One major perk to being your own boss is that you can pick who you work with. You can decide who you team up with, collaborate with and who you want as clients. While this is a big upside, it can take some time to figure out and not all of us learn the easy way.


We’ve all had bad experiences working with certain personality types. Whether it’s at a workplace or a freelance client, it’s never a fun time to deal with. It’s not something that ever goes away even when working for yourself, but you do have a bit more control and there a few things you can do to screen projects and clients before partnering up.


It’s not worth working with toxic people or on projects that don’t interest you. The way people talk to you is important and you should never feel as if you are being treated poorly or as if you are “less than.” Any teamwork requires mutual respect and this is no exception!


We will all have a different idea of what is acceptable and what is not, but here are a few of my tips for picking who you work with:


Overall concept

  • Does the project excite you?
  • Does it provide you with a challenge or a way to grow professionally?
  • Is there future potential for continued work?
  • Is this project a good example of other work you’d like to attract?

The person

  • Do you enjoy talking with this person?
  • Are they open to new ideas and collaboration?
  • Do they value your opinion?
  • Are they willing to commit to the project under your terms?
  • How responsive are they?


  • Are you able to meet the demands of this project per the timeline?
  • Do you have the mental energy to complete the project?
  • Does the workload and compensation feel appropriate?


how to select clients to work with


Even if you think you’ve picked a great client to work with or a great team member to collaborate with, it doesn’t mean it will always work out. It’s bound to happen that things don’t go as planned and that’s okay! it’s all about learning your work style and what you are most comfortable with. Always have proper contracts in place with a clause about canceling the project—you need to protect yourself and have an exit strategy if needed.


You are doing yourself, the client and the project a disservice by taking on things that you know are not a good fit for your work style. It’s completely acceptable to say “no” to projects or people that don’t fit in your scope of “acceptable.” This allows the person to look elsewhere for someone who is indeed the perfect fit for their project—that’s a win for everyone.


This is your job, so you want to set a standard for yourself because you are ultimately in charge of the health of your work “environment.” How do you want to feel when your working on projects, communicating with others and after the project wraps? It’s important to be clear on who aligns with you the best and say NO to anything less.


Does something just feel off? Trust your gut. It’s completely acceptable to pass without any kind of excuse.


What’s your client criteria? Comment below =)


“Believe in the value you bring, take on clients who inspire you and pass on any that dosn’t.” – ME


Thanks for reading,


Lauren Fischer Designs