7 Signs You Should Avoid That Freelance Work

Freelance workers are in high demand. This is if the statistic on the gig economy holds true. 

A survey conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute found that 20 to 30 percent of the workforce in the US and Europe are engaged in various categories of independent work.

The major driving force being the technological breakthroughs that support remote work and the demand for flexible work-life balance among the current generation. 

If you are contemplating freelance, now is the right time to take action and join the gig economy as many expect it to grow over this decade and subsequently.

Several online tutorials also exist to teach you where to find or pitch the right clients and learn more about this trade!

The only drawback is none will tell you how to distinguish between a good and a bad client. Or if that freelance work from home is worth taking.

The few available merely talks about avoiding clients from content mills, which won’t help you much if you go it all alone.

But here we are, ready to share our experience and knowledge on the freelance work you should avoid!

Signs You Should Avoid That Freelance Work

1. The Work Comes From A Human Resource Person

As much we know the human resource manager hires and dismisses employees in an organization. My experience in freelancing tells me you shouldn’t accept a freelance project from a human resource person.

As a freelancer, you are a contractor or an independent worker — not an employee of the company. And that is what the people in human resources not understand!

If you are a freelance writer or social media manager, you would be better off connecting or accepting work from editors, content managers, founders, and co-founders, project managers, or marketing heads.

Keep off freelance projects that come from an HR, unless you are looking forward to going back to the office.

2. The Client Promises Too Much Work Or A High Volume Of Work

Many a time, clients who promise a high volume of work would usually demand something in exchange. Most probably, they either want you to lower your rates or agree to a substantial discount. 

Do not agree with extraordinary discount requests. And neither to lower your rates below your set point.

Remember, two or three projects combined will not take you the same amount of time and resources to complete as one.

The time and resources do not depreciate just because you have lots of work! In fact, it increases with each task added.

3. The Client Is Looking For A Freelance Writer Who Can Also Multitask As a Virtual Assistant or a Social Media Person

Unless the client specifies clearly that he or she will pay differently for each of these tasks, please do not accept such a project. If you do, you will provide three or more different services at the cost of one. 

If you are a freelance writer, seek freelance work relating to writing — the same applies to social media management, benchmarking, and others. 

If you are a writer but, you can also work as a designer or a virtual assistant, avoid engaging in writing services with the client unless there is a mutual agreement between you and the client that the extra services will be paid for separately.

4. You See The Same Ad For Freelancers Repeatedly

If you look for freelance work on job boards, I am sure you have come across ads or clients that keep looking for freelancers for their businesses or organizations now and then.

In my experience, I found these to be content mills looking for different writers or freelancers. If they are not content mills, then such a client is one who is not right to work for. 

It means they cannot keep freelancers for the long, probably because they pay so little or are a pain in the neck to work for.


Freelance project

5. The Client Puts You On A Pro-longed Trial Phase 

Assuming you went to look for work in an office or the traditional work setup and you have submitted all your credentials and also passed the interview process. Would you agree to take the work if the organization hires you but still puts you on some trial process, yet you are not interning? Wouldn’t you? 

I am sure you would say goodbye, especially if you have the skills and knowledge, right? So, why allow it to freelance?

A good client, one who is serious about content or content marketing, should be able to see whether you will bring value to him or his business just by looking at your samples, portfolio, or projects. Not by putting you on a pro-longed trial process.

Avoid being put on some trial phase where you are paid X amount, usually lower than the project’s amount. Learn to value your skills and avoid free test articles or the ones that typically pay a little at the beginning. 

6. Clients Not Knowing What They Want

Yes, there are clients like these. Whether you are to paraphrase, rewrite, write new content, do a Copywrite, or create a social media post

“You will hear the client say the work is as simple as going to other websites and collecting content and making it look fresh for my blog or social audience.”

That’s a complicated client, and you do not want complications in your work as a freelancer. 

If you find that the client does not know precisely what they want from a freelancer, here is how you can help.

Identify the challenges that the client is experiencing and suggest ways your skills can address them. Offer this service as a different package to what you offer clients. 

If the client still cannot decide what he or she wants, politely send them your farewells.

7. Clients Who Look For A Way Out Before They Even Begin

Ever reached out to a client and submitted the necessary requirement (CV and sample) only to have the client make comparisons between your work and that of other freelancers to put you down or devalue your work or skills.

You will hear them say from your samples; you do not deserve your stated rates. They may also tell you your writing or design skills aren’t good enough. 

Or suggest that because you come from a particular country or region, set X amount as your rates. Or show you work another freelancer did at the client’s preferred rate!

If you do not run the other way, you will find yourself second-guessing what you do and freelancing itself. The next thing is that you will lower your rates for such a client or assume a freelance project that does not add to your creativity or productivity.


What are some ways you use in identifying and avoiding freelance work that is mediocre? Please drop us a hit in the comments box below.