As freelancers, we're often told to watch out for client red flags, but it's also important to keep an eye out for signs that you're on to something positive. It is a valuable skill to be able to identify the ideal client, as it helps you work with people who are trustworthy and respect your work.
Here are a few green flags to look for in a client:-
They value your time.
I've spent years figuring out what makes a good client, and in the process, I've had to sift through a lot of poor ones. One of the most striking observations I've made is that most green flags boil down to one thing: respect. Clients who demonstrate obvious regard for you and your time are usually easy to work with.
The majority of green flags boil down to one thing: respect.
A client who does not require lengthy meetings or unplanned phone calls may be worth keeping. With my clients, I set clear boundaries, but the best ones don't need to be informed of how valuable my time is. They understand that I'm working with others and can't just pick up the phone and drop everything.
This also applies to deadlines. When one of my finest clients sends me a new brief, they know I can finish an article in a week, but they always ask me to set the deadline. This demonstrates that they are aware of the fact that my workload fluctuates.
They are clear about what they want.
We've all been in the situation where a customer submits a brief that is lacking in specifics. They're unable to provide specific answers to questions about what they're looking for.
This is frequently a formula for disaster—when you don't know what you're getting yourself into, there's a lot of room for things to go wrong. A client that offers a thorough sketch of what they want, communicates the content's aim, and can answer inquiries, on the other hand, may be a keeper. Miscommunication can be avoided through clarity and honesty. These characteristics also reduce the amount of time you spend modifying.
Of course, there are situations when a client is unsure of what they want and relies on your expertise to help them figure it out. This is flattering, but "do what you believe is best" frequently results in numerous modifications. The client suddenly knows what they want after receiving a draft—and it's not what you supplied.
Working on a brief template with a client or coaching a client through the briefing process is typically time well spent. It allows you to communicate more effectively with one another.
They don't bargain about pricing.
One of the most terrifying aspects of being a freelancer is pressing send on an email quoting your rates. There's always the possibility that your rates may be treated with silence or attempts to negotiate down to a sum that is less than minimum wage.
Fortunately, the top clients will not do so. A keeper client, in my experience, is one who accepts your fees without question. This demonstrates that they value your experience and are prepared to compensate you for it.
It's also a positive sign that the client trusts you and is less likely to control your job. If you discover that cost is a major problem, you should determine whether they are indeed your ideal customer. If you lower your pricing for a client, you risk them picking through everything you do in order to get the most bang for their money.
They respond quickly.
Clients who respond quickly to your questions, in my experience, are often simpler to work with. You'll be able to get your queries addressed quickly and won't have to wait for clarifications. Even if clients aren't lightning fast, the finest ones will thoroughly answer all of your queries. Keep an eye out for this, as it's a sign of a project that's moving smoothly—even if it's complicated.
They keep ‘scope creep’ in check
Most freelancers are aware of the dangers of unpaid assignments, but keep an eye out for clients that are willing to pay more for additional labor. A good client won't demand you to perform any extra work for free, whether it's completing a test to demonstrate your style, dealing with changes mid-project, or sitting in on meetings.
With a clear brief (see point above), you can avoid most scope creep, but it's a natural aspect of the business that things—and timeframes. It's critical to be adaptable.
However, if something deviates significantly from the intended course, your clients must be informed that it will cost them more. It's crucial to set clear boundaries here, but it's a green signal if the email says "we need a third round of modifications" and also includes "let us know how much they'll cost."
While it's vital to be able to spot red flags in clients, don't overlook the green ones. Clients that are healthy and consistent might be the backbone of your freelance career if you establish the proper relationships.