By Bree Brouwer
I used to think pro freelance writers were crazy when they said you should drop your lowest-paying client to make room for one with a bigger budget.
“Don’t they remember what it’s like to have student loan bills come due?” I thought.
But now I realize they were right.
It’s completely possible to drop a bad client and get a better one instead. Here’s how I did it.
How I Met Bob (and Bill)
This past spring, a friend recommended me to her friend Bob (no, that’s not his real name) to do blogging for his company.
Bob couldn’t pay me my $50 per 500-word-post rate, but I agreed to do $30 for 300 words because he had connections to the entertainment industry, where I wanted to get more freelance work. Bob was a nice guy who was impressed with my writing, but I wasn’t happy with my rate.
In July, I attended a new media and gaming convention in Austin, Texas, where I met the owner of a mechanical keyboard company, Bill (nope, not his real name, either). He said he was interested in hiring me, but didn’t have work at the moment. We kept in touch over the next few months.
How I Dumped Bob for Bill
Meanwhile, I went to Bob and told him I wanted to renegotiate our 2-month contract, which was now over. I was honest by telling him I was commanding higher rates than he was paying me, but I’d be willing to negotiate since he was easy to work with.
Unfortunately, Bob came back and told me flat-out he couldn’t even afford to pay me $40 a post. This was after I put together an entire content strategy proposal for him, which he’d also rejected even though I was charging far below the going rate of most professionals.
I realized Bob would never be a good long-term client, no matter how nice he was, because he simply didn’t realize the value I was providing.
I told Bob I’d submit my last post, and it was a pleasure working for him so I hoped he’d let me know if his financial situation ever changed.
Days later, Bill contacted me, saying he needed blogging services.
After an initial phone call, Bill agreed to pay me $175 per 500-word blog post with three social media status updates.
Only a few days after dropping Bob, Bill sent me the $175 per post contract in an email.
Simple as that.
How to Find Your Bill
It might seem impossible that in just 72 hours, I jumped from $120 a month with Bob to $700 a month with Bill (almost 600% raise). You’re probably thinking I’m crazy for dropping a client before I had a new contract signed, much like I thought Carol and other pro writers were when they told me to do it.
But it’s not — you just need to be courageous enough to dump your Bob so there’s a space for better-paying Bill to come along.
Have you dropped a low-paying client? Tell us in the comments below how you did it.
Bree Brouwer is a freelance blogger, content marketing writer, and content strategist.