I was speaking to a friend of mine who recently sold his offline business for a very hansom amount.
When asking him what the one piece of advice to give to anyone starting out or looking to really grow their offline service he stated that"
1) Always always always get paid to spec out the work - if they don't pay for the spec then chances are they will be a real pain in the backside when it comes to paying.
and secondly he said:
"Every year pick your worst client and FIRE them in-order to allow growth at the other end of the scale .
So here are 5 reasons to help identify which client to fire
1) Death by Email - We have all been there and had a client that sends out emails like there is no tomorrow. One project I was doing would regularly deliver over 200 + un edited emails containing sporadic thoughts with zero clear actions to follow. Mix this with the people CC'd that feel obliged to respond to any message meant that most of my day would be spent clearing my inbox and deciphering badly formatted emails looking for the important parts. It sucks - fire them
2) Desperate Dans - This is a horrible type of client and ones that I have been very familiar with. Basically anyone that is relying on you to get them rich quickly should be fired and avoided like the plague. They will phone you in the evening and weekends and the more desperate they get the more likely they will slow you and your other clients projects down.
3) Lazy Larry's - These guys officially suck! They want you to do something - you need their input - they delay the whole project and then take weeks to get back to you. Project stalls cash flow can then go tits up.
If they can't be bothered to help themselves then why should you be bothered to help them
4) Project Creep Pete - Can you just do.... how easy is it to add....... can you try this....... how easy is it to do......... I am paying the invoice now can you just do this before I do........ I know I said this but can you do that..... "
Yea sure - always try and deliver a great service to every client every time, focus on keeping them happy but make sure they don't EXPECT you to.
Always under promise but over deliver!
I am the worst person for this, I always go above and beyond and try and match every expectation that any client has.
When I think the amount of time I lost in the early years It makes me sick.
5) Bullyish Bobs - I recently was in a meeting where the client said " when I hit this big red button, I expect the work done yesterday"
My response was:
"If you want something done yesterday then you should have told me as early as possible so I can take a look at it, plan it in, get the job done, get it tested and approved so we can go live with the changes "
Bottom line - these people are the worst to deal with PERIOD - they think that just because they give you work that you are under their control.
Yes they may be one of your biggest clients but they can also be the biggest pain in the butt out of all them.
My final thought - dont think that life is always rosie when working for yourself
A very wise man recently said to me
"Do work that you want to do with people you want to do it with"
a MASSIVE life lesson to learn there
I have been more depressed, stressed and down when dealing with awkward clients then I ever was in full time employment.
But heck it aint half sweet when you get it nailed!