Guerrilla Freelancing

Learn & network with other freelancers Join The Trenches

5 Dreaded buzz kill phrases every freelancer should avoid

If you've been freelancing for more than a week, I'm sure you've heard these phrases before. Maybe you've been good at spotting them out when someone emails you or maybe you're new to the freelance life and want to find out what phrases are going to be most common - and ones you should look out for. Whatever your situation, this article is sure to hit home for freelancers around the world.

Lets get to it.

This is an easy job and I can do this myself, but...

Really? You could really do this yourself, but you just so happen to want to give the pleasure of doing your work for you to someone else, for a much cheaper rate and, why? Because you don't have the time? Because you don't like doing these types of tasks? I know there are those of us out there who do outsource some work, but I can guarantee you that these words have never been said by someone with an actual skill set.

What they're really saying: I've never done anything like this before, but I need to make myself look smart because I think that by doing so, you'll be scared to give me your real prices and, well, I want to make this entire process as hard on you as I can - as long as it's great for me.

If you can hook me up this time, I'll send you all of my future work

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this one is what freelancers as a whole see most often - the good old 'hook me up' phrase. You've got to be cautious of this type of client because they're never out for your best interests - they're only looking out for their own.

What they're really saying: Well, I don't have much money and I don't really know anybody, but I'm going to lie and tell you I have both because I want to get something for nothing. Are you dumb enough to fall for it? The lint in my pocket sure hopes you are.

This is the perfect project for your portfolio

Here's a good one. This is the one where the client seems to think he knows what's best for you and your portfolio. They just know that the work you'll do for them will be so fantastic that you'll want to feature it in your portfolio. This is wrong for a couple of reasons.

One, this is a red flag that they're the type of client who thinks they know what's best. Trust me, it only gets worst from here. This is also a red flag because they're going to be expecting the type of work you'll want to feature - killer work, but they'll rarely have the budget to go with it.

What they're really saying:Hey buddy, I know that you've got a good portfolio but I want you to bleed over your keyboard in order to make my work the best you've ever done. Oh, and did I mention that my budget is about half of what you're used to? It's ok though because the website will look really good in your portfolio.

It should only take an experienced person an hour

This is one of the things I see most often. I'm guessing there's an unwritten rule somewhere that states you must put this in your job listing or initial contact email in order to ensure that you're getting the best price possible.

What they're really saying: I don't really know anything about what I need done, but what I do know is that I want it done for really cheap, so I'm going to convince you that it's only a small project - even though you know better.

I don't have a large budget but I can help promote your site

This one is kind of a two-for-one when it comes to buzz kill phrases. They're usually said all at one time like this, but don't let them fool you if they're said alone (I don't have a large budget) and (I can help promote your site) are both individual phrases that should be avoided at all costs.

What they're really saying: I want to get my work done for really cheap and in order to get that done, I'll tell you that I know people and/or can get you tons of exposure.

What do you think?

Are there ones we're missing? Let me know in the comments if you've ran across any of these buzz kill phrases before or if you've got some that aren't listed - I know there's got to be more.

Sign up below and receive our free ebook - 10 Guerrilla Marketing Tactics Using Your Business Cards

Plus, receive weekly freelance advice delivered straight to your inbox. No spam, no bullshit.


  1. Nivvie says:

    Hah! This article gave me a chuckle.

    In all seriousness though, I’ve experienced this time and time again.

Leave a Reply