HELP! I've got a micro-managing client - give me your 'polite' ways for saying back off...

22 replies
Hi Everyone.

I have a client that I am working on some campaigns for - he dabbles and 'helps out' with some many things and is basically a nuisance.

I've mentioned to him I am a bit of a free range kind of worker, a solo Maverick & I'll let him know if I need his input... you get the drift... and yet he wants to micro-manage everything.

He is paying me to get some eMarketing campaigns set up for him and I can't stand people standing and looking over my virtual shoulder.

Anyone had a similar experience?

Give me some pleasant and effective ways for saying butt out please before I lose my cool.

From your free-range friend
#back #client #give #micromanaging #polite #ways
  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Yes, I also hate micro-managers. I have been lucky not to have had many.
    First question...has he already paid you in full?
    If not, perhaps you should politely ask why he hired you to do the job if he's going to micro-manage you. I don't know how much work you have done so far but maybe say that you can't keep on working this way and perhaps you should let him find somebody else.

    IF you HAVE been paid in full, ask why he hired you. Then address the reasons and explain that to do your job, you need to be left alone and wasn't that why he hired you?

    I hope this helps a little and good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author SummerDaze
      Originally Posted by laurencewins View Post

      Yes, I also hate micro-managers. I have been lucky not to have had many.
      First question...has he already paid you in full?
      If not, perhaps you should politely ask why he hired you to do the job if he's going to micro-manage you. I don't know how much work you have done so far but maybe say that you can't keep on working this way and perhaps you should let him find somebody else.

      IF you HAVE been paid in full, ask why he hired you. Then address the reasons and explain that to do your job, you need to be left alone and wasn't that why he hired you?

      I hope this helps a little and good luck!
      Yep, he has paid me.

      I think he is learning a lot about the same area and his micro-managing comes from a passion to find out more but it takes up so much time and I not into this style at all.

      Hopefully he will get the hint soon and once the project is done, I think I will need to access the future of doing any projects for him.

      I had a similar thing happen in a previous job and it was suffocating and I'm just not keen on this style at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author Luke Dennison
    Tell him that micro management is only effective in Age of Empires 3 L0L.

    Seriously though. If you need the money, deal with it.

    If you don't...fire him.
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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    Tell him to get the F off your back, or else


    - Robert Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author G Leg
    Hi,

    When I've experienced this, it was usually because they wanted free training or were control freaks. If it's training they really want and not asking for it, then you will have to decide to walk away or change your fee structure.

    If it's a control issue, you will have decide at which point do you fire your employer.

    I remember seeing in a garage once for mechanic fees:

    Mechanic work $70 hr.
    If customer helps $125
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    Tell him to chill back, you know virtual karate.
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    Hi
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    • Profile picture of the author SummerDaze
      Originally Posted by yukon View Post

      Tell him to chill back, you know virtual karate.
      Yeah, that is my next tactic.
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  • Profile picture of the author pinkknight
    Sometimes the best way to end an unpleasant situation is to escalate it. I know that it sounds like a little bit of an unorthodox solution, but it worked a couple of times for me, though. Sometimes you just need to cut. The more you wait the worst it gets. Yet, to be quite honest I'm not the one who likes to say a goodbye. That's why I like to give you enough reasons to leave me, not the other way around, although that's what I actually want. Just like in a relationship. You have been a bad guy because you want to get out, but for some reason you can't do it and you are waiting for the other party to take the initiative. Not sure this sounds like a win-win situation, but I did the best I could, lol. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Before you get nasty as some seem to suggest - look at your own interaction with this client. WHY is he able to contact you frequently or "look over your shoulder"? Because you tolerated it to begin with?

    I've mentioned to him I am a bit of a free range kind of worker, a solo Maverick & I'll let him know if I need his input... you get the drift...
    You "mentioned" and clearly he did not get the "drift"....probalby felt he was a special client and you were talking about how you work with others.

    Have an honest conversation and set up 'virtual meetings' with him once a week or so to keep him advised of work that's been done....and tell him the frequent contact is slowing you down and you are not comfortable with it.

    Or - if this is something you are working on daily now - send him an update at the end of each day briefly stating what has been done on his campaign.

    Or you can rudely tel him to get off your back, take a hike and half the other things suggested above....and he can find someone else to do the work.
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    • Profile picture of the author SummerDaze
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Before you get nasty as some seem to suggest - look at your own interaction with this client. WHY is he able to contact you frequently or "look over your shoulder"? Because you tolerated it to begin with?

      You "mentioned" and clearly he did not get the "drift"....probalby felt he was a special client and you were talking about how you work with others.

      Have an honest conversation and set up 'virtual meetings' with him once a week or so to keep him advised of work that's been done....and tell him the frequent contact is slowing you down and you are not comfortable with it.

      Or - if this is something you are working on daily now - send him an update at the end of each day briefly stating what has been done on his campaign.

      Or you can rudely tel him to get off your back, take a hike and half the other things suggested above....and he can find someone else to do the work.
      Thanks Kay,

      The project should only be short term, he has paid in advance and I aim to get it finished quickly and then if he does want to do any more work I will outline that clearly that I found his style a little suffocating and for best results I will outline for future projects how it's best to work.

      Thanks for your comments.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    You have to set that up in advance as Kay suggested

    Introduce a new support system and email address indicating that all orders and support should be addressed there. Then state turn around time for support is 24-48 hours.

    The problem now is you are giving him/her instant gratification. if he has to wait.... by the time support answers him it will probably be - thats been done already. That and the wait will at least get him/her out of the habit of getting immediate access to look over your shoulder.
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  • Profile picture of the author rehema
    It will be better to tell him that you will be working from Home and not in his presence so that you can have work done perfectly.

    Should there be anything that he will need to discuss with you it will have to be via skype and give him fixed timing for discussion.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mattj84
    The best thing to do is to be polite, but be blunt at the same time. For example...

    Hey, I appreciate that you want to be involved each step of the way, but when I get into projects for my awesome clients, I really like to get into the zone and stay as focused as possible for the best quality possible and it gets a little distracting when I have to explain what I'm doing each step of the way. So if you could do me a favor and let me get everything done for you, I'd really appreciate it. And don't worry, I'll keep you posted on what's going on and will let you know if I have any questions. Thanks for understanding and I'll get you an update soon.

    Something like that should work and if not....tell them to f-off
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  • Profile picture of the author SummerDaze
    Thanks everyone for your feedback - it's a learning curve for me but I have a few great tactics now to work on thanks to everyone's feedback.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    On the brighter side - the most irritating (to begin with) client I ever had as a freelancer turned out to be the BEST and MOST GENEROUS person I've ever worked with.

    It was a balancing act the first couple of projects but ended up being a 2 year working relationship and once we got our 'personalities' balanced....he was great to work with. It was a matter of getting to know how each of us worked and calmly setting some boundaries. Once he began to trust me he backed off and projects after that were smooth sailing.

    Sometimes extra patience pays off!
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    • Profile picture of the author SummerDaze
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      On the brighter side - the most irritating (to begin with) client I ever had as a freelancer turned out to be the BEST and MOST GENEROUS person I've ever worked with.

      It was a balancing act the first couple of projects but ended up being a 2 year working relationship and once we got our 'personalities' balanced....he was great to work with. It was a matter of getting to know how each of us worked and calmly setting some boundaries. Once he began to trust me he backed off and projects after that were smooth sailing.

      Sometimes extra patience pays off!
      There is something really interesting about the term 'personality balance'.

      I think there are a few occasions with clients first impressions have been made during the early days and then they have changed slightly once they are more comfortable and 'get' what the process is.

      When I have done freelancing in the past it's been a little like teaching the fresh employers the lay of the land and that's interesting as sometimes when you work for a little while you just expect everyone knows what they are doing.

      Trust is a huge factor, especially when paying 50% in advance, so I get why this can occur however the helicopter style of management is challenging when I just like to be a free agent and get the work done.
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  • Profile picture of the author atrbiz
    I used to have this issue in the past, however, now, I've improved my project management process and implement a scrum methodology. Once I've sold a client on a web development project, I will then provide them the project schedule, which typically outlines the weekly update call, etc. I will review design or functionality updates with the client's team on the weekly call via phone and teamviewer.
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  • Profile picture of the author SummerDaze
    It's funny, since I have been managing this a little better now they have really backed off and are working at a really nice distance.

    The tips have certainly worked and project management and laying out the process has been great.

    Pretty impressed now, and not missing him looking over my virtual shoulder
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    they have really backed off and are working at a really nice distance.
    Works, doesn't it? Good going!
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    Every child needs a pet because every family needs an optimist

    Saving one dog will not save the world....but will forever change the world for one dog.
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    • Profile picture of the author SummerDaze
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Works, doesn't it? Good going!
      So much so that I kind of miss it - nah, just kidding
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  • Profile picture of the author aizaku
    do it face to face online..

    that means Skype.

    and tell him how u feel

    -Ike Paz
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    • Profile picture of the author SummerDaze
      Originally Posted by aizaku View Post

      do it face to face online..

      that means Skype.

      and tell him how u feel

      -Ike Paz
      Thanks Ike, thankfully he has got the message so I don't need to confront him about it.

      I think he might have got the hint and now is a little more restrained and probably understands my style a little better.
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