How freelancers can avoid the 8 types of bad clients (vampire clients!) - Brittany Ratelle - Attorney for Creators - Creative Counsel podcast episode 70

Vampire Clients: How Freelancers Can Avoid the 8 Types of Bad Clients

Apr 27, 2022


What is a vampire client (bad clients who “suck you dry”) and how can you avoid them? Or are there no bad clients but only bad “systems” for managing those clients? (and let’s be clear…we’re not talking about brooding vampires with extra “sparkle” or annoyingly hot vampire brothers…) We’re all with Team Jacob on this one.


Listen to this Creative Counsel podcast episode from Attorney for Creators Brittany Ratelle and learn all about vampire clients, red flags, and what you can avoid before, during, and after working with these nightmare clients to manage boundaries over your time, money, and energy.


This episode will help any done-for-your or service-based business (SBB) protect their most precious resource, their energy (yes, it’s even more important than time), and make sure you are setting up your modern freelance business for success.


We’ll also dish on my favorite legal and business process tips to set up clear collaborative contracts that establish healthy working relationships so that you can keep doing client work without hitting freelancer burnout.


Creative Counsel Episode 70

In this podcast episode, you will learn

  1. Why you need to Trust Your Gut!
  2. How to set up Business Boundaries and why they are so critical for a service-based-business
    1. How a solid and clear “collaborative Contract ” is good for everyone…
    2. How to use contracts to help outline and give scaffolding support to your business processes, instead of using legal contracts as tiny-print battering rams to “catch” your clients (not recommended!) Remember that your contract should be ONE place (not the only place) where you set expectations!
  3.   How to avoid these 8 types of nightmare (vampire) clients!
    1. The Existential Wanderer
    2. The DIYer
    3. The Scope Creeper
    4. The Ghoster
    5. The Exposure Exchanger
    6. The Clinger
    7. The Copy-Cat
    8. The  Hand-Shake Hank
  4. If you ARE working with one (or more) of these bad clients right now– what can you do to minimize the damage and to know better and do better for the next engagement?
  5. The contracts you may need for your business and how to use them right

Grab the handout for this episode with the bad client “cheat-sheet”? Download HERE.

Contracts You May Need:

Client Service Agreement

This is the MOST important agreement a service-based-business should have dialed in for their business. This fairly-drafted template is drafted for graphic/web/UX designers, interior designers, social media managers, launch specialists, copywriters, and dozens of other “done for you” service and creative professionals to hand to their clients as part of their client/on-boarding or sales process and easily integrates with Dubsado, Honeybook, or other CRM software.


Photographer Client Service Agreement

Are you a photographer (of any type) and finally ready for a “real” contract? Get this attorney-drafted, industry-tested template TODAY!  Comes with color-coded fields, a video tutorial and written instructions so that your next client is on the “same page” with you and your awesome photography services. This agreement has been tried and tested with dozens of photography businesses just like yours so that it sets up clear expectations of what you and your client will be doing to have a successful business relationship. This template comes with highlighted fields so that you can customize the services you are providing, including the kind of payment options you do  — AND it has all of the legalese to make it legit in the eyes of a higher power, a judge, or Oprah (not necessarily in that order).


VIP Day Client Service Agreement 

Do you offer VIP days (usually intense 4-figure service packages done in 1-2 days for a specific client?) VIP days are SO HOT right now, Todd…so make sure you have an agreement that protects these high-ticket offers and reassures your clients that you have a VIP process t match that VIP pricing.


Voice-Over Client Service Agreement

Do you provide voice-over work for clients or agencies and are ready for an agreement that actually covers the kind of work you do (instead of being cobbled together-Frankenstein-style from free ones on the internet?) Perfect for Voice-over artists, vocalists, Supporting or backup singers, Audiobook narrators, Video game/interactive media actors or other Voice actors — this agreement covers all of the legal bases, including clear intellectual property/licensing language over what the client is purchasing rights to, and at what price.


Independent Contractor Agreement

If you are hiring a freelancer (of any type!) including a VA, make sure you have protected and outlined that working relationship with an independent contractor agreement so that your 1099er knows what to expect with NDA/confidentiality language, IP/work-for-hire terms, and all of the other legalese you need to safeguard a great professional relationship.


Coaching/Consultant Bundle 

Are you a life coach, business coach, or another coaching-sub-specialist and want to outline your client relationship? Minimize client no-shows, false starts, and mismatched expectations? This Master Service Agreement (MSA) or client service agreement is perfect for:

  • Life coaches
  • Business coaches
  • Relationship coaches
  • Couple coaches
  • Wellness coaches
  • Weight-loss coaches
  • Fitness coaches
  • Any other type of 1:1 consultant work


Website Bundle

Don’t run around the internet with a naked footer. If you have a website (regardless of what type) — you HAVE to have certain legal docs (e.g. a privacy policy) in your footer. And if you have content on your website, or are selling anything — you should have some legit terms that visitors are agreeing to upon visiting and CERTAINLY upon checkout. Get everything you need to get your website footer legally legit with the all-in-one GDPR approved Website Bundle.

Episode Handout

Bad client “cheat-sheet” – Download HERE!

Free Resources

Want a free LEGAL workbook to get your creative business legally legit? Download HERE and get access to my newsletter with tips and tricks for YOUR growing creative business.

Listen and subscribe to Creative Counsel on iTunesOvercastStitcherSpotify &  iHeartRadio

Or browse through my quick tips and tricks by connecting on Instagram.

Let’s Connect

Interested in working with Brittany for one-on-one legal services? Sign up for a free 15-min phone consult at brittanyratelle.com/services.


Want an attorney-drafted, industry-tested legal template for your business? Take a free quiz and find out exactly what you need for your creative business at creativecontracts.co.


Or, browse through my quick tips and tricks by connecting on Instagram.


*Not legal advice. For informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship.*

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