Advice for Freelance Designers: How to Deal with Difficult Clients

Oct 25, 2012Blog, Guest posts, Webdesign

Being a freelance designer is great, for the most part. You get to set your own hours, take on exciting projects that interest you, and work wherever you’d like. Unfortunately, there might be one downside to your job as a freelancer: your clients. Difficult clients can make your life and career exponentially less pleasant. Luckily, there are things you can do to deal with your most challenging clients more effectively, which will ultimately make your life a lot easier. Here are some of the things you can start doing now:

How to Deal with Difficult Clients

Advice for Freelance Designers: How to Deal with Difficult Clients

Stay in close contact

As much as you probably want to avoid talking to a difficult client, it’s actually a lot better if you keep the lines of communication open. If your high-maintenance clients know what you’re doing every step of the way, they’ll be a lot less likely to get frustrated with you. Most difficult clients need to feel as though their needs are being met. They’re a lot more likely to believe you’re meeting their needs if you regularly speak to them about the status of projects and what you’re doing. So, shoot your most difficult clients an email or give them a call at least once a week, if not more often.

Keep your cool

You may spend what seems like an endless amount of time designing a website that you think is pretty exceptional. Then you may get a call from your annoyed client who has a laundry list of complaints about your work. This can be frustrating, especially if you have other work and other clients to focus on as well. If you want to continue working with a client, even though they’re prone to berating you, it’s essential that you keep your cool at all times. Even if difficult clients aren’t professional in their words and actions, you should try to remain professional. This means calmly listening to the harsh words they throw your way and politely asserting yourself when necessary.

Be honest about your needs

Although you should keep your cool, you shouldn’t necessarily be a doormat. If you’re unable to meet a ridiculous deadline or a client’s vision is simply impossible to achieve with the design tools available to you, be upfront about it. Your difficult client may become frustrated with you. However, in most cases, being honest about your needs won’t get you fired. It may actually earn you some respect and encourage a difficult client to back off a little bit, giving you the independence you need to get the job done well.

As you can probably tell, the key to dealing with difficult clients is good communication on your part. So, stay in close contact with your persnickety clients, always keep your cool, and be transparent about your needs.

Rachel Sanders

Rachel Sanders is a freelance writer and designer who creates content for as well as other education, design, and business websites. When Rachel isn't writing informative articles and designing websites, she likes to read, research education trends, and discuss typography. Please leave comments and questions for Rachel below. She appreciates your feedback!

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