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10 Reasons Why Clients Don’t Want to Hire You

by Laura Spencer

on June 10, 2013

in Marketing

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

“Why can’t I find any freelance work?”

It’s one of the most commonly asked questions. Maybe you’ve asked it yourself.

There are answers. The trouble is that most freelancers or would-be freelancers don’t want to hear those answers.

Of course, getting new clients is tricky even if you do all the right things. But many freelancers are doing the wrong things and they don’t even realize it. In this post, I share ten things that might cause a client to reject you for a freelancing project.

If you enjoyed this post, you’ll probably also enjoy Where on Earth Am I Going to Find My First Clients?

Why Clients Don’t Want to Hire You

If you’ve ever been rejected for a freelancing project, you know that it hurts. You may wonder what went wrong, but unless the client tells you why you weren’t hired, you probably no idea why you didn’t get the work.

Today, I’m going to fix that. Here is a list of ten common reasons why freelancers don’t get the work:

  1. You’re not really looking. Probably the biggest reason that freelancers don’t find work is that they don’t look hard enough. Freelancing jobs won’t usually just fall into your lap–especially if you are new to freelancing. Successful freelancers know that they have to spend a significant amount of time looking for work–up to half of each day. And they aren’t afraid to make targeted cold calls to prospective clients either.
  2. The client has never heard of you. Even if you manage to get a client interested in you, there’s no guarantee that you will get the work. Many clients are savvy enough to look you up online to find out what kind of reputation you have. They’ll type your name into the search engines and they’ll look for you on social media. If you have no online web presence, you’re probably already sunk. Get a website and establish some basic profiles.
  3. You have no portfolio. Even if you do have an online presence, it may not be enough. Before trusting you with a significant project, the client wants to know if you can do the work. The best way for them to find that out is to look at your portfolio. Yet, a surprising number of freelancers have no online portfolio whatsoever. With today’s tools, it’s easy to showcase your best work. There’s really no excuse for not having a portfolio.
  4. You need to clean up your social media act. Dude, that picture of you drunk that your college roommate posted two years ago was funny back then. But now it’s hurting your chances of finding freelancing work. Get it off your profile already, okay? If you have a “friend” who persists in posting embarrassing pictures of you online, it’s time to have a serious talk with them. If they won’t cooperate, you may have outgrown that particular “friend.”
  5. You’re rude to others online. Prospective clients watch how you treat others. They pay attention to your social media interactions. They know that if you are rude to others, it’s possible that you’ll be difficult to work with. Believe me, the last thing most clients want to worry about is dealing with a difficult freelancer. So, just be nice and professional in your dealings and you won’t have anything to worry about.
  6. Your client responses are full of typos. Everyone makes a typo or a mistake occasionally. However, if your email responses are always filled with errors, most clients take that as a bad sign. They know that either you’re being careless or your communication skills are not what they should be. If bad spelling and poor grammar are your weaknesses, have someone proofread your professional emails before you send them out.
  7. Your freelancing website looks awful. It amazes me how many freelancers still use the default WordPress template for their freelancing blog. Or, how many freelancers don’t even have an “about” page on their website. Many freelance blogs and websites don’t indicate that the owner is for hire. Even if it’s clear that the site owner can be hired, there’s no clear way to contact them. Clean up your website if you want more clients.
  8. Your price is too low. Newbie freelancers often think that they have to “beat” the competition’s prices if they want to stay in business. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lowballing on all of your freelancing quotes is a quick way to go out of business. Most reputable clients expect to pay a professional rate for your services. If your prices are too low, then the better clients won’t view you as a professional.
  9. You have a bad reputation. You may think that your former client, whose project you messed up, kept your failure to himself. And maybe he did. But, while the Internet seems large, it is actually made up of many tightly tight communities with related interests. Prospective clients do talk to one another. They do check references. If you do poor work, it’s going to get out and it’s going to hurt your chances of getting work in the future.
  10. You don’t listen. Nothing throws up a red flag to client faster than a freelancer who doesn’t listen or pay attention. Time after time, I’ve read posts from people who advertised for freelancers. A common complaint is that the freelancer did not follow instructions when applying for the job. Don’t make this mistake. If you’re talking on the phone, listen carefully and take notes. If you’re responding to an ad, double check the instructions.

Did you recognize yourself in the list above? If so, don’t panic. It’s not too late to make some changes.

Your Turn

Do you hire freelancers? Are you a seasoned freelancer? What would you add to the list?

Share your answers in the comments.

Image by Steve Snodgrass

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy LauraĆ¢??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.