The Causey Consulting Podcast

10 Ways Freelancers Cut Their Own Throats

May 09, 2024
10 Ways Freelancers Cut Their Own Throats
The Causey Consulting Podcast
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The Causey Consulting Podcast
10 Ways Freelancers Cut Their Own Throats
May 09, 2024

I often talk about bad freelancing clients (and how we can hopefully avoid them). However, this is a two-way street. With the job market being as it is, there's so much bad behavior and chicanery on BOTH sides of the equation. This does not have to be you!

 🔮 Prediction alert: the freelancing market is only going to get more crowded as we continue with layoffs, company closures, inflation, etc.

Links:

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1125110/14323130

Links where I can be found: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/2023/01/30/updates-housekeeping/

Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/ 

Show Notes Transcript

I often talk about bad freelancing clients (and how we can hopefully avoid them). However, this is a two-way street. With the job market being as it is, there's so much bad behavior and chicanery on BOTH sides of the equation. This does not have to be you!

 🔮 Prediction alert: the freelancing market is only going to get more crowded as we continue with layoffs, company closures, inflation, etc.

Links:

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1125110/14323130

Links where I can be found: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/2023/01/30/updates-housekeeping/

Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/ 

Transcription by Otter.ai.  Please forgive any typos!

 

Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at CauseyConsultingLLC.com. And now, here's your host, Sara Causey. 

Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. In today's episode, I will be talking about 10 ways freelancers cut their own throats. I know I normally talk about bad freelancing clients and how we can hopefully avoid them. Sometimes I think that maybe if we all just banded together as freelance or contract labor, and we decided not to do business with a holes, idiots, weirdos, surveillances people, micromanagers abusers etc, they would go out of business, or they'd have to change their ways. But that's my utopian fantasy, right. But in today's episode, I want to flip the script a little bit, and talk about 10 ways that freelancers themselves cut their own throats, I recently ran a fairly good sized project to help inside my own business. And wow, what an experience it was. The people that understood the assignment, the people that were good, were great. The people that were bad were awful. There wasn't much middle ground or neutrality, it was either great results did exactly what they said they would do. And I was happy to pay them a bonus, or they were complete, shite, didn't do really anything that they said they were going to do. And the thought occurred to me, this is a two way street. I predicted, I don't know two or three years ago now that we would see this happen. Whenever the economy started at slow rolled out a bad Hill. See, I knew that the great resignation was not going to last forever. If you thought that it was going to there was a permanent change that was going to empower workers forever. I'm sorry about you. That's not the way the world works, especially not corporate America and all of their cronies. They're the ones holding all the cards. I knew when we started this slow roll down a bad Hill, you would see more people turning to freelance work, not necessarily because that's what they want to do. But some of them would turn to freelancing or 1099 work because they felt like they had to, they were laid off, they needed to make ends meet, inflation was getting terrible. And so they needed to pick up some side hustles. Some people dip in, and they do freelance work here and there. And some people choose it as a permanent lifestyle choice like I have done. Whether you are doing it temporarily to get over a crisis, whether you're doing it permanently, because this is the lifestyle that you have chosen. And it is by the way, a lifestyle, it doesn't really matter. You still have some responsibility to do what you say you're going to do. If you make a commitment to a client, and the client has treated you well, there's been no chicanery and shenanigans on their side of things. And you're screwing them over. You're cutting your own throat, you have no right to complain, Oh, the markets bad. Oh, these clients are all a bunch of jerks. Well, how are you behaving? What are you doing? Take a look in the mirror before you start looking at everybody else. As I said, this list is not exhaustive. It's just things that occurred to me as I was running this project and had a few people burn me. Number one on my list is Teddy, the tailgate negotiator. Now I've talked about this in our Hall of villains about bad freelancing clients, somebody that wants to do a bait and switch, or they want to get to the end of the process, and then jerk you around on payment or payment terms. Totally not cool, dirty pool, not the way to behave. The same thing is true on the other side. If you put in a bid and say I will do this for $500. And then everything's going fine. There's no bait and switch. There's no surprises, everything is exactly as it's supposed to be. And then you flip the script and decide no, I want 1000 I can tell that you're interested, I can tell things are going well. So I'm going to try to hold you hostage and say that I wanted 500 Initially, but now I want 1000 Just because I think you'll pay it. Super, super not cool. You know, when people start that crap with me, I just revoke the offer and I go on. I'm not going to do business with you. I'm not going to play this little game. It is just so incredibly crass. And it doesn't matter if it's a client doing it to you or if it's a freelancer doing it to you. Do not be a Teddy the tailgate negotiator to taking on jobs with no intention of finishing. I understand that sometimes in life happens In the best of intentions, you might get sick, you might wind up in the hospital family member in the hospital, a death in the family, these things occur. However, if we're not talking about act of God accident unforeseen situation, if you know on the front end, that you're not going to be able to finish a project you don't care about and it's not for you, don't freak and do it. Don't put yourself in that position and then put your client in the lurch. They're not going to give you feedback, good feedback anyway, and they're not going to ever use you again. You're going to be on their poopoo list for the rest of time by taking on a job saying you and finish it, and then deserting them. Three fake slash dishonest work. This, I think has really exploded because of chat GPT and other AI forums where somebody can oh, I'll just type in an answer and pretend it was mine, or Oh, pretend that this article that clearly came from a robot is something I wrote originally. Seriously, to use the phrase does your Come on, man. Anybody with half a brain is going to know what you did. Don't lie. Don't say that something is your original thought. And then it's plagiarism. That's even worse. Or you go to chat GPT. If the person has said, I want your original work, I do not want chat GPT don't freakin do it, you're going to get caught. For lying about knowledge and experience. This one is true across the board. Whether you're talking about somebody interviewing for a full time w two position, or somebody that's auditioning for a freelancing gig. If you don't have the knowledge, if you don't have the experience, and you're hoping that you'll just sort of winging it, where maybe you can subcontract the work out to somebody else, and then price gouge your client for it. You are playing a very, very dangerous game. Five communication problems. Do you vanish? Do you ghost? Do you show up hot and heavy one day and then the next day you're gone? Line your stuff out, clean up your side of the street if you're going to be available to do a project be available to do it. If the client has a question, and you don't respond for three or four days, I'm sorry. But in today's world where we're so technologically connected, that's absurd. Now it's one thing to have a crap freelancing client that wants to text or email or call in the middle of the night, someone who's insensitive to timezone differences. One of the reasons why I do not work with the teeny tiny startups is because their culture is always such that they think every problem is a hair on fire emergency. They think every hire is the most important hire that anyone has ever made on God's green earth. And if they don't get Jesus Christ Himself is just not good enough. Maybe even Jesus is not good enough for them. In the same way that it's not appropriate to call somebody who's freelancing for you at three in the morning, and expect a response. I don't even think it's cool to do it not expecting a response. Bugger off, man Leave, leave people alone in the middle of the night. If you're waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting as a client for an answer, that's crazy. We're so technologically connected. If that person is not being rude texting or emailing, or I am in you at like three o'clock in the morning, your time. If it's, let's say noon, your time, and you just don't want to be bothered to answer until four or five days in the future. You're probably not going to make it very long as a freelancer. Number six on my list is no attention to detail, slash sloppiness. How does the work? Look, especially if we're talking about a deliverable that somewhere in the creative space? I mean, if you have decided to design a logo, or you're going to put together a presentation of some kind, it's got typos all over it. The graphics look like poop. What are you thinking? I mean, seriously, it doesn't take that long to proofread, and to clean things up so that it looks visually attractive to the client, especially if they've hired you in some kind of visual arts capacity. This shouldn't be common sense. But you know, as the saying goes, common sense is not common anymore. Number seven on my list is harassment. Pay in the same way that communication problems nowadays, so often involve ghosting, disappearing for long periods of time just vanishing with no explanation, maybe vanishing to the point of not even finishing a project period. The other side of that coin that's overkill is harassment. In the same way that a client you would not want a Client two ping you every five minutes and pester the horns off of you don't do that to the client either. Hey, are you going to hire me? Are you going to hire me? Are you going to hire me? Are you going to hire me? Dude, not with that attitude, I'm not calm down. You don't need to ping somebody every five minutes, don't be a disappearing act. But then also don't be a cyberstalker. There is a happy medium here.

 

Number eight on my list is no retention of information. If the client has to tell you something 10 different times for it to absorb. That's a problem. Especially if they have provided written instructions, or they've made an audio file or a video file and sent it to you ABCD. Here's exactly what I want, go do it, or ABCD. Now I'm going to pause Do you have any questions? If you have all of the details provided to you and you're just not paying attention? Or you're a client and you're sitting there like, Good god, I have told this person 10 Different times what I expect and what the deliverables are. What is the problem here? Flint, Cool Hand Luke, what we have here is failure to communicate. If you feel like there's just this fundamental failure to communicate and they're not paying attention, they're not absorbing the information. Sometimes that's an indication that they just don't care. Now, I know people will say there's neurodiversity. Sometimes people may be struggling. And I get that. I think the thing to do there is to be respectful enough to say how do you prefer to be communicated with? What would you like for me to do? Do you want me to put this in a written PDF? Do you want me to make a video? Do you want me to make an audio file? Do you want me to get on Zoom and kind of demonstrate to you like, how do you want me to explain this to you? Beyond that, if the person is still like, I don't get it. I don't know where or worse yet, so he's like, now what was I supposed to do again? You have to really think about whether you want to trust them with your money. Number nine, rude slash hateful demeanor. Again, this should go without saying, but if you're acting like a jerk, one arrogant jerk, Lord. Nobody's interested in that life's hard enough right now across the freakin board. Nobody wants to deal with a bad crappy attitude. And by the way, I will be talking in an upcoming episode about this very thing happening on the other side of the fence, I have a new villain to add to our Hall of villains. I'm going to call this one err in the arrogant, because I had the misfortune of dealing with somebody who's honestly one of the cockiest just highly unpleasant individuals I've ever come across in the business world, and I can't wait to spill the tea. I want you to know like if you encounter somebody like this run, freaking run. I don't give you advice. I don't tell you what to do. But you know, if it were me, and I encountered somebody whose ego was so massive, it wouldn't fit inside the room, I would freaking run. Same thing with the individual freelancer, the person's egotistical, they're rude, they're pushy. They get hateful. Not worth your time, man. Not worth your time. 10 Last and certainly not least, wasting time slash padding the bill. This is something particularly with hourly work that people get frustrated by if they feel like you supposedly worked 40 hours and there's just nothing to show for it. People are gonna get suspicious they're gonna wonder what the heck you were doing, supposedly, for that amount of time. Wasting time falls into that category as well. lollygagging around, goofing off, allowing yourself to be distracted, trying to work on five different jobs at one time. Make sure that you have good time management skills, know thyself. Understand what you're capable of doing and what you're not how much is too much, and how much is not enough. We do have to think about that as freelancers from a financial perspective all the time. But you also have to think about it in terms of your bandwidth, your actual mental and physical capacity. I cannot sit chained to a chair and I love to work that's the thing. I don't ever plan to retire you guys know that. Being somebody born toward the end of Gen X and seeing the Enron scandal and too big to fail and all this bull crap I'm like, No way. I don't ever want to be dependent on the system. I enjoy the work that I do. I love content creation. I love to podcast to ride a ride all the time across platforms Good grief. At the same time, I'm not robot. I need to get out and get sunshine and fresh air. I need to stretch my legs. I like to work out. I cannot sit chained to a chair for 20 hours out of 24 in a day. I just think that's great. See. So I have to know where my boundaries are. I've got just enough work, I've got too much, I've got too little. And the onus is on me as a freelancer to not allow myself to get overloaded. Even if that means turning a project down or asking if we can delay the start in some way, and then potentially losing it that is better, being honest with somebody and saying, I don't have capacity for this right now. And I don't want to fudge it up. That's better than taking it on and then doing a really poor job. Think about these things. The market is so saturated, prediction alert, it's only going to get worse, because we're still seeing layoffs. We're still dealing with inflation. The job market is a hot dumpster fire and I don't give a damn about some talking head trying to convince you best job market and 60 years churn and burn and doing great less than 4% unemployment rate. We just look at these non farm payrolls and they're big do Lottie da Yeah, at the same time, you finally see the knuckleheads in my opinion on LinkedIn telling you the job market is tough. People are languishing on the job market for a long time. The statistics say everything is great, but two people say it's not well, no Sherlock, anybody with a brain can tell you the job market is a flippin dumpster fire. Come on, man. So it's only going to get worse, you're going to have more people that are dealing with layoffs that are trying to moonlight that are trying to get side hustles going. They're trying to get in business for themselves and they need proof of concept to do it. So these freelancing sites are already bloated and overcrowded. A lot of its detritus, in my opinion, in my opinion, I'm a tough critic, what can I say? But it's only going to get worse. So in order to separate yourself from the general, hoi polloi, you're going to have to bring a standard of excellence on recorded in another episode right now the economy being the way that it is. If you're not moving forward, you're going backwards. There's no standing still right now. There's no coasting. There's no letting it ride. You're either progressing, educating yourself doing awesome work for your clients, or you're sliding backwards and you're gonna wind up in the gutter faster than you think. I understand that's pessimistic. I understand it's not sunshine, roses and gumdrops and lollipops. Just telling you the truth as I see it. So if you are a freelancer, or it's something you're thinking about doing, I would recommend that you avoid the 10 negative things that I have listed off in this episode. Stay safe, stay sane, and I will see you next time.

 

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