freelance strategies

As a freelancer I can tell you that there are a lot of great benefits to being your own boss. You can set your own prices and work as much or as little as you want. There’s also nobody else looking over your shoulder or telling you what to do.

There are drawbacks too, of course. For example, you get no vacation pay. And if you are sick, there’s nobody to work for you. You have to find a way to tough it out and get the job done.

In addition, once in a while you get into tough situations some would call freelance nightmares. But below I’ll provide tips on how to avoid them.

1. Failure to Pay

When you freelance, there is always the risk of having clients who fail to pay. Fortunately, this is one of the freelance nightmares that doesn’t happen too often to most of us. Nevertheless, I’ll share a few ways to get payment.

Get a Signed Contract

Getting a signed contract from clients before you do any work for them is how to avoid this freelance nightmare.  If the client does not want to sign the contract, don’t do any work for them.

Require Payment Up Front

If you want to completely avoid failure to pay freelance nightmares, require at least part of your payment up front. This may be drastic for clients you already have a working relationship with. But I have done this with new clients from time to time.

2. Inconsiderate Clients

Not all clients are inconsiderate. In fact, most of them are probably very considerate and respectful. Still, every so often you run into a client who has no regard for your time or needs at all.

Establish Regular Office Hours

When you’re getting texts, emails, and other forms of communication at all hours, it’s time to establish regular office hours. Obviously there may still be times when the rules must be bent.  But you shouldn’t be expected to be at a client’s beck and call at all times, either.

Put it in Writing

Simply telling a client your hours isn’t always enough. When that happens you should, once again, put it in writing. Specify your working hours in a contract and get your client to sign it. If that isn’t working, add rush fees and after hours differentials for extra work and after hours work.

3. Threats of a Lawsuit

Another of the freelance nightmares you should clearly avoid is threats of a lawsuit. Since that isn’t always possible, there are ways to avoid them completely.

Don’t Act Rashly

Tempting though it may be to drop a client on a whim, it pays to slow down. Refer to any contracts you have so you do not breach them.

Check with your lawyer if it eases your mind. Whatever you do, don’t argue or threaten them in any way. The last thing you want to do is give them a reason to sue you.

Purchase Insurance

If you want further protection from lawsuits for your business, consider purchasing insurance. It’s a good way to prevent the freelance nightmare of a lawsuit that ruins your business and good name.

Look for general liability insurance to start off with. Then check to see what the policy covers. Some include libel, slander, and copyright infringement coverage just in case it should accidently occur.

But if you can’t find the coverage you’re looking for there, try professional liability insurance instead. It is sometimes called errors and omissions insurance. This policy covers legal battles against clients who are unhappy with your freelance services.

As you can see, there are plenty of freelance nightmares when you are self-employed. But these situations will not hurt your business if you know how to avoid them.


Kayla is passionate about helping people get their finances in order so they can pursue a life of freedom. She quit her job to work for herself with over $148,000 of debt and swears it was the best decision she's ever made!

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