December 28, 2018

Fool me twice...

“If you’ve had more than two ’clients from hell’, the problem isn’t the clients.”

I tweeted this message the other day in response to someone who posted a thread listing 10 things they hated about their clients.

I had a number of people respond with reasons why I was wrong about this, implying or explicitly stating that nightmare clients are unavoidable. As if enduring dysfunctional business relationships is simply a cost of doing business. As if getting screwed over was part of the job.

One person suggested that it would require “clairvoyance” to avoid these situations. 

Another stated that “there are just a lot of psychopaths out there.”

Another listed a half dozen failed relationships, all caused by some bizarre mishap that occurred in the client’s life. (His long list merely proved my point but evidently this irony was lost on him.)

Here’s the thing...

A large majority of “client from hell” problems I’ve heard over the years would evaporate if the freelancer or consultant requested 100% up-front payment. 

I suggested this on the Twitter thread and one of the CFH victims replied:

“Hahaha. That would get a dial tone. With all the competition, there’s no way to ask for that much up front.”

What this person is saying is that his prospective clients can’t tell the difference between him and his competitors. 

That is definitely a problem, but... it’s a different problem than he thinks he has.