Handling Unethical Clients as a Freelance Content Writer

unethical clients as freelance writer

Spotting the Early Red Flags for Unethical Clients 

When you’re looking for work as a freelance content writer, it’s vital to stay a little skeptical about any offers until you’ve thoroughly reviewed the contract and client. While most clients are honest, the unfortunate fact is that some of them are unethical. They may refuse to honor contracts, be slow to pay, or be unreasonable.

Some client behaviors should always be considered red flags for future problems:

  • Failure to Respect Rules and Regulations – Freelance content writers who work with content platforms should be wary of clients who want to communicate outside the platform or suggest any violation of the platform’s policy. Don’t agree to these requests—you’ll endanger your standing on the site and lose any protections their rules provide. In general, if a client disregards rules, laws, etc., you don’t want to work with them.
  • Unreliable and Demanding Behavior – Clients who blow off appointments, don’t return emails or messages, or generally act flaky are at high risk of behaving badly. If they don’t respect your time, chances are strong they won’t respect your work. Likewise, if you have a client who asks for endless edits or treats you like an employee, that’s a bad sign.  

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How to Avoid Unethical Clients 

The easiest way to deal with unethical clients is to not work with them at all. To lessen your chances of dealing with an unethical client:

  • Beware of scammy job listings filled with typos, pie-in-the-sky pay rates, and questionable work descriptions.
  • Google is your friend. Do your due diligence and research any client who approaches you.
  • Don’t let concerns about appearing nice keep you from asking questions and pressing for answers.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “no.”
  • Make sure you have a solid, signed contract with any client.

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How to Break Up With a Bad Client

Clients who have been difficult, demanding, and unreasonable don’t deserve another chance from you. End the relationship as soon as possible, and don’t let them convince you they were just going through a bad phase. 

If you’re dealing with a client who doesn’t want to pay you, do your best to work it out with them before taking things to the next level. You may want to stop any work you’re currently doing until they’ve paid. If you’re working with an online content platform, see if they can help. If you’re working with a brick-and-mortar business, you may have to go to small claims court. Keep good client files in case you ever have to go down one of these routes.

Learning how to deal with unethical clients is just one aspect of becoming a freelance writer. Sign up with Writers Work today for help finding jobs, making a portfolio, and getting published.

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