Saying ‘no’ to a demanding client can be surprisingly difficult.
As a freelancer/gig worker, you’re pretty much on your own when it comes to dealing with demanding clients.
Unfortunately, you don’t have the option to just ‘pass the buck’ up to the next level of management.
And if you don’t learn how to keep clients from overrunning you on projects, you may end up having a very stressful work experience.
So in this post, you’re going to learn 5 tips for how to say ‘no’ to demanding clients who want more from you than you actually want to give.
This is a sensitive topic. But you’re about to learn some top tricks from industry pros!
Let’s dive into it.
1. Know Your Value
This is really the first rule of thumb—and it’s the same regardless of whether you perform building remodels, write articles, or edit pictures.
As a freelancer, it’s in your best interest to understand your value.
Sometimes, freelancers who get confused about this will allow clients to walk over them because they become convinced that they’re not bringing enough value to the table to negotiate a fair deal.
So understanding your value is the first step.
2. Nail Down Your Marketing
It’s always in your best interest to have plenty of client options.
Because when you have plenty of clients, with plenty more opting to work with you on a regular basis, you won’t get desperate and go to unhealthy lengths to keep one bad client from walking away.
This sets the tone for drawing healthy boundaries with demanding clients.
So if you’re not operating with ‘client abundance,’ the next step is to achieve that… because that’ll have a dramatic impact on your ability to negotiate better boundaries.
3. Be Diplomatic
The first step in drawing boundaries with any demanding client is to be diplomatic.
In other words—be kind, respectful, and understanding.
Try to keep in mind that your client wants to get as much value as possible—and that doesn’t make them a villain.
But it is important that you be clear and straightforward about what you are and aren’t willing to do, how much it will cost, what your services include, what costs extra, etc.
4. Get Used To Saying “I Can’t Do That, But I Can Do This…”
If a demanding client is asking you to cave-in on some boundaries, it’s important that you maintain your standards.
If you cave-in early-on in the process, they’ll understand that they can probably get you to cave-in on other things as well.
With that being said, it’s also true that preserving the relationship might be good for your business.
So rather than creating a ‘pride standoff’ when the client is trying to get you to budge on boundaries, it may be better to adopt a ‘suggest an alternative’ approach.
In other words, if the client asks you to do some extra work for free that you would normally charge for, you could gently say ‘no,’ but offer a polite alternative instead.
“Hey, I can’t include images with the ebook in the package you’ve selected. But if you upgrade to the next-level package, we can definitely add images. We could also add another round of edits too! It’s a great deal!”
5. Always Be Ready To Walk Away
Here’s the truth.
Sometimes, the money just isn’t worth the headache.
And if you’ve realized that this particular client just isn’t going to stop being pushy, then it may be time to cut ties and walk away.
You should always remain kind, respectful, and professional about these things—but sometimes, walking away is just the best-case-scenario for keeping you from being subjected to demanding and overbearing behavior.
Just because you’re a freelancer doesn’t mean that clients get a free pass to bully you and treat you badly.
It’s important that you stand up for yourself.
And sometimes, the only thing you can do is walk away.
Hopefully, this post has helped to give you some valuable guidance in how to deal with demanding clients.
You deserve to work with people who respect your boundaries. So make sure to stand up for yourself—and to maintain your professionalism while you do it.
It matters—and it’s important.
You’ve got this!
Read more: Top 9 Gadgets Every Freelancer Needs