We’ve all stepped in shit or had it fall from the heavens and hit us dead on.
You learn to sharpen your senses as soon as that happens.
In freelancing, and growing your own business, you tend to ignore that spidey tingle. Why would anybody want to ignore the tingle that says you’re about to step in shit? Because the shit from nightmare clients comes with cash.
If you’re hungry for cash, you’ll take a job and HOPE for the best. Who said this: “Hope is not a strategy.”
If you’re hungry for work, the venomous nightmare client can smell it. These guys are leeches and vampires. They get an adrenaline rush from victimizing people who need them badly. If you’re hungry for cash as a freelancer, the hungrier you are, the faster you should run the opposite way. Sleep in your car and on your mom’s couch if you have to. Don’t take the cash inspite of your “bad gut feeling.” The job will go on and on and the quality of your work will plummet till he takes you to court and posts defamatory stories about you in his blog.
I’ve seen this happen to too many of our small freelance designer clients.
So how do you know if you’re got a nightmare client on your hands?
Ask them about the last designer they worked with. If they talk shit about him or her, they will do the same about you after they are done chewing you up and spitting you out.
Ask them how they feel about heros and sacrifice. They will tell you about all the bad graphic designers they heroically put out of business and the sacrifices they made to prevent other businesses from working with these designers.
They love to demonize hard working freelancers and start witch hunts. Run far away from these predators. If you’re a member of an association like the AIGA, they will work to get you banned.
How do you tell if a client is a good client?
Ask them if they’ve ever had a bad experience with a designer. A good client will say that developing a rapport with any designer takes a lot of time. A good client will say that he doesn’t expect to get exactly what he’s looking for from a designer until after several projects and months of time has elapsed. A good client will take full responsibility if his design project really falls apart.
And a good designer will do the same.
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