Sometimes it becomes extremely difficult to handle clients—they are moody, at times too strict, and what not. Some clients stick to deadlines as if it is a matter of life and death; some just do not care about the freelancer at all. There are so many kinds of clients one may encounter in the freelance community, and the variety is such that you might end up thinking whether there is a way out from all of this.
The freelance community is home to all kinds of work opportunities offered by clients, but each client is different, and therefore, as a freelancer, you must prepare yourself for the best and the worst. In order to excel in freelancing, you cannot escape clients which you do not like and only work with the kinds which are compatible with you.
Compatibility is a relevant factor in a client-freelancer relationship, but you cannot always excuse yourself by saying that “the client is obnoxious” or “he is overbearing” and what not. Instead of wailing over your horrible boss, you should find out ways to handle him/her in a more productive and less-conflicting manner.
In this article, we are going to talk about ten types of clients you might encounter in your freelancing career. If you are well-acquainted with what these clients are made of, you will be able to manage your professional relationships smartly.
With this in mind, let us explore different kinds of clients in the freelancing industry:
1. The Supportive and Knowledgeable client
Our first kind is the supportive kind. These types of clients know what they want from the freelancer, but while making their requirements clear they promise any possible assistance in the completion of the project. These clients will provide you valuable tips and logistic support (if needed) to execute the project properly and on time.
Now that you are working with a client who is caring, mindful and patient with you, you must show some of your gratitude to him. Be kind and amenable to listening; if he gives you tips or any other kind of assistance show your gratefulness to him. You must not behave as if you are taking undue advantage of his leniency.
Supportive clients understand very well the importance of a harmonious client-freelancer relationship, and that is why they put in a lot of efforts in teaching the freelancers the tricks of the trade. If you do not reciprocate, you will not get much out of this potentially harmonious relationship.
2. Just-do-it-anyhow client
Most of you must have come across a bunch of clients who are unwilling to address your issues such as time management and what not and want work to be done by hook or crook. They are clearly indifferent to freelancers, would brush away any idea you may have for the project, and would most probably direct you to follow the guidelines letter by letter.
The problem with such clients is that they rarely listen. They seem to be or at least show themselves to be a busybody, and that is why freelancers need to exert efforts to communicate to them.
It is necessary to remain in constant correspondence with the client—inform him that your daily task has been done, or you have already started working on the project scheduled to officially begin on a future date.
Just keep reminding him that you exist and the job you are undertaking is as important to you as it is to him.
3. The amiable client
A friendly client goes beyond those clients who are supportive and knowledgeable. He is friendly, makes his own efforts to talk to freelancers, establish relations with them, and whatever else that is necessary to maintain a sound rapport with freelancers.
Clients falling in this category feel that a friendly attitude is more productive than an unfriendly, overbearing attitude which many clients out there don. Of course, they expect substantial reciprocity from freelancers as well.
You are lucky if you have a friendly client. You can conveniently tell him your reservations, thoughts and problems, but at the same time, you must be willing to address his problems, reservations and problems. There are many things you can do to express your gratitude for being offered a flexible client-employee relationship, and easiest way to do this by saying “Thank you”.
4. The Designer wannabe client
All graphic designers out there in the freelance industry—this one is for you. You will often come across or already have come across clients who boast of their designing knowledge, but you end up realising that they do not even know the ABC of designing. Well, we cannot question them on this point—our job is at stake, folks.
Such client does not know much about designing, but since he shows off that he does, he will give you random inputs—most of them might not even be needed—and ask you to work on them. It becomes difficult to handle his overweening nature, but that does not mean there is no way you can manage your relationship with such client.
You must be polite to such client—tell him that you prefer such idea over his; or that you appreciate his vast knowledge on the subject, but your professional experience tells you that the project should be done differently. Whatever you say or do, do not hurt the client’s feelings.
Let him dream on about his superficial knowledge, while you work on the project peacefully.
5. I am the Boss here
Many clients wrongly assume that they enjoy superior positions to freelancers. They mistakenly or deliberately ignore the parity in relationship that exists between clients and freelancers in the freelance industry. They are the self-proclaimed bosses of the zone, and you have no other option but to work with them.
So, the question is how such bossy, rude and often unreasonably proud clients should be dealt with?
Such clients might give you pressure and annoyance, but if you give in to such feelings, you are doomed to have an altercation with them in the near future. Try to be calmer about this whole thing; analyze the working patterns of your boss and also, what his personality is. Accordingly, tailor your work. This way you will be able to dodge a lot of problems.
You know such clients are rarely impressed, but that should never be your primary goal. Just give them the kind of work that sticks to their directions and you are free from the chains of subjugation and mental torture.
6. The ignorant client
Freelancers find it superbly difficult to work with ignorant clients because the latter have no idea what they want from the former. Such clients will ask you to do this and do that, but will never be able to clearly communicate how things should be done.
For example, a client does not have any idea about programming but wants certain specific programs to be written. He will state the programmes but fail to give proper directions. Such clients are ignorant clients and, at times, really bothersome.
It is a challenging task to explain everything out to such clients, but if you do not want to re-do your project over and over again, you should take up the challenge. While explaining the client, suppress your facial expressions and bodily responses indicating pomposity—these clients are ignorant, but not simple-minded.
One more tip to keep in mind while handling such clients is to keep them updated throughout the project. Instead of giving them the entire project in one go, keep on updating them on the progress from time to time. This way they will know where you are with the project and whether or not your way is the right way.
7. The Impatient one
Such client feels that time is running out and the freelancer is not doing his job right. He is always complaining about the other side’s poor time management, shooting daily reminders on phones and emails and sending out end-of-the-work feedback on lack of time management, etc. Even if you are as fast as the Flash, you will never get work done on time—at least for such client.
In order to handle such client, you need more than just time management: communication skills are important to ensure that the client knows what your other commitments are and that there are limitations on your work life that cannot be ignored.
If the client is an obnoxious stickler for work-on-time, tell him beforehand your requirements and limitations to avoid pissing him off in the future.
8. The quiet and shy type
You might think that working with such client would easier, but, no, you are greatly mistaken. Such shy type clients need to be handled with extra care and attention, otherwise, you will unintentionally miss out on a number of important project-related points.
A major issue with these clients is that they only talk when asked to. They will not express their reservations to the freelancers until the very last date of submission. It is only when the freelancer asks whether there is anything required of him that these clients will start talking. All of this might make you feel like you are babysitting someone.
To make sure that there is a significant flow of communication between you and your client, you will have to take the initiative. Tell your client before getting on to work that you prefer if he spoke more and conveyed more explicitly and straightforwardly his reservations (if any) to you. Use close-ended questions for him to know what he is looking forward to.
You can handle such clients quite smoothly as they are amenable to listening and addressing your issues. So, be patient with them a little, and things will become easier in the end.
9. You get or do not get the deal kind
Such clients tend to be precise, hardliners, and less cooperative. They will not give you enough room to contemplate, and this will obviously be disadvantageous to you. At the stage of negotiations, they will treat you as if there is no scope for changes and there is either deal done or deal not done.
So, the big question is how to make these people listen? Smart freelancers will know how things could be handled. While they bully you, you must not succumb to embarrassment. Listen to them well, but give out your suggestions in an undaunted manner.
If you show a bold face, they will know you cannot be taken advantage of and that you know very well what you want.
10. The Noisy but Appreciative Type
These clients are loud, sometimes to the point of being noisy. But, despite their noisiness, they appreciate you if you deliver what you were expected to deliver. You might not like them talking too much with you, but if you manage to impress them with your work, they will come back and put their trust in you again.
A major advantage of working with such clients is that they are willing to work with you again. Of course, you must deliver quality for that to happen. So, to ensure you never fall short of work, become a little patient.
Listen to these clients no matter how loud they are, and in case you cannot take their loudness anymore, convey your issues very politely and euphemistically—they are good people so they will understand.
Yeah, one more thing, do not annoy these clients too much. They will get louder!