clients as to why you charge what you do
  4. More confident negotiations for clients who need more detailed justification
  5. A printed list that can help quiet any pesky doubts that haunt you if you say “no”

Set your price
You can’t win a limbo contest if you don’t set the bar. Setting your price gives you a measuring stick to gauge if a client can afford you. You can always adjust it later (and you should evaluate your pricing on a regular if not per-project basis anyway) but you at least need a fair, industry-acceptable starting point.

Stand your ground
Some low-paying clients can sense insecurity like Nile crocodiles sense wounded wildebeest. And they’ll try to work you for the lowest, most rock-bottom price they can. But clients who can and are willing to pay a fair rate shouldn’t try too hard to finagle, especially if your value supports your price. You determine your flexibility, but it’s important to stand up for your worth.

There is no 100% guarantee that we won’t be stiffed for fees at the end. Sometimes potential clients are good people who just don’t understand the value of what we do. And we can’t always weed out the truly unscrupulous.

You can’t control them. But, you can control what you’re willing to accept and be vocal about it. The clients who are worth it will listen. The ones who aren’t will move on. That’s what you want.

How about you? When was the last you time weeded out low-paying freelance client and how did you do it?

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