When I first started out one of my biggest mistakes was saying “yes” to everybody and anybody. I needed to get some money in after all. But retrospectively, it would have been far better for me to say “no thanks” and carry on being poor.
This is because the clients I did take on, were so stressful that they ate up too much of my time. Time that could have been spent getting better clients. Having no time to scout new clients is not always a bad thing, being at full capacity is great, if you’re getting paid enough. But if you have a client that requires a high level of work, for not much dough, then you’ll find your business really fails to launch. A good client will respect your time, and pay you what you require to do the work. By paying you well, they understand that you are a priority to them and that a section of your time is safely reserved for them when they require it. A bad client will not pay you enough, but still expect premium service – including calling you out of hours and expecting endless revisions.
Here are some ways you can spot a “bad” client. Some of these may sound obvious, but I have fallen for them in my desperation to grow my start up.
- Someone who wants to pay you commission only.
People tend to offer this kind of work because they don’t have the money already in the pot. A typical, well running business will keep 10-12% of their profits aside for marketing. If a business does not have the money in this pot to pay a marketer/content writer/designer/photographer in the typical fashion, their business is not stable.
On the surface, it sounds good. You could end up earning unlimited amounts of commission. Really, the only people who should be considering this type of work are sales staff, because they can directly prove when a customer has made a purchase. But even then, it’s sketchy. A salesperson who has spent their time, energy and talent trying to sell a product or service should be rewarded, EVEN IF the product or service is not sellable.
So not only is the business not stable enough to have money aside for marketing, there is the potential that you may not be able to prove what you have sold, and then there is an extra factor that the product or service just might not be something that people really want – due to a multitude of reasons. Not all businesses get off the ground, you don’t want to be investing in that without clear cut payment.
2. Someone who promises you endless wealth and high payment, if you just help them in the start up phase, they will be able to pay you/pay you more once they take off.
Running a startup is incredibly difficult. There are lots of late nights, hard work and the chance that none of this will actually work out. No one should expect you to dedicate yourself to their business for cheap/free. It’s a HUGE gamble to invest in a startup in this manner if you have no guarantee that it will work out. On top of that, you’re taking this
If this person were seeking financial investment, they’d provide reports, accounts and accountability to the investor. They’d listen to the investors advice. You’re getting none of this with your investment, because well, it’s a con.
I’ve seen a good friend work on this type of business many times, and I’m ashamed to say I got a little sucked in by his enthusiasm, twice.
3. Someone who thinks you’re v.e.r.y e.x.p.e.n.s.i.v.e.
There are generally two types of people who would find your service extremely expensive. The first one being someone who has never hired a service like yours before and doesn’t generally understand what industry rates are. Red flag right there.
The second one would be someone who is a one man band, and your wages are coming right out of their own personal pay packet. Red flag number two.
If someone thinks you are v.e.r.y. e.x.p.e.n.s.i.v.e (even when you aren’t, even when you’ve given them a huge discount). They will expect the world from you.
I worked for a person like this before and they seemed to think that giving me £300 meant that they had some kind of ownership of my personhood, calling me all hours of the day to say they had forgotten this or that password, asking me to add new pages to their website for free. And just generally acting like I was debted to them, forever. As if our contract was actually, a process of signing my soul over to them for eternity. Not cool. In fact, it put me off making websites FOREVER.
4. Someone who thinks they can do the thing better than you can.
It always makes my spidey senses tingle when someone gives across the attitude that they could do The Thing themselves, better than you can, but they don’t have the time. There is one instance where this is
5. Someone who niggles and quibbles about the price.
It’s good to hold back a bit of your quote to allow for haggling. People like to haggle and feel like they got a good deal, fine. But if someone haggles you down to a cheaper price or wants extras added in, that should only be done ONCE.
If someone asks you, well how long does it actually take to do this? Or says that they don’t think that should take that long, or asks you what experience do you actually have in this? Or says that so and so does it for a cheaper price, just tell them, if they think that you aren’t worth the price, to go with someone else. If they really thought that you weren’t worth paying for, thats exactly what they would do. But they don’t because the intention isn’t to get the cheapest deal, it’s to get the best person for the cheapest deal, and so they work on devaluing. And the quibbling NEVER stops if you undertake these kind of clients.
Your price is your price, stick to it regardless of how much someone tries to attack your self esteem.