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Why cheap clients are the scum of the earth

Every few months, I make a regrettable mistake: 

I let a prospective client charm me on our call, and convince me to add them to my client roster as a “wildcard” client. These “wildcard” clients are always penny pushers. And while they hire me for far less than a typical client, they do have a bit of a higher upside if things work out well. 

But time and time again, things do not, in fact, work out well. 

You probably remember me yapping about one of these newer wildcard clients. And last week, I finally made the decision to cut ties: 

It came after about 4 months of not listening to my advice, scheduling hour-long meetings (which were really “work together” sessions because he was allergic to working outside of these weekly meetings) that frequently lasted 2-3 hours, and barely seeing any results from this project. 

And so, I gave him the boot. 

At first he agreed… 

…but since I first dropped the hammer on him, he’s been pestering me via text that “we’re really close” to making this project work and practically begging me to change my mind. 

I’ve ignored each of these texts. 

And it brings up a valuable point about cheap clients that even I forget too often:

When you work with a cheap client, not only will they steal your time, but they won’t even listen to your advice. They need you to hold their hand to do even the most basic of work. And when you give them the boot, they’ll fight tooth and nail to convince you not to do it despite not listening to any of the advice or doing anything that constitutes work outside of a weekly meeting. 

Now, there’s nothing “wrong” with these clients besides, well, not being the best business people. My recently fired client, for example, is a good dude. But when you refuse to take advice because we worked out a commision deal, and then that project fell flat on its face, pestering me via text or email just ensures I tell my list about you while ghosting you. 

Truth be told, I should’ve made this decision the second we booked an hour-long meeting that ran for 3 hours. 

You aren’t the only client in my life. And as a rule of business, I must dedicate more of my time and energy to clients who not only pay me what I’m worth, but listen to my advice, and thus, get better results. I am the email marksman after all. My clients rarely are. 

Moral of the story? 

It’s two-fold:

From a freelancer’s perspective, don’t work with clients who refuse to pay you what you’re worth. I know there’s some big names in the freelancer space who are promoting revenue splits as if they’re brand-spanking-new. But unless a company has a track record of making revenue, signing these types of clients will only waste your time and energy. 

From a business owner’s perspective, if you want the best results from your hired hands, let them be the expert. Pay them like they’re the expert. And that’s how you get expert results. 


Need help making more moolah each and every time you hit “send?” 

Hit reply, and let’s set up a call. 


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