We interrupt this happy-go-kumbaya-filled Freelance Copywriter Month to bring you a quick hit of reality.


Don’t y’just love clients? Except when you don’t. Like, not even a little. Like, you hate dealing with clients so much that you consider quitting freelancing entirely and opening a FroYoGo shop. Ah, the serenity of wiping melted yogurt out of tiny grates and watching kids stick their dirty little fingers into every single topping container. Light years better than dealing with clients.

It wasn’t always this way.

There was a time when you believed in your clients’ excitement – and you felt it, too.

They said all the right things. They laughed at your jokes, and you laughed at theirs. You hung up the phone after the first call, and you told anyone who’d listen just how “cool” and “different” this client was.

But things never stay that way, do they? Turns out: they told you what you wanted to hear.

So today, let’s answer the question: “What did you mean when you said that?”

Drag the slider on each image below to see what clients say vs what clients mean.

“Let your creative juices flow”

Perhaps the most wonderful phrase for a creative to hear! You get to dust off your imagination and pull ideas down from the Too Risky to Bother Pitching shelf of your brain. But what did your clients really mean when they said that?


“A motivated self-starter”

Great, you won’t be micromanaged! Not at all. Not even a little bit. Not until the day before the deadline – the perfect time for the client to chime in.


“Take it to the next level”

Slightly vague, but it could be fun to try to take what you do to the proverbial next level. This should be a real treat!


“Let’s find our brand voice”

Sure, they’ve got a voice in mind. They want to sound like This Big Company They’re Nothing Like That Serves a Totally Different Audience. But maybe you can talk them out of it. Maybe you can uncover a voice that’s really true to them…


“Do it for the exposure”

We all get a little flutter of excitement when emails from marketing managers at big, impressive brands appear in our inbox. We think of how awesome it’ll be to put their logo on our site, to call them a client, to include our work for them in our portfolio. We’d do almost anything to land them… and they know it.


“Try something different”

At last, that beautiful moment when a client encourages you to go down a new path. They’re ready for it. They’re hoping against hope that YOU can see into the depths of their brand’s soul like no one else can. (They’re not gonna pay you more for that skill, of course. But you’ll be measured against it.) So you write something different… and you present it to them…

Did we miss any?

What have your clients told you to get you stoked… only to turn around and mean exactly the opposite?

Share your stories of survival below.