10 of the Scariest Clients and How to Recognize Them!
If Your Most Difficult Clients Were Movie Monsters, How Would You Survive?
I love my clients. Not just because they pay me for doing what I love, but because of the different relationships I share with each of them. No two experiences are the same. While some are better than others, they all are learning and growing experiences. In the beginning stages of my business, it was very difficult to navigate some of these relationships. If I came across a frustrated or indecisive client, I would quickly dismiss them as a lost cause and put the blame on them. As I have matured, I have learned that I am responsible for helping the client find their vision. Patience is perhaps the most important lesson when accomplishing this. A good amount of patience and understanding can help turn some of the most hopeless relationships into long lasting and fruitful ones!
With my favorite holiday approaching, Halloween, I’ve decided to use popular movie monsters to describe some of the more difficult clients I have come across. Keep in mind, just because I’m using monsters, does not mean that all of these cases are beyond saving. On the contrary, many can be saved and turned into a great learning experience.
The ultimate goal of this list is to help identify common client traits and how to respond when you encounter them.
Enjoy my awesome depictions.
These clients tend to suck all your energy and creativity! If you make your working relationship more of a collaborative effort rather than you developing all the ideas and waiting for approval, your work sessions will be much more enjoyable and energizing!
#2: Frankenstein’s Monster
These clients have no idea what they want but they need your help figuring that out! This can end badly because the client may go with an idea that is more you than them. Avoid this situation by really taking the time get to know your client and their vision!
#3: The Werewolf
These clients start of with great promise! You dismiss their tales of previous bad design experiences only to find out it was THEM the whole time! That accommodating, eager to work together attitude turns into an indecisive, insatiable annoyance! Avoid this situation by paying close attention to red flags and documenting everything the client wants at onset of the project.
#4: The Mummy
These clients tend to get wrapped up in their old ways. They dismiss new, potentially groundbreaking ideas, simply because they don’t understand or aren’t used to them. Take the time to teach these clients how to think outside the box. Remind them that you’re an expert and they came to you for a reason!
#5: The Invisible Man
These clients start off as very accessible. However, as the project goes on, you hear from them less and less. Suddenly, they make their grand return, along with a bunch of unplanned changes! This can be a frustrating and expensive issue. Avoid this situation by maintaining consistent contact with the client. Keep them up to date with all progress on the project.
#6: The Nightmare
These clients have no boundaries when it comes to time. They will call you all times of the night because the completion of their project is a mater of life and death! Avoid these late calls by establishing concrete work hours at the start of a project. Setting an automatic voicemail after hours will make your message clear!
#7 The Lochness Monster
Rather than paying for labor, these clients promise payment through phantom equity (basically, when they make it big, they’ll handsomely reward you for your hard work). While this situation could be potentially fruitful, you run a greater risk of working for free. Make sure that you are always adequately compensated for your work.
These clients make all their decisions by way of committee. This can be a real pain because simple decisions can take days or even weeks! There is nothing more frustrating than having your project ripped apart by slow-moving strangers! Avoid this by choosing one person to serve as your filter. Teach this individual to think like a designer and this will help discard any opinions that aren’t relevant to the project goal!
“I need this done yesterday” is a common phrase from this client. They tend to have no knowledge of the space-time continuum and forget that they are not your only client. Fortunately, this situation puts bargaining power in your hands. Rush jobs take away from other client projects, limit creativity and reduce time for revisions. Therefore, know your worth and charge accordingly.
#10 The Halloween
All the requirements have been completed and the last payment has been made. Just when you thought the project was over, the client returns with even more changes! Resist the “price-based revisions” route; a tactic commonly used by cheap design websites. An alternative solution would be allowing as many revisions necessary, provided they are within the project budget or time constraints. Any additional labor should be charged accordingly.
Well, that is all for the 10 scariest clients and how to recognize them! I must reiterate that I appreciate all my clients and their invaluable relationships. I hope no one takes these personally and enjoy them! Happy Halloween!