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The freelance workspace can be liberating when you make the big switch from the regular 9-5 or juggling small-time gigs. You finally have the freedom to manage your time, do a job that you actually love, from the comfort of your home and get paid for it. But it’s not all fun and games because you have to source and secure the right client (clients) who value your work and time and can pay you reasonably well for it. “As a newbie freelancer a few years ago, it would be safe to say I was right where you are now. Trying to curve my niche and struggling to get new clients. I took on a client who didn’t quite understand their business model, paid me below minimum wage for a 40-hour week and basically wasted valuable time.” Ms P from Kenya

Here’s how you can spot and avoid cheap clients

1. Job Advert. Their job postings are brief with no in-depth job description. 2. Providing too much information. With no job brief to go by, you provide endless quotes and information, which means you are doing free work including the trial task and often they will take your input and hire elsewhere. 3. Missing in Action. They are notorious for going MIA and are rarely available when you need clarification but expect you to be at their beck and call when they resurface. WHY WORKING FOR CHEAP CLIENTS IS A BAD IDEA - missing in action 4. Payment. They never pay on time or don’t pay at all. 5. Haggling. You find yourself in a push and pull situation with every task which leaves you feeling drained, frustrated and undervalued. A study carried out by Paypal across four South East Asia (SEA) Markets which is a hub for freelancers, found that 58% of freelancers reported not being paid by their clients and the main reason was that clients did not take them seriously, because freelancers often undervalue themselves and cheap clients can see through that. You can find a few solutions you can use below to make sure you attract the right client. A bad experience with a client as a newbie freelancer can completely knock you off your game and leave you feeling undervalued and unappreciated. This has a negative effect on your productivity because you put in all your time and energy, for little pay, having worked a full month and wasted valuable time you would have used to find other clients. But, all is not lost, you can still get your ideal client and grow your client base as you find your footing.

How to not attract cheap clients

  • Start by creating a great portfolio. Capitalize on what you can do for the client and your skills and competencies.
  • When sifting through job adverts on social media or on Facebook, only contact clients whose job you can do. Don’t be a jack of all trades.
  • State your price and stick with it. Avoid clients who bulldoze you around or start an interview with how much does it cost?
  • Be precise when reaching out to clients. Don’t spam them by sending numerous blanket messages to their inbox or email. Moreover, be as professional online as you would be offline.
As a freelancer, working with a great client who values your output, gives constructive feedback and pays well, boosts your morale and helps you grow. And with these simple tips, you shouldn’t have a problem bagging your next big client. And finally, you can work with a client who values your time and appreciates your work.