How To Deal With Difficult Clients as a Freelancer – 5 Easy Ways

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How To Deal With Difficult Clients as a Freelancer – 5 Easy Ways

In this article, you will learn how to deal with difficult clients as a Freelancer. If you don’t have at least one difficult client out of your last 15, then count yourself as one of the luckiest freelancers out there. 

Over time, I’ve dealt with friendly and jovial client’s and I do enjoy it. Other times, I had to manage with appalling clients.

I don’t take to the idea of giving away those client’s we refer to as being difficult. In fact, this is what separates a pro from a beginner. You need to start working things out with those clients. 

How do you even know if you have fallen into the hands of a difficult client? Freelancers that do turn these situations around, how do they do it? 

In this article, we are going to discuss everything you need to do in order to be able to deal with a difficult client. Hang around. 

Before we proceed, you might be interested in this article; 5 Skills You Must Have to Become a Successful Freelancer.

How to Identify Difficult Clients as a freelancer

The first thing I do notice about those people freelancers tag as difficult client is they aren’t in control of the situation. Freelancers appreciate when they work directly with the owner. 

Another thing is they think they know more than you. Of course, they should have a say on how their job would look but come on, “this is not how it should be done” is a bad way to comment on another person. 

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The point where I can get really mad at the freelancer is when they start using abusive words. This time around, I don’t even try to work things out. Dropping the job is the main thing to do. 

I shouldn’t forget those that are always needing the job before the day runs. They are always in a hurry. Funny enough, they offer peanuts. 

“Cheaper elsewhere” clients are the most common if I’m not mistaken. Alright, give them a chance to try the cheaper one and they run back to you eventually. 

How To Deal With Difficult Clients as a Freelancer – the 5 Ways

These are 5 ideas on how to deal with difficult clients as a freelancer.

1.  Listen and Stay Calm

One of the ways you can deal with difficult clients as a freelancer is by listening and staying calm. I get where you are coming from when you don’t want to listen to the client anymore after their first sets of buzz but there’s nothing you can do, other than to stay calm. 

Do everything to listen to the customer and don’t interrupt when they are talking. Once you start arguing with them, you both would lose it, things would become heated. Trust me, you might be in the right, but might still hate the fact that you got angry in the long run. 

While listening to your clients, you can also take chances to empathise with them. Let them feel that you understand their pain point. Perhaps, with this they might lower their guard.

2. Swift Communication 

This is another way you can deal with a difficult client as a freelancer. I don’t joke with swift responses to my clients. A reason my Gmail app specifically has a unique notification sound. See, your clients have plans, looking forward to your messages all the time shouldn’t be one of their worries. 

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Back to the base discussion…

Once your clients drop any complaints or rough message, send them a response as soon as possible offering an explanation of the situation. 

3. Offer a Solution

After explaining the situation to them and how you think things should have been granted, and they are still acting adamant, it’s time to leave it to them. 

Follow everything they tell you if you wouldn’t like to back out of the job. Since your client is the one to pay you, even a nothing from your ability is something to them. 

Yes, if you are in the wrong initially, don’t hesitate to apologise properly. And if your client is wrong, you just have to be respectful to them.

4. Mind Your Language

As a freelancer, you must learn to always mind your language. As much as we all complain about abusive clients, we shouldn’t fall into the same pit. Be mindful of the words you use with your clients, even if they are at fault. 

Respect the client and don’t use words that would put them on the defensive seat. This might destroy your relationship with the clients

5. Take a Break

Lastly on how to deal with difficult clients as a freelancer is; learn to take a break. You deserve some rest.

If you can’t manage the clients, you probably just have to let go eventually. Yes, it is difficult, especially for newbies, but you have to do it. 

As simple as “I have tried my best on your project and it’s unsatisfying to me that my job is not satisfying your taste. If you would allow, I would like to drop the job or take a break.”

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In some other situation, where the client is too abusive, I’d just advise you sack your client, but still in a respectful manner. Remember, mind your words even if they are at fault. 


You aren’t going to be lucky with cool clients all the time. Just like me and others, you will have to struggle with those difficult ones once in a while. Right attitude to work and a trained mental attitude would be of help when you come across them. Since you would like to keep them, you have to do the right thing towards them too. I hope this post was helpful. 


Author Since: November 16, 2023

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