When a Freelancer Finds Her Unicorn

I have a favorite client. There I said it.

Before becoming a full time freelancer I never thought about the possibility of having a favorite client—although I knew that freelancers had least favorite clients. After all, we hear about them all the time. Every writing blog has posts on how to fire a bad client, how to handle a client who won’t pay up and what to do when you take on a client you have a bad feeling about, just to have all your fears come true.

But you hardly ever hear about the good ones. The clients that make you smile each time their emails hit your inbox. The ones who ask how they can make your job easier and want to know in November if having a tentative schedule of projects for the next year would be useful (YES!). Those clients that pay the very day they receive your invoice.

Well I have a favorite client—let’s call her Lisa—and she’s all that and more. If I’d only believed what I’d read, I never would have believed it was possible. I’d have thought a good client was the unicorn of freelancing…. And I would have missed out.

While it’s important to know what to do when a relationship goes south or when your unicorn turns out to be a dragon instead, it’s also important to remember the good ones are out there. As all of those posts on firing your clients say, one of the benefits to working for yourself is choosing who to work with and who to never work with again—and if you don’t believe unicorns exist you’re probably never going to find them.

Or, when you do find one you might mistake it for just another horse.

It was clear from first contact with Lisa that she was a good one. She had a project she was interested in having me work on immediately. She was in the middle of self-publishing a trilogy, so if she was happy with my work there was a promise of more to come, and she didn’t want to negotiate on price. She thought my rate was more than reasonable and told me so. She had worked with a copyeditor before, so she knew what to expect and could explain those expectations up front.

Someday I’d love to say I only work with people like Lisa. But for this year my goal is to find one more client like her; just one more unicorn. Because after finding a unicorn it’s makes it all the more obvious when a client is just an ass.

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Melissa Breau spent the last three years as an editor at a magazine but in 2011 decided to launch full speed ahead into the freelance life. She currently offers copywriting for small businesses and professional editing for authors, as well as blog posts on each of the above, over at melissabreau.com.


  1. Yes! I love posts that talk about the GOOD clients. I’m happy to say that most of mine are. I only have a couple of “horses” and the rest are gleaming, lovely unicorns.
    dava recently posted..Why No One Reads Your Newsletter

    • I’m working to find a few more unicorns. As a newbie, it was rough breaking in but I lucked out with “Lisa” — she was everything my freelance dreams could have desired and then some.
      Melissa recently posted..The Role of an Editor, Friesen Press Blog

  2. As I was reading this, I was thinking about MY unicorns and smiling from ear to ear. Those clients are what make freelancing the best job in the world. They make me do happy dances in my office. I’m so glad you’ve discovered the wonders of unicorns, Melissa :)
    Natalia Sylvester recently posted..Fresh Ink: An Interview with Debut Novelist Ramona Ausubel

  3. Clients are all blessings good or bad experiences. Good to hear about your



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