Freelancer Horror Stories: How to Deal With Common Issues

It’s the spookiest time of the year, and while some may be terrified of ghosts (or creepy clowns – we’re looking at you, It), you know what truly scares us?  Some of the things freelancers experience.  Whether it’s not being paid, getting illegal requests from clients, or being unable to meet a deadline, we’ve all faced some pretty scary stuff in the name of work.  Read on for our tips on how to handle:


1)    Not paying on time (or at all)

This is probably the worst, and unfortunately, most common difficulty freelancers face.  There are a few things you can do to prevent non-payments in the first place.  Make sure you have payment details in your contract you present to clients (and have a contract).  You might want to require a deposit up front before you begin work on a project.  Also send auto-reminders to your clients when they’re nearing their payment date.

If you’ve already reached the point of no return, make sure to contact your client directly.  They may have had an emergency or misplaced your invoice.  And if all else fails, it could be time to contact a lawyer to escalate matters.


2)    Client Asks for Something Illegal

Yes, it could happen to you!  Sometimes potential clients turn out to be shadier than you realized, and could ask you to do something illegal.  Your first course of action is a simple “no.”  Make sure they understand that their request violates your personal and professional code of ethics.  If you are already in a business relationship with a client and they ask something illegal of you, try and extricate yourself as kindly as possible.  It’s not always easy, but you’ll feel better in the long run.


3)    You Just Can’t Make a Deadline

More work is a good thing, right?  Not if it means you can’t actually get all those projects done.  If you are worried about work overload, outsourcing could prevent the situation altogether. If you’ve already taken on more than you can handle, consider taking on some temporary outside help.  Other freelancers in your network may be able to help you out so you can still make your deadlines.  If you’ve tried and can’t find any suitable assistance, contact your client to ask for an extension.  They might be willing to give you some wiggle room.


Freelancing doesn’t have to be a horror story, and with these tips, you’ll be armed and ready for whatever lurks in the dark.