Should You Take on a Less-Than-Ideal Client … or Focus on Marketing Instead?

A coaching client came to me recently with an all-too-common dilemma.

Business was slow, and she needed to get things moving. So she was preparing to do a major marketing push. But then a new potential client dropped into her lap.

The problem? The client was less than ideal.

The company was smaller than what my coaching client typically worked with. She got the sense that the company might need a good amount of handholding. And while the marketing and sales guy was keen, the CEO wasn’t entirely sold on the concept of bringing in a writer.

Her question to me was whether she should push ahead with marketing as planned and not take on this new client … or take on the client and forgo her marketing push.

There’s no absolute right or wrong answer here. The decision you should make in similar circumstances would depend upon your specific situation.

But to help you decide on a course of action, I suggest you ask yourself the following two questions:

1. How badly do you need to fill the gap?

What’s your current financial situation? Can you manage for a period of several weeks at a lower rate of income until you can land a more suitable client?

If you can manage to hold off, even at the cost of some short-term income and stress, it will make your life easier in the long run. Those few extra weeks may give you the time you need to land a more suitable client. A client that will pay better, stay with you longer, and give you fewer headaches.

Keep in mind that if you DO decide to hold out for a better client, you won’t necessarily need to wait until the project is complete before getting paid. You can always ask for a deposit upfront to supplement your cash flow.

2. What does your gut tell you?

Trust your instincts. Every time I’ve suspected that a client will be a pain to work with, I’ve been proven right. But it’s often been even worse than I feared!

Yes, this new client may help fill your income gap. But they may end up costing you in time and lost sleep. Even worse, they may prevent you from taking on a better client when one comes along.

Essentially, my advice boils down to this: If you absolutely need the income, then take on the client if you think you can make it work, even temporarily.

But if you can hold on a little longer until you find something better—and if you have some good prospects in your pipeline—then I would think about doing that.

Plan for the Future to Avoid This Situation

The greater lesson in this scenario is to avoid it in the first place.

Money in the bank and heavily targeted prospecting is a winning combination. When you do full-tilt prospecting for several weeks, you significantly increase your chances of getting results.

And having some financial cushion (even if it’s small) gives you way more flexibility to make decisions that will serve you better in the long run.

So once you’ve ridden out this cycle and things have settled down, develop a plan to stop it from happening again.

And that means putting away some financial resources over time and committing to regular marketing and nurturing.


By the way … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1. Grab a free copy of my training class for writers who are new to freelancing.
It’s called “The 3 Magic Levers: How to Get Your Writing Business Off the Ground and Land Your First Paying Client.” Click Here

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You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here

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You’ll get a personalized action plan based on where you are today in your business. Plus all the tools, scripts, checklists, cheat sheets and templates you’ll need to escape feast-or-famine … grow your income … and land clients who love and respect you. — Click Here

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