When I first started freelancing, I thought it was awesome to be able to work from anywhere and get paid to do something I love to do. After a few months, I’d improved my skills and gained more valuable experience so I decided to start looking for higher paying clients.

I also realized that freelancers have a ton of expenses to pay and I wanted my income to be able to allow me to meet all my expenses and live comfortably.

“You’re undercharging yourself, go find higher-paying clients,” is something I  had heard a lot about, so I set out to find these awesome higher-paying clients.

I found quite a few and quickly realized it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Earning more money is great, but here are some of the noticeable downsides I’ve experienced with a few of the higher-paying clients:

1. They might be a pain to work with

Earning a higher rate for your work is only one side of the equation. You also have to communicate with the client more, actually do the work, make sure your client is pleased with the results and get paid.

If you find that your client has super high standards, is nit-picky, and offers little guidance or direction, the compensation may not be worth all the time you have to dedicate to the project. We all have worked with clients who we found out we are just not compatible with. Sometimes the pay is not worth the headache.

2. Work might not be consistent

It’s no secret that freelancing can feel like riding a roller coaster. One minute you’re up and excited and the next minute you’re down and your workload is looking light.

Some major projects that actually pay well may turn out not to really be worth the efforts you put in — meaning you may receive $900 for completing a project, then you might not get any more assignments from this client over the next few months and they will have forgotten how good you were months ago. This doesn’t generate nor grow your business.

I have one client that I enjoy working with and they pay very well, but the only downside is that the work is super inconsistent. I maybe do work for them once every 3 months and I try to follow up with ideas of my own but they are also predictably slow at getting back to me.

3. You may have to wait to get paid

Delayed payments are a freelancer’s worst enemy. If you have to wait a while to get paid, some clients aren’t technically paying you “late” if the terms are not disclosed in your contract. It just takes them a longer time to process payments so you may be waiting around 45 days for the money to hit your account in some cases.

I hold onto some of my lower paying clients because I like working with them and they pay on time. Some of the more prominent or corporate clients I have sometimes take longer to pay which isn’t always an issue — but it would be a huge issue if all of my clients were like that.

Payment terms are really important to consider when you are signing your next contract, aside from just the compensation rate

Summary: Don’t avoid higher paying clients altogether

While there are a few downsides I’ve experienced when working with higher paying clients, there are also many benefits, so I wouldn’t write off or completely ignore working with people who can pay you more.

You deserve to be paid well and what you’re worth but there are other factors to consider if you want to do work that you feel good about long-term. This is why it’s best to consider how well you and the client work together overall and mix in high-paying clients with ones that pay average rates but offer lots of the benefits you might be looking for like timely payments, exposure, professional connections, and more.

If you need to earn more money, but still keep the clients you feel comfortable working with, you can always raise your rates and see what they say.


Choncé Maddox is a professional writer who recently left her job in the web design industry to produce killer content and manage her own writing business full time. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs be more productive and create a life they love by doing fulfilling work. On the side, she runs a podcast and blogs about getting out of debt at MyDebtEpiphany.com.

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