Want to know how to deal with freelance clients who don’t like your work? Good, because that’s what this video and post is about.
If you’re a good freelancer, then you work really hard to please your clients. You do your best to figure out what they want and need, and you try to give them that. You also try hard to deliver results for them. That means not only giving them what they want, but doing so in a way that will help them grow their business.
But sometimes things don’t go according to plan. You deliver the work — work you put many long hours into…work you looked at so long your eyes started to bleed…work you poured your heart and soul into. And when you deliver it…the client says it sucks.
Cue meltdown in 3…2…1…
Your eyes go wide. Your face turns red. Steam puffs from your ears and expletives fall out of your mouth like rain falls from the sky. Maybe you’re familiar with these?
- “Who the fuck does he think he is?”
- “Does he have any idea who I am?!”
- “She CAME TO ME for help!”
- “If she knows so much why doesn’t she write her own damn copy!”
- “Are you fucking kidding me?!”
- “What the fuck are you talking about lady?!”
I’m totally guilty of all of these. Because when someone hires me to do a job, it means they needed my expertise. So how can they possibly think it’s okay to tell me my creation sucks?!
So what I used to do in the past was cancel contracts. I’d ditch the client completely, burn a bridge, and tell them to kindly fuck off.
I don’t do that anymore though, and here’s why…
You can make yourself feel powerful or you can be powerful…
It feels powerful to kick a client to the curb, and sometimes it really is justified. But when you do that, you end up losing time (the time you spent on the project) and money (especially true on Upwork). Plus you destroy the relationship.
Yes, I know it’s hard to take a punch. Your initial response is to strike back. But hitting back in this case doesn’t make you powerful. It just reveals how right the client was to tell you the truth in the first place.
So instead of acting powerful, why not just BE powerful?
But what does that even mean? Simple…it means you let the client feel like they’re the one with power, while you secretly pull the strings. Instead of telling clients to go to hell, and throwing away time, money, and countless future relationships, just stop.
Wait a minute, and let yourself cool off. Calm down. Respond with something more sensible. When you’re ready, ask the client the following questions:
- What specifically didn’t you like?
- What did you have in mind?
By asking these two questions you get to the heart of the matter. You figure out exactly what the client didn’t like, what they DO want, and how to deliver perfect work (because it’s what they asked for).
Then go one step beyond…
You could deliver the work and get great feedback with those two questions from above. But if you want to REALLY deliver, then you need to go one step further. That final step is to DELIVER RESULTS within the framework of what the client wants.
When you can do that, when you can give the client exactly what they want, nothing they don’t want, and get them and their customers awesome results…then you are a truly powerful expert.
As a result, you’ll end up with a client who loves your work and isn’t so picky in the future. You’ll get paid for your time and efforts. You won’t burn bridges, and you’ll build strong relationships that will probably lead to many referrals and more work in the future.
I used to do things the old way. Told myself I was the expert, and clients could go to hell. I don’t do that anymore because it became too big of a waste of time. Instead, I just pull the strings, deliver the work, get them results, and get paid.
Everybody’s happy. Everybody wins. That’s how to deal with freelance clients who don’t like your work.