Let me share with you my experience over the last 8 years of working with people from all over the world whether it’s web design job, programming, video editing, an app etc…

I know these because I made these mistakes myself and still do to some degree but I keep learning and adjusting and hopefully these would help someone else

1- Make sure you are polite and professional from start to finish, even if the customer himself is rude, stay calm, ignore the verbal hints of abuse, unless it’s a clear straight abuse then you remind them to stay professional, should they go on the same way as they were, you get out of it, thank them for the project, and the experience and let them know you’re done





2- when you’re starting the project have a written contract (could be digital, in form of MS Word or PDF) so you keep the point clear and you know what they expect from you and what you expect from them
in case it’s a verbal contract, install recording app or software and let them know that the call is being recorded and will be used later for reference, do not record without telling them and do not keep it just verbal, they’ll forget, you’ll forget, they might act otherwise dumb and say we agreed to do this and that while that’s not true.




3- keep your space, if you’re out with family and friends and not working, then that time is yours and should remain yours, unless it’s an absolute emergency that requires your interference then it can and should wait
Make sure you answer within 24 business hours or let the customer know if you happened to be away, do not disregard it for days





4- look out for the red flags
is the customer pushy? checking in every two minutes? a lot of “hey are you there?” and “hey how is it going?” do not jump to conclusion, but if it’s obvious then these type of customers can be very difficult to deal with
Also is the customer yelling, using cursing words? look out for that
Is he telling you that it’s easy and he can do it himself he just happened not to have time or he has cheaper offers? although this can’t be a deal breaker most of the time but this way the customer is trying to make it seem that he’s doing you a favor picking you, remember, he’s paying you money for service that you’ll provide, it’s no charity here
Is the customer unresponsive? he’ll drop a message, take off, ignore your messages for days, comes back, no apologies, starts over than takes off? a big deal breaker and do not work with this kind of customers under any circumstances



5- Learn how to hack, a dirty little thing that you must have in your arsenal, as there are some people when they have their work delivered, they can change the passwords, take off and go totally unresponsive and do not pay, they think you’re away and they got away with the work. So you have to be able to push some buttons in extreme cases, and I do say in extreme cases

the reason why I said I still do make some of these mistakes was because I recently had a bit of a back and forth with a customer that was unnecessary, this man contacted me for a project, asked for a quote, I gave him a deadline and a price, he didn’t approve or reject, he took off, came back few weeks later asked about another project, I gave him a quote, he still negotiated few more services which some of them I offered for free, we were ready to move, he asked for a invoice to be sent so he pays it and we get started, I did send one, nothing… few days later I sent a reminder… nothing, next day, casually I told him that the invoice has been sent and in case he didn’t get the email he can use this following link to proceed and I pasted the link to make it easier and thanked him and moved on
he didn’t answer, few days later he finally said “sorry” and then asked for the invoice to be sent from paypal not the other processor I used the first time
I did send him and he ignored it
next day he came back and “did you send the invoice for X amount” where X is half of the amount we agreed, I corrected him, gave him the list of tasks to be performed and the price for each, he said he’ll pay when he gets to the office as he needs this done asap
next day, nothing, I contacted him and this time I slipped into the conversation that we should close the deal if we’re up for it as I have other offers and I want to proceed with whatever is sooner and since he contacted me first then I can do his work first, he then said that he doesn’t like to rush things and let’s start it in few days
few days later, I contacted him asking how he was doing in the morning, he didn’t reply while he was online the whole time, the evening, I sent a message telling him that I’m taking another project, removed him from my contact list and indeed took another project
following my earlier advice you’ll see that this guy had so many of the red flags but the reason I still kept the back and forth was because I know him and worked with him on few projects before, so I was giving him the benefit of the doubt until it came obvious that he has nothing urgent going on, he’s just being unprofessional, with no regard of people’s time and mainly he became a great waste of time and energy and I’m glad I declined although the pay was good, the next day I got another project from a better well mannered client for the same price and I’m working on it in a good mood, happy to do the work and having fun, and between me and you, if what you do isn’t fun then it’s not worth it

Oh did I mention that at the time I declined that project I was actually broke and needed some income?

I hope this has helped any freelancer especially in the IT world to clue him in and guide him to a more successful freelancing journey

Like, share and let all your freelancer friends read, learn and hopefully see the benefits in their careers soon