For freelancers and solopreneurs, getting and keeping a client requires a certain type of hustle that allows us to maintain several different jobs at once, while ensuring our clients are happy. And those who do it successfully are damn good at it. But, not every client is one that is useful to you -- and this is something we often only find out after spending several months working on a project. However, it takes so much time and energy to maintain said client, that you want to see it through for as long as possible... and the extra cash is always nice. So, how do you know it's really time to quit a client? Here are some tell-tale signs.
The client treats you like a full-time employee.
Some clients don't quite grasp the concept of hiring contractors and freelancers. These are the ones that will bombard your inbox with fake emergencies and incessantly call you with questions. The reason why a lot of us are freelancers is to avoid this exact thing. We certainly don't have time to answer every single one of these emails and calls, and doing so goes far above and beyond what should be expected. If after attempting to reset the client's expectations they are still continuing this bad behaviour, it's probably time to let them go.
You're doing a lot more/less work than what was agreed upon.
When you first get hired by a new client, you'll both go over an outline of what the job entails and how much you'll get paid for said tasks. With less desirable clients, they will often continue to add more and more to your plate, or will simply not have enough work for you at all, which means you aren't getting paid. A lot of times, this is because they are convinced you are a full-time employee, but other times it means they need to hire a second contractor or simply ensure you are properly getting paid for your time.
Getting paid is harder than it should be.
The best clients are the ones that let you know when you can expect to get paid. If they aren't paying you on time, consistently, or you're always find yourself sending several emails to find out where your payment is, then it's definitely time to quit.
Your client is an energy sucker.
Ridiculously Efficient's CEO Marissa Brassfield often talks about ensuring your life is free of energy suckers. These are the types of people that bring a lot of negativity to your life, stress you out unnecessarily and just don't offer anything useful to your life. This same mindset should be used for the people you work with. Do your clients praise you for a job well done, or only ever point out what was wrong with that report? Do they thank you for your time and efforts, or do they feel gratitude is unnecessary because they are paying you? Do they care about your overall career goals? If your client is bringing large amounts of unnecessary stress and tension to your life, then it's definitely time to call it quits.
The work isn't doing much for your career goals.
Will the work you are doing with said client lead to other opportunities? Are you producing great work with this company? Is this something you'll be proud of in the long run?
You're not getting paid what you're worth.
In my experiences, there are far too many people out there who are simply not willing to pay for content what they would for design or so many other aspects of their business. Figure out the absolute minimum you should be compensated for your skills -- is your client at least matching that? Does the money make the stress and undesirable work worth it? If so, start your search for another client to replace the current work. If not, it's time to go.