The main issue I have found with running a business, is the clients. Sometimes you will find what seems like the perfect clients. They will be easy to work with, they won’t have any complaints about pricing, and sometimes they will even bring you return business by referring you to people that they know. However, you will also encounter the worst of the worst. Those clients whom seek to make your work life a living hell!
Fun story. One of my original website design clients, albeit not a bad guy at all, asked me to change the shade of pink on one of the sliders of his website approximately 30-40 times. Eventually, he decided upon the original colour. All in all, between discussions on colour, and actually physically editing and uploading the slider design each time, it added about three hours onto the project. When your standard rate is £50 per hour, that’s essentially £150 down the drain. Or rather, a £50 per hour job has now reduced to, say, £25 per hour due to the wasted time.
I’ve also had another client from the states a few years ago. The woman was lovely initially. However, she began to show the tell-tale signs of a nightmare client. Peppering me with emails with micro-changes to a website. Irrational, overly complex changes, and not taking my advice on matters at all. Here’s a tip: When you seek an expert for something, with the assumption that you don’t know how to do it yourself, perhaps listen to their expert advice? After being sworn at multiple times by the woman, she cast me off to what I can only describe as a poor girl within her company who had quite obviously been dumped with the task of dealing with the website. Long story short, I was glad to get rid of this client!
The Perfect Client
On the other hand, there are some clients who are just a dream to work with. I have a client here in the UK who regularly comes back to me for work, and is always kind and courteous, as well as pays on time. If only I could duplicate her! My job would be so much more simple. Albeit, there’s very little direct correlation between factors creating the perfect client. I have found, to a degree, that clients who are willing to casually pay larger sums of money for work, are generally speaking, slightly easier to work with. It is the individuals who have less money who tend to be a nightmare to work with, as they try and skin you alive for every last ounce of value from their hard earned money.
To quote Jack Ma (Founder of Alibaba): “The worst people to serve are the poor people. Give them free, they think it’s a trap. Tell them it’s a small investment, they’ll say ‘cant earn much’. Tell them to come in big, they’ll say no money. Tell them to try new things, they’ll say no experience. Tell them it’s traditional business, they’ll say hard to do. Tell them it’s a new business model, they’ll say it’s MLM. Tell them to run a shop, they’ll say no freedom. Tell them to run a new business, they’ll say no expertise”
While Jack Ma wasn’t talking specifically about my clients, obviously. The quote resonates quite well. Now, this isn’t a Rich VS Poor argument. It’s merely a matter of perceived value on the behalf of the clients. Two clients could have the exact same bank balance, but one realises that a £1,000 investment is going to return tenfold over the years. While the other is hesitant and lacks belief in their ability to translate that investment into a return.
Furthermore, I’ve found that gutsier clients are generally far easier to work with. Those whom apply the “both feet first” mentality to business may in fact be applying more risk to their business and personal lives. However, at the end of the day, nobody in this world has obtained huge success by taking baby steps and being careful every step of the way. From Bill Gates, to Warren Buffett, to Leonardo DiCaprio. Each of them are where they are today because risk and reward are directly correlated. Depending on how pessimistic you are, you may also argue that risk is also directly related to the level of failure as well. That’s the difference between businesses which are colossal success stories, and those whom barely make it. Massive success is worth the risk of destructive failure.
and that, is what makes a great client. One who has that drive to succeed. The cost of hiring me is just a stepping stone on the journey to achieving that colossal success. Their business doesn’t ‘do or die’ with me, but they realise I am an important fragment of the overall picture. The ‘bad’ client, puts too much dependance on the small things. Overthinks everything. Overthinks price. Overthinks perfection.
All these things can be ironed out over time. In business, think towards the overall goal. Not the small ones. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself tripping up before you can run.