Difficult Clients: How to Deal With Bad Freelance Clients!
4.9 (11 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
167 students enrolled

Difficult Clients: How to Deal With Bad Freelance Clients!

Freelancers Learn To Fight Back Against Clients Who Treat You Like Garbage And Run Off With Your Cash!
4.9 (11 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
167 students enrolled
Created by Lex DeVille
Last updated 5/2020
English [Auto]
Current price: $139.99 Original price: $199.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 13 articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • How to deal with difficult freelance clients for better results!
  • How to avoid problems with clients long before they start!
  • Powerful client communication and de-escalation techniques!
  • The 3 levels of difficult client escalation and how to respond at each stage!
  • What to do when clients disappear when they owe you money!
  • You should be interested in freelancing online.
  • You should be interested in delivering great work for your clients.
  • You should want to have an awesome experience with every client.
  • You should be open to unique perspectives on conflict management.

Seven years of freelancing and I've been treated like crap a lot. For some reason, difficult clients think freelancers are employees. No, we're lower than employees. We're the mud on their boots. We're dog poop on the sidewalk.

Difficult clients think it's okay to have you do work and not pay. They expect an instant response from you, while not responding back for weeks. They ignore contracts and deadlines and expect you to adapt. Last but not least, they think if you stand up to them at all, you're inviting them to get angry, call you names and generally tell you off...oh and, there's not a darn thing you can do about it!

Or is there?

In this course, I'll show you how I approach clients who are difficult, troublesome, problematic and generally unpleasant to work with. Inside, I'll share a whole bunch of tactics I use to keep clients in line. Some of the methods involve contracts, formalities, record-keeping, and filtering methods. Others involve deep psychology, influence and persuasion, communication skills, and even devious and downright dirty tactics for defending yourself in worst-case scenarios.

  • Discover how to filter out difficult clients before you get involved with psychopaths!

  • Learn useful communication techniques to avoid negative problems from the start!

  • Gain insight into the levels of conflict escalation and practice de-escalation techniques!

  • Apply mitigation methods and powerful psychological tactics to defend yourself!

  • Learn to fight dirty against clients who refuse to pay or get super nasty with you!

If you're tired of being pushed around by clients, and if you're tired of having your time wasted with nothing to show for it, then this course is for you. If you want to learn how to solve those problems, then scroll up and enroll now!

Your Instructor,
Lex DeVille

P.S. When you enroll in this course you join more than 3,000 students working to escape corporate prison and build a freelance empire! You also gain access to our free student community for collaboration.

Who this course is for:
  • Freelancers who want to know how to deal with problem clients.
  • Freelancers who are dealing with conflicts on Upwork or elsewhere.
  • Freelancers who've been ghosted by clients without pay.
  • Freelancers who want more power to protect themselves online.
  • Freelancers who get treated like crap because clients think we are employees!
Course content
Expand all 52 lectures 02:53:38
+ Introduction
5 lectures 07:42

An brief introduction to the difficult clients course material and what you will learn.

Preview 01:59

Info about how to get support fast and join our growing community of nearly 500 members!

How to Get Support Fast!

Learn what it means to deal with difficult clients.

What is a Difficult Client?

Discover the 4 phases of difficult client management to help prepare you to handle nightmare clients in the event you find yourself stuck with one!

Preview 02:26
The 4 Phases Quick View
Quiz 1
3 questions
+ Mitigation
8 lectures 35:01

This lesson is a brief introduction to the Mitigation phase and what it involves.

Intro to Mitigation

This lesson briefly covers some different personality indicators of difficult clients that can help you spot them before you start working with them.

Key Indicators of Difficult Client Personalities

In this lesson I'll describe how to let clients self-filter so they reject themselves from working with you before you have to do it on your own!

Preview 06:58

This lesson describes a simple way to test for negative client behavior and compatibility AND get paid for it before you ever start officially working together.

How to Test a Client for Problems and Get Paid for Your Time

In this lesson we talk about the important of knowing who is involved in a project and how it can affect your outcomes.

Find Out Who All Will Be Involved

This lesson is all about knowing WHO to take orders from and WHO to avoid if you want to bypass problems in a project.

The ONLY Person You Should Take Orders From...
Helpful Practice Activity 1
Quiz 2
3 questions
+ Preparation
15 lectures 43:59

In this lesson we introduce the Preparation phase and get you ready to start your own preparations for difficult clients!

Introduction to Preparation

This lesson describes what it means to operate as a freelance professional and why it is important in dealing with difficult clients.

Preparation 1 - Professionalism

In this lesson we talk about getting things in writing, why and how you should do it, and how it will protect you later on.

Preparation 2 - Get it in Writing

This lesson includes resources to help you create your own paper trail to document everything.

Resources for Creating a Paper Trail

In this lesson I describe why you should always record your calls, and a few important notes about doing it (such as whether you need the client's permission or not).

Preparation 3 - Record it in Audio

This lesson includes several free resources for recording audio in Skype, Zoom, and by Phone and other sources.

Resources for Recording Audio

This lesson is all about writing an official proposal as part of your paper trail and for addition defense reinforcement for difficult clients.

Preparation 4 - Prepare an Official Proposal

This lesson includes a simple example proposal to help you get going with your own.

Example Proposal

In this lesson I discuss the Master Client Service Agreement and how it will help protect you up front before you get involved with a difficult client.

Preparation 5 - Master Client Service Agreement

This lesson is a link to a free client services agreement template that is designed for freelancers.

Master Client Service Agreement Example

This lesson introduces the Scope of Work Agreement, also called the Statement of Work Agreement.

Preparation 6 - Scope of Work Agreement

This lesson is a link to a free freelance Statement of Work / Scope of Work Agreement.

Scope of Work Agreement Example

In this lesson I describe why you need to get commitments and other promises and statements by the client early on to help protect you later.

Preview 04:45

This lesson is all about getting paid up front and different ways to do that so you never do work for free again!

Preparation 8 - Get a Deposit Up Front for Your Work
Helpful Practice Activity 2
Quiz 3
3 questions
+ Response
9 lectures 43:05

In this lesson we start into the topic of Response phase and how you will respond to clients who turn nasty!

Introduction to Response

This lesson details what you can do when clients disappear on you out of nowhere and with no warning!

What To Do When Clients Disappear For Weeks or Months

In this lesson we'll cover what to do when a client makes you do work but doesn't pay!

What To Do When You Submit Work And The Client Fails To Pay

This lesson is all about dealing with those pesky micro-managers who can be really annoying (but are perfect clients for some people!).

What To Do About Micro-Manager Clients

This lesson covers how I deal with inarticulate clients, and why being vague or poor at communicating isn't necessarily a trait of a difficult client!

What to Do About Clients Who Can't Articulate What They Want

This lesson is all about scope creep and how you'll put an end to it once and for all!

What To Do About Scope Creep Clients

In this lesson we'll deal with clients who "love" you but don't value you enough to pay your rates!

What to Do About Clients Who Love You Right Up Until You Share Your Rates

Finally, we'll talk about how to fire difficult clients when they've gone too far or become too troublesome.

How to Fire a Client
Helpful Practice Activity 3
Quiz 4
2 questions
+ Dirty Fighting Tactics for Really Nasty Clients!
11 lectures 38:58

Before we move into the final phase, we've gotta talk about dirty fighting tactics for when difficult clients get nasty!

Introduction to Dirty Fighting

This lesson describes the role of flattery and liking and how to use them to your advantage.

Flattery & Liking

In this lesson I describe how to use Positive Reinforcement to gain the upper hand.

Positive Reinforcement

In this lesson I show you how to use restricted choices to limit client options!

Restricted Choices

This lesson describes how to play the victim to build empathy in the client and cause an emotional change of heart.

Play the Victim

This lesson describes how to properly use stonewalling AKA the silent treatment to get clients to comply!


This lesson builds on the topic of commitments which we talked about earlier in the course. Now we expand it to social realms.

Get Commitments in Front of Others

In this lesson I describe the approach of baiting the client into making angry mistakes that can be used against them later on!

Baiting the Client to Get Nasty

This lesson is a really nasty fighting tactic that involves very subtle, and extremely devious persuasive suggestion!

Suggesting You Will Become a Problem for Them

This lesson wraps up this section by talking about the importance of never crossing the line or losing control of your emotions so you always keep yourself out of trouble!

How to Keep Yourself Out of Trouble!
Helpful Practice Activity 4
Quiz 5
3 questions
+ Review & Conclusion
4 lectures 04:50

The Review phase is the final phase of the Difficult Client Management process. In this lesson we'll talk about how to review your approach and how to modify things for better results moving forward.

Reviewing Your Results
Helpful Practice Activity 6
Other Useful Resources

The conclusion lesson describes what you can do next and where to go from here.

Where to Go From Here