Okay, okay this is only happening because I received emails about my last post.
I have a bunch of clients that I adore. You’ll know that I adore them because I blog about them on my Wall of Fame (although some of you are going on there as soon as I get your websites up and running so don’t worry if you’re not on it). As I review my list of clients who will be going on that wall I realized that all of them are “dreamers” who have both vision and empathy. They are people who look at this world and think “I want to change it my own way.” That type of person has the ability to see you, see your value, because they have a refined sense of humanity. I can tell by their product and how they write to me that I will love them and want to help them fulfill that vision. Eric Gibson and I clicked from the beginning and he’s not only a client now, but a friend. Isaac at Illuminati Watcher is another one that I adore. He’s kind, empathic, and visionary.
If you find one of these clients, latch on and go for the ride.
Conversely, and you know I had to go there, there are those who are not so great. Rather than enter into an agreement you will hate, I am going to teach you how to spot them so that you don’t have to deal with the inevitable headaches, baggage, and complaints.
Spotting a Bad Client
A bad client can also be a good person, which is exactly why you should avoid taking the gig as to avoid confrontation or negative feelings towards a good person. All of us have been someone’s “worst client of the day”. The day my mother went into the hospital I cursed out the taxicab driver for being “too stupid to know how to get to the hospital” quickly. Yes, I called later to apologize, but I was a bad client that day.
I imagine that many people who watch their business falter for lack of “something” can be tense, reactive and unkind. Financial trouble can tear down the best of us.
And then there are some people who are just assholes and need to be avoided.
So how do you spot these people and how to do avoid working with them?
Step One: Understand the Warning Signs
A Client from Hell will begin by wasting your time. An example of this would be on a microjob site like Fiverr where the clients pay $5 for a writing gig and then asks you questions like:
What do I get for the gig? Proving they either a) didn’t read your gig, or b) are trying to tacitly show you that they don’t feel what they get is sufficient for the $5.
Can I see your portfolio? Now, if this person comes to you through your own website and is someone willing to pay market rates, by all means whip out the portfolio and be proud! If this is on a microjob site, think it over first. If you have no customer reviews this is acceptable to ask, but you can still say “no” (I’ll explain why later in the piece). If you have customer reviews then decline and refer them to the reviews. I’m always suspicious of someone who wants to treat a $5 gig like a $100 gig. If they’re this picky when the price is only $5 and don’t understand that a site like Fiverr makes all parties assume risk, then they won’t understand much.
Protip: Only show sample work to people willing to give you their name or email address.
Another sad reason to avoid showing your work on a site like that is that once you send an anonymous person an example they now own that property and can use it. This has happened to multiple people on Fiverr, both through the PM function and by the buyer canceling the order after delivery. It’s a sad scam, but it happens more than you know.
How many revisions can I get? Again, if this person comes through legit means, that’s reasonable. If they are asking you on a site like Fiverr or Freelancer, then look out! You’ll be revising until they cancel the order and take your work.
Are you willing to lower your price and raise your word count if we send you a bulk order? You know the drill, if this comes through a legitimate source you should weight the answer and ask how many they’re willing to purchase and negotiate an upfront rate. If it comes through fiverr you know they’re trouble. They’re already paying bargain basement prices and want a bigger bargain.
This is like going to the Dollar Tree and trying to haggle with the sales girl by telling her that you will buy all the 5 year old Arizona Ice tea if you can get them for a quarter.
When people on a site like Fiverr begin this way with me, I tell them before they purchase my gig that they won’t want my service. They cannot review you if you don’t accept the gig. They cannot pester you if you don’t accept the gig. They cannot make your life miserable if you don’t accept.
I have said flat-out to several people “I don’t want this gig, but I’m sure there are people on here that do want it.”
It really is best.