What Keeps Freelancers from Holding Onto Clients

In my time as a content marketer, I've seen a lot of clients come and a lot of clients go. Being within the Tel Aviv freelancer community, I can't help but notice the types who have anchor clients for years on end, and the ones who have a turnover rate so high that they should be flipping burgers. What differentiates these people? Where is the fine line between client success and client failure?

I started to pay more attention in order to figure this out. Patterns in behavior, quality of work, scheduled (and met) deadlines, consistency in communication, etc. I wanted to know what makes clients sign the contract, what makes them stay, and what makes them go. Here's what I've gathered thus far.


A lot of consultancies/agencies/freelancers just aren't nice

It doesn't matter how good you are at what you do and how much growth you bring to a business - if you are rude, inconsiderate, or generally unpleasant to work with, no client will keep you around. It's as simple as that. Consistent kindness and respect will go a long way, and clients won't tolerate a freelancer that gives them the opposite vibes.


They don't realize that the client is always right

Just because a freelancer is a specialist within a particular field doesn't mean that they get to call 100% of the shots. I've seen freelancers become genuinely offended and actually fight back when a client disagrees with what they propose, or if they suggest a different route. This naturally develops into a power and ego issue, with both ends struggling to convince the other that they're right. To me, the answer to this is very simple: the client is always right.

If you, as the freelancer, decide that this client is too difficult to work with, then you should fire them and move on. But as long as they're your client, they're correct and it's your responsibility to make them happy. When there's clearly too much push-back from you, that's when the client will pull the plug. No one wants to deal with constant conflict and time-consuming arguments. They're let you go and find someone who's just as good, but won't fight back. That simple.


They have insane egos (and it's apparent)

In my experience, a lot of freelancers are straight up egomaniacs. I'm not saying that having confidence is a bad thing, but when it's clear that you think you're the s**t and anyone would be honored to work with you, the client will be turned off. You can be the greatest freelancer in the world, but you can express that through the work that you produce, not the narcissistic attitude that you emulate. So, practice some modesty, treat your clients as respected equals, and you'll keep a client much longer.


They aren't honest about themselves

A lot of freelancers are great sales people (and I mean, really great sales people - they could sell ice in Alaska if they wanted to). This comes in handy when selling their services and themselves, but it can be abused when they present their work as something different than it actually is. I've known freelancers who do anything to get the client to sign the contract, but the second they do, they drop the politeness and promises, and their true colors begin to shine through.

Even if clients aren't experts in social media or content marketing, they'll still easily see through the dishonesty, and will cut the contract as soon as they can.


They lack self-awareness

It is nearly impossible to be a successful digital marketing freelancer without having basic self-awareness. If you aren't able to sit in a meeting with a client and read their body language, tone of voice, concerns and excitements, then you're not in the business of making them happy; you're in the business of listening to yourself talk. A client will pick up on this and drop you fast, so take some time to run a personal inventory to figure out if you're really aware of who you are how others feel about you. Otherwise, you'll be dropped.