Nightmare Clients: Something All Creatives are Faced With

by | Feb 7, 2010 | Design Philosophy

Facing that annoying, agonizing client…? Well, that’s something which we all face, good or bad, freelance to full-on company. You know the kind, the client who makes a fuss about every word of a standard contract and wastes your time for weeks revising legal speak. Or perhaps it’s the client who asks you to take on an impossible deadline and when you produce the deliverables, they disappear for two weeks. These clients are plenty in abundance and can be found in any business setting disguising themselves as your company’s “next biggest thing”.

I’ve had the unfortunate opportunity to face this type of client a number of times in my career and I can only say, it’s truly a grueling experience. Yet, you’re better than that, you don’t have to put up with it and you have to face each client with the thought that they need you and not the other way around.

I am not talking about being pompous or self righteous. I’m talking about being straight-forward and candid. You have morals, ethics and value. A client should never allow you to compromise yourself. So make sure you take the right steps and not allow them the privilege of taking advantage of your open willingness to do business. There are, however, a few things you can do to make sure you get your ducks in a row and put you/your company on the right track to success.

Build Yourself Up

Make sure that you do everything you can to network, self-promote, spread word about your services and simply “do” great work. This way, your reputation and experience is your worth. You just can’t go to the store and buy this off the shelf.

Be Genuine

Don’t compromise yourself. If you can’t commit to something because of budget, time line, or workload, say so. No one likes a flake and your client will ALWAYS respect the fact that your are straight forward and honest. If they don’t, they’re not the client you want.

Do the Work You Want To

I mean it. Don’t take on work that doesn’t interest you. If the pay is good, that may be something you can potentially put your time into, because now the client understands your value and wants you to come up with a creative solution to their unique problem. But if the project is bad, the pay is mediocre, and the client is a nightmare, “PASS”. Then, keep moving forward. Your dream clients are just a few steps away from you. Keep digging and you will find them.

This rant has been in response to this article posted by John Noe of Rokkan about ditching his only client and how that helped his business grow! You can find the article here.