Sounds crazy, right? But looking back, I can attribute any and all success I’ve had to what the title of this post is saying.
Bad, Crazy Clients Will Make You Rich
I can also attribute people staying in place, not growing, not succeeding, not achieving to the same exact thing.
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I’ve never read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad but I get the gist—“rich” people and “poor” people encounter the same situations, but it’s their reaction to them that makes one rich and one poor.
While I think life is more complex than that—and not all rich people are these “enlightened” decision makers and people—I also think there’s a lot of truth to it that I’ve experienced myself.
A smart guy I know recently told me, “There’s no such thing as a bad client. There are only bad processes.”
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Adding smarter, better processes to your business is what elevates you and propels you to the next level. Then the next “bad client” comes along and tears it all to pieces and you re-build and add more processes and get to the next level.
And the cycle repeats.
As it does, you get better and better – and every step of the way, you attract better clients, charge more, earn more, experience less headaches. And, on top of all that the “bad clients” seem to disappear more and more.
Here are a few examples so you can see what I mean:
“My client told me they loved the design yesterday. Today they they hate it.”
Has this ever happened to you before?
Has it happened more than once?
If it has – it means you didn’t get the lesson the first time around 😉
We had a client who went through about a dozen design variations, loving it one day then hating it the next, until we finally got her to approve something.
Did we hate this client? Did her emails and calls cause our teeth to grit and our blood to boil? Absolutely. But we also immediately asked ourselves:
“How can we prevent this from ever happening again?”
We enacted an “approval process” that looks like this:
- The client can make changes until they’re happy.
- Once happy, they send us a written “final approval.”
- ANY changes beyond that point are charged for.
When the client says they love something, we say, “Great! Send us an email confirming that and we’ll advance to the development stage.”
If they go haywire on us the next day, we refer to our agreement and “final approval” and tell them we’d be happy to make changes but as they approved it, they’ll be charged for.
Most of the time, they think twice about the changes. But if they decide to go forth with them – we charge them as was agreed upon. That way we don’t waste time doing endless revisions for free.
“I delivered the files because the client said it was urgent and never received final payment.”
Again, this situation leaves no one to blame but yourself. You have to have an impenetrable system in place with absolutely no exceptions about delivering files.
Simply put: Don’t…. until you get payment.
If they need the files urgently – they need to send payment urgently. Ya feel?
There are designers who have heaps of unpaid invoices. I don’t understand it. How many times does it have to happen to you before you change yourself – instead of asking or expecting your clients to change?
People will be people if left to their own devices. To keep them on track, you have to have systems and processes in place.
“The project dragged on for months because the client didn’t get me what I need to do my work.”
I know other designers who experience this every day of the year.
Once again, you have to ask yourself, “How can I ever prevent this from happening again?”
You have to place the responsibility square on your shoulders.
To solve this one, we have in our contract language about delivering required materials / feedback in a “timely manner” which we define as 2 business days.
We state if the project is delayed because the client does not deliver the stuff we need to do our jobs in a “timely manner” – and the project is then extended – we increase the cost.
And I think that’s more than fair. Am I supposed to sit around twiddling my thumbs, not making a living, keeping my schedule full, because a client doesn’t have their shtuff together?
So take your time, take my time – but I’m going to charge for it.
On the flip side – we’re also fair to the client. We state that if we cause delays by not doing things in a “timely manner” – the client gets a discount.
If we’re not on top of our game – we don’t deserve to get paid in full. The client’s paying us to be on our game. We take that seriously.
You always have two choices:
One: Get mad at the client and vent about them to your friends and family and get everyone to tell you, “Yeah! What a jerk!” and then keep doing the same old thing and getting the same old results.
Two: Get mad and vent… but then ask yourself, “What did I do that allowed this to happen… and how can I prevent it from ever happening again?”
At least that’s what’s gotten me this far. Hope this helps you do the same.
Before you go! Tell me what you think.
Leave a comment and ask questions, share thoughts, tell me I’m crazy – anything. I want to hear what’s on your mind and if this post was helpful for you.
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