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10 Red Flags to Consider During a New Professional Relationship

<p><em>If you&#39;re self-employed or a freelancer, chances are you&#39;ll have to work with clients. Since you have some power over your professional relationships, you have the right to choose who you do business with. However, it&#39;s not always easy to spot problematic customers from the start. To avoid problematic situations, here are 10 red flags to consider during a new professional relationship.</em></p> <h3><strong>Before you start: set your limits</strong></h3> <p>Before accepting your first contract, it is important to <a href="">identify what your limits are</a>. If you have become self-employed, there is probably a reason, and it may be to have a better quality of life. Take a piece of paper and write down everything that is important to you. You can even write down your values. For example, write down your schedule, unavailability, number of working hours and days off or vacation time. In short, write down your limits and keep them somewhere safe. Doing this will make it easier to respect your limits throughout your freelance career.</p> <p>Obviously, you have the right to deviate from your list, but the important thing here is that it does not become the norm!</p> <p>What should be considered a red flag</p> <p>Yay! You have a potential new customer! However, instead of being enthusiastic, you feel like something is wrong. Here are some customer behaviors to avoid:</p> <h3><strong>The person does not want to sign a contract</strong></h3> <p>As we have mentioned in several articles, <a href="">the service contract</a> is the basis of any professional relationship. This gives both parties protection in the event of a disagreement. If you have a contract and your potential customer refuses to sign it or says it&#39;s not necessary, there&#39;s definitely something wrong.</p> <h3><strong>The person refuses to give a deposit</strong></h3> <p>Many self-employed workers ask for a deposit before starting work, especially when it&#39;s a big project. This ensures you get some payment if the client disappears at the end of the contract. Your business, your rules. If you ask for a deposit and the person refuses, it could be an indicator of problems to come. It&#39;s up to you to ask for a deposit.</p> <h3><strong>The person takes time to negotiate your rates</strong></h3> <p>We know it can be difficult to set your rates, but even harder to defend them to customers who want to negotiate your rates down. Remember that if you give in now, they will do it again, and you will have even more difficulty asking for a price that seems right to you. Here&#39;s a little tip: if a customer wants to negotiate your rates, simply negotiate the workload accordingly.</p> <h3><strong>The person wants to be able to contact you evenings and weekends</strong></h3> <p>Do you remember the list of your limits? If you do not want to be available in the evenings and weekends, you have that right. Just indicate this in your contract and be firm. Here&#39;s another little trick: Some freelancers double their rates when they have to work outside of their regular working hours. This may make some customers think twice when asking you to do this work.</p> <h3><strong>The person does not give any details</strong></h3> <p>Your client has agreed to your terms, and you are about to start working. The problem is they didn&#39;t give you any details or their requests remain vague. Could it be because they don&#39;t know exactly what they want? Before accepting a contract, make sure you understand your client&#39;s requests.</p> <h3><strong>The person does not respect you</strong></h3> <p>This is a big red flag. Respect goes both ways. Just because someone hires you doesn&#39;t mean they have the right to be disrespectful or treat you like a slave. If this happens, you can give a warning and say that this behavior is unacceptable &ndash; obviously if it is. If that doesn&#39;t change anything or you know you can&#39;t do anything to improve the situation, get out!</p> <h3><strong>The person does not respect what was agreed upon</strong></h3> <p>The importance of the service contract! If along the way your customer starts not to respect what was agreed, tell them by mentioning what was decided by both parties at the beginning. If this is too different from the original contract, you have the right to refuse or send a new quote. Set your limits and don&#39;t let these types of customers waste your time.</p> <h3><strong>The person wants you to work only for them</strong></h3> <p>Another important red flag. Maybe you&#39;ve already had a request for exclusivity from a customer? They say they have enough hours to give you, so you don&#39;t need other customers. Be careful, this can turn out to be salaried work in disguise: customers using your services as if you were their employee.</p> <p>In addition to losing your livelihood, if your client decides to terminate the contract, there can be big tax consequences, as you may no longer be considered self-employed in the eyes of the government.</p> <h3><strong>The person wants to know what you are doing at all times</strong></h3> <p>It can way you down to have a client who wants to know everything about your actions. Some clients may want to know if you are really working or if they are getting your money&#39;s worth. This is probably a matter of trust. If your customer doesn&#39;t trust you, you may need to defend your rates and hours worked. If it doesn&#39;t get better over time, find other contracts where you won&#39;t feel like you are constantly being watched.</p> <h3><strong>You just don&#39;t feel it</strong></h3> <p>There could be many reasons why you and your client are not getting along. Most of the time, it is good to follow your instincts. You can decide to finish the work and not renew the contract or just end it where you are at. Your values and well-being are still essential if you want to have a successful career as a freelancer.</p> <p>In conclusion, entrepreneurs are not immune to bad customers, but certain behaviors can stand out and make you think. If you&#39;re not sure what to do, check with a friend or another freelancer around you? They can help you figure it out. If you are looking for other tips, take a look at our article <a href="">8 Tips from Our Freelancers to New Entrepreneurs</a>. Good luck!</p> <p><br /> <br /> <br /> &nbsp;</p> <p><br /> &nbsp;</p>