How To Get Your Clients to Take You Seriously

Do your clients ignore what you say and disregard your advice? Do they decide things behind your back, and just assume you’ll follow along? Do they sometimes treat you as if you aren’t a professional at all?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have a common case of clients not taking you seriously.

Getting clients to take you seriously can be a major issue for some freelancers. How to accomplish this goal often seems like a mystery, but getting your clients to treat you more like a professional is not as difficult as you may think.

In this post we’ll look at a few common ways to get your clients to treat you more like a professional.

Seven Steps To Gaining More Respect as a Professional

How your clients treat you has a lot to do with your own attitudes and behavior. By changing how you communicate and behave with your clients, you can change how they perceive you.

The first step to getting your clients to treat you like a professional is to act more professionally.

Here are some steps you can take gain more respect as a professional:

  1. Don’t sell yourself short. Most of us have been taught to be modest, but for freelancers having too much modesty can actually harm your freelancing business. Make sure to mention all of your pertinent qualifications when applying for freelancing gigs.
  2. Charge what you are really worth. You may be tempted to lowball a bid to get work, but in the end this strategy can backfire. Many clients believe the old adage that “you get what you pay for.” If you aren’t charging professional rates, then it’s possible they won’t view you as a professional.
  3. Own up to mistakes, but don’t allow excessive scope creep. A true professional does assume responsibility for mistakes, but they also don’t allow themselves to be taken advantage of. Have a revision policy in place and stick to it.
  4. Use respectful language. I’m always surprised when I hear about freelancers who use profanity with clients, or even worse, use angry and hateful words. I know that I would lose my respect for someone who treated me like that and most clients will too. No matter how mad you get, keep your language respectful.
  5. Always do your best work. You may feel justified in delivering lower quality work to a client who pays less and reserving your best work for a client who pays more. However, doing a lot of low quality work can also get you labeled as someone who isn’t capable of delivering higher quality.
  6. Be prompt. Whenever possible, keep your appointments and meet your deadlines. Your client’s time is valuable and by respecting it you show that you respect them. If you must be late or miss a deadline, be sure to let them know as soon as possible.
  7. Keep up with the latest advances in your field or specialty. If you don’t keep your knowledge up to date eventually you will no longer be competent to do your work. Your clients will soon realize it and lose respect for you. Take the appropriate classes or read the appropriate materials to stay up to date.

A Quick Trick to Help You Towards Professionalism

Do you still find yourself in situations where you are unsure of how to act? Here’s a quick trick that may help in some particularly challenging cases.

Picture the most professional individual that you know. Next, imagine how that professional individual would handle the challenging situation that you are facing. Finally, try to emulate that professional’s behavior yourself.

This trick doesn’t always work, but a lot of the time it does.

Do Your Clients Treat You Like a Professional?

Do you think that your clients treat you like a professional? Why, or why not?

Share your answer in the comments.


  1. says

    Well, I believe that it’s more a chance of ideology than just following this stuff. I follow just one simple step. Be truthful with your product. People just love it

  2. says

    Another thing that could be added to the list is believing in ones self. Often times we tend to doubt our abilities in something and it ends with us not doing our best…

  3. says

    Great post Laura!
    I think one more thing we require is Patience. Clients can ask for the changes in the given projects many time but we have to respond with patience. This becomes crucial when the client asks too many changes…..

  4. says

    Nice post, I am happy that my clients already respect me and I surely already try to follow everything that you have mentioned.

    During the start of my career I used to miss almost every deadline due to procrastination, but then I realized that I am losing clients and no more work. So I just got up and put removed procrastination from my dictionary and since then I haven’t missed a single deadline.

  5. says

    Great additions to the list. . .

    This is a problem that doesn’t have just one answer. However, many freelancers have trouble getting clients to take them seriously, for a variety of reasons.

    Keep the comments coming!

  6. says

    Often we say that something is simple, easy to do, or won’t take us long – and we want to show that we know what we are doing. (I do this!) Instead, I think it is important to listen to the request and honor the complexity of the work that only and expert like yourself could do and reflect that in our communication. If everyone could do it, they would. They are paying for us because we are the thought leaders/experts in our given fields.

  7. says

    Great post. Another good piece of advice I’ve heard is not telling your clients you work in your pajamas. And, I think it’s also good to not show up to meetings in your pajamas.

  8. says

    All these tips are relevant but from what I’ve learned the #6 is the first you have to follow. You always gain respect when respecting your deadlines. But in general, professionalism has more to do with mentality. Think professional and act like professional and you’ll get it.

  9. says

    Respecting your client’s time is the most important. I do agree.

    There’s an old saying in Spanish that goes: “Being a Ceasar’s wife is not enough, you must also appear like one” (well, you get the idea)

    You don’t have to be a robot nor pretend to be someone you’re not. You can be yourself while being courteous and polite. Just the way you’d expect to be treated by a clerk behind the counter right?

    Brilliant article. Thanks for sharing

  10. says

    There are basis how you will be treated by your client. I think it’s unreasonable to be underrated if you are giving justice to what the word professionalism meant. Strict observance of attitudes and ethics towards work are just few things to keep in mind. Indeed, to be treated professional you should act as a professional. Professionalism is not only measured from the years you stayed in the university nor the titles you acquired. It’s how you make yourself look and behave as professional. ss

  11. says

    Getting clients to take you seriously can be tricky, especially when you first start out and don’t have a long list of existing clients. I have found that while my list of clients is currently on the shorter side, emphasizing the work I have done and do know how to do really helps to gain the respect of potential clients. Know what you’re talking about and say it with confidence. It has helped be a ton!

  12. says

    What i have found to help, besides sticking to your pointers, is 1. Make your estimates as clear as possible (in webdesign, how is a client to know what “setting up a cms” means). It helps to justify your own rates plus you make yourself come across as an expert, since the client actually comes to see what it takes to build a website.

    2. Be proactive in regard to giving advise and suggesting things. If you only do what you are asked to do you diminish yourself to be a robot. Never had a client that disliked us helping them think of new ideas.

  13. says

    I’ve learned a few things:

    1.) Deliver on-time every time! (Nothing hurts more than being late on delivering on a project. You lose trust this way).

    2.) Show up. That’s 90% of the game. Always be on time to appointments, if you’re late, call ahead of time. Be respectful of other people’s time and they’ll respect you more for being professional.

    3.) Admit your mistakes. But take this one step further and offer a solution.

  14. says

    I would add to remind clients that they hired you for a reason and that YOU are the expert/professional. Many clients don’t take design seriously so part of our job is to show them while we are of value w/o insulting their limited design intelligence.

  15. sally says

    how do you tell a client that they can’t sit with you while you work on their logo? Why do they disrepect the crestive and technically process?

  16. says

    More that Would Like to Add
    Replace ‘I’ with ‘We’ (Best to Use Some Respecting Words while Conversing With Clients )
    ‘honesty is the best policy’ (From Childhood the lesson is Learnt by the teacher and Encouraged to follow for being trust of others in you , Same is right here too as it leaves a very positive image


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