When I got pushed forcibly out of the 9-to-5 nest, I had only been working out in the “real world” for six months.
A clueless, jobless poet with two degrees in English and $486 to my name, I knew more about Shakespeare than getting freelance clients.
(Funny… no one was interested in paying me to write iambic pentameter.)
One day, pretty soon after I got laid off from my agency job, I headed to the Smoky Mountains near my house to clear my head.
My phone randomly got a signal at one overlook, and a new voicemail from Scott, one of my few freelance clients, popped up.
At first, Scott had seemed okay—a little distracted, disorganized, and self-important, perhaps, but nice enough. I didn’t have enough experience to notice the warning signs when he gave his reason for hiring me:
👉👉 “I could do it myself, I’m just really busy. I don’t want to spend much money, and I need it within a couple of days. For someone of your talent, this little project should be fast and easy for you. If this project goes well, I can send you a bunch more work.”
“Fast and easy”? You mean, “the project that will never end with the client who is never happy”?! 🥴
Scott had called that day to ask for yet another round of edits to four pages of web content I had written. That $150 project ended up being some of the most painful money I had ever made. The extra work, meetings, emails, and calls took the project way outside the original scope.
My interactions with Scott were SO FRUSTRATING.
If he were so successful, then why did he lowball me? And if he were so busy, how was he able to find the time to pick apart every piece of writing I sent?
Low-paying clients like Scott take an emotional toll. To make matters worse, they leave you with less time to spend on landing profitable projects, ones which would make freelancing both satisfying and sustainable.