How Talking Badly About Clients Can Damage Your Freelance Business


Next time you find yourself at a coffee shop, take a careful look and observe what’s going on around you.

You’ll start to notice that it’s often people talking about other people. What they did, what they didn’t do, and what’s wrong with them.

I learned many years ago that talking badly about other people does more damage to the person doing the talking, than anyone else. I, myself, used to get drawn into these kinds of conversations as well. I had friends and family members who would spend hours talking negatively about others and I would engage right along with them, until the day in 2001 when my yoga teacher recommended the book, “Ask and it is Given,” by Jerry and Esther Hicks.


Back in 2001, my life wasn’t on the path I had envisioned for myself. I’ll spare you the details, but I ended up leaving a very unhealthy marriage and found myself on my own, raising 2 young children.

What You Focus On Grows

The premise of Ask and It is Given is that, “what you focus on grows.” If you’re focusing on negative things and talking about it all day, the negativity grows.

Take your bad client, for example. How they don’t pay you on time and how they treat you poorly and have unreasonable expectations. You probably tell everyone you know the story so they will tell you how you are right and the client is a bad person and then you’ll feel better. But you don’t. Sound familiar?

Observe how these conversations (and all the chatter in your head about this) makes you feel. Frustrated? Angry? The more you feel this, the more negativity you’ll find yourself focusing on, and the more this way of thinking will affect your life.

How to Change

If you’re not perfectly happy with the way things are going in your life, business, or clients, then start paying careful attention to your thoughts and conversations. The goal is to feel positive by focusing on positive things (this includes looking for positive characteristics in everyone).

Be Happy And Don't Talk Badly About Freelance Clients

Start looking carefully at all the relationships in your life. Are they joyful, fun and supportive, or are they energy draining, negative, toxic or stressful?

If you have a large number of negative relationships in your life, chances are that you’re attracting the same kind of clients.

If this sounds in any way like where you’re at right now, it’s very important to carefully examine these relationships. Who are the 10 closest people in your life? Make a list and rate each one on a scale of 1-10, where one is a negative energy drain and 10 is pure joy.

What’s your score out of 100?

Your personal life usually reflects how your business is performing.

Acknowledge that it’s impossible to guess or assume that you know what’s going on inside the head of another person. The best thing you can ever do, is to show genuine interest and ask them directly if you feel something is out of line. If you’d just ask, you may learn that your client was rude because they had an argument with their spouse, or are going through something as traumatic as a divorce.

It’s so easy to sit in a coffee shop and complain to your friend about a bad client, but this will never improve or deepen your relationships. It’s just one negative downward spiral.

In essence, we are all just trying to make our way in the world. We are all good people and we need to start recognizing the good in others. When you stop participating in negative, judgemental conversations, it can make a huge difference in all of your relationships.

It’s time to take responsibility for yourself. You no longer need to be right. If you want to build a good business with great clients, focus on what you like about the clients you have, be grateful that you have clients, and it will build from there.

Check out Master Your People Skills, right here on CreativeLive, for much more on how to live a happy, positive life.

Whether you’re starting your freelance business or growing an existing client base, download our free essential guide to launching a freelance career.

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Rhonda Page FOLLOW >

Rhonda has worked every angle of the design and branding business while doing business development throughout her 25-year career. She shares her in-depth experiences over on Land The Business.