Understanding and Managing Different Types of Clients in Freelancing
Team Fueler

08 Jun, 2024

Understanding and Managing Different Types of Clients in Freelancing

The dream of every entrepreneur, Founder, or business person is to have lots and lots of clients. Not just clients but dream clients.

But what does one exactly mean by a dream client? 

One who has an insane amount of budget, responds to all mails and chats almost immediately, approves all ideas and content and design in the first round with zero changes.

True good to be true right. 

Ok, let’s come back to reality.

In my entrepreneurial journey, I have come across various types of clients, some smart, some clueless, some willing to learn, some arguing forever, some trusting me blindly, some doubtful about everything, and some striking the right balance…phew the list is endless.

At the start of my journey, I too was under the impression that if I do good work all the clients will toe the line.

My dream was shattered. After some disappointments and trying to set right my own expectations or drop them altogether, reading some self-help books, talking to a couple of mentors, few well-meaning friends, observed a couple of good clients in action, learning by observing current clients, I realized clients come in various molds and I have to mold myself accordingly.

First let me talk about my best client – In fact dream client. Will not name anyone here, let me maintain confidentiality.

A. Balanced client

For this client, I do a gamut of communication activities – Employee communication in terms of newsletter, town hall, fun activities, yoga sessions. External communication in terms of blogs, case studies, and social posts. Additionally, we utilize various tools to streamline these processes, including innovative Nagish apps. These apps have significantly improved our efficiency and effectiveness in managing and distributing content.

What makes this client special is they are always open to ideas and give me credit for my ideas. They include me from stage 1 of the communication process. Consider me as part of their team and not an outsider. Happy to refer me to others as and when requirement arises. 

The best part is they help me grow my business without ever thinking about what is in it for me. 

B. Minimum contact client

For this client I just do weekly social posts. Never met the client, never spoke to the client. Everything works out via WhatsApp. The client will politely let me know if changes are needed and trusts me completely that I will always stick to deadlines. Just once I was a bit late, and the client did not make any fuss about it. Considering my past record that I was always on time and never brought up the topic of delayed deliverable.

C. Bureaucratic client

Not a current client but I had given a proposal to them based on their requirements. Loved my plan and ideas and got back saying I need to connect with Operations Head and Marketing Head and Department Head etc. for budgets and approvals. Been a month and a half, out of curiosity checked their social handles for which they wanted my services. I see that they are where they were and now it’s almost 2 months. So wondering, even if I would have got their contract, it would have been an uphill task to get content approvals. Which means I could not have achieved the results that they wanted and would have resulted in some bad vibes.

D. Autocratic client

A year ago, I was working with a client who was very eager to get some branding and visibility. It was a limited number of hours per week. But the client wanted my presence every single day at the office. The client expected to be mobbed on social media immediately the next day and be flooded with new customers. Maybe I did not set the expectations right at the beginning that it needs time to grow. We realised we are not made for each other so let’s part amicably. Now whenever I pitch for a new client, I make it clear in the first meeting that I cannot make you a social media star overnight.

E. Full freedom client

I have this client for whom I do social media work and volunteer with a little bit of fundraising out of my own enthusiasm. When I took up their work, they had ZERO expectations from me (which they told me later) as earlier with whomever they tried to get this work done, did not deliver as per their expectations. They were pleasantly surprised with my consistency to the point of asking – WHY are you so consistent? I asked them, is it a compliment or complaint?

With this client I get to experiment and learn a lot. I have full freedom to try out new things, even fail and learn and try new things. This has helped me broaden my network.

F. Confused client

While this client is the one who helps me the most without any expectation of return, I realised never work with clients with multiple founders if the Founders have different ideas at times. It confuses me as to what is the exact requirement. Sometimes demotivation also sets in but I try to bounce back as the client is genuine. And I want to do more for this client and return the favor.

The learning continues

While pitching for new clients, now I have better experience of what to ask, what not to ask, creating a customized quote, not to undervalue myself, always be honest upfront that things will take time to work out and so on.

The best thing that I have learnt in this journey is applying what works with one client on another client as it’s already tried and tested. Always be honest. I may lose that one project but it will help in the long run. Being open to learning new things and giving suggestions accordingly has always helped me score brownie points with clients as they appreciate that I am thinking about their business as a partner and not just as a client. And while talking to the clients I always say in our team, in our field (client’s field) which gives them the feeling that I am on their side and not an outsider.

A few times even though I could not convert a prospect into a client, I have given them a few suggestions about how they can improve their website or their LinkedIn profile with zero charges. It did not cost me a fortune nor took away years of my life but I am sure they will always remember the meaningful help that I offered.

Armed with my so-called dream experience, now I am experimental with clients who value it. For some clients, I give exactly what they ask for, from some clients I have learnt what NOT to do while running my own business. With everyone, everyday there is new learning. 

But touchwood, all my clients pay me on time and so my expectations of a dream client is not completely shattered.

About Author

Archana Sali is a Communications Consultant with over 15 years of rich experience in corporate communications covering thought leadership articles, end-to-end social media management, employee communications, HR and CSR communications and public relations. She has worked with reputed companies such as CA Technologies and Accenture. Currently, she is an independent consultant for companies in the software, telecom, health and NGO sectors. Outside of her professional life, she loves playing the guitar, painting and is also a certified Yoga instructor. You can connect with her on Linkedin, and check her professional portfolio

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