Freelancing is not so easy after all. The clamor for clients. The running bills. The instability. *Insert Inner Scream of Panic*
And while finally landing a gig, you get the shock of your life. Why is it so hard to work with this client? Why am I working with a devil incarnate? Are you destined to suffer this much?
After knowing who are these clients, how do you survive from these clients from hell?!
Handling these demanding clients is surely a nightmare. What do you do now?
The first thing to consider is the trade-off. Is this client giving out most of the income for your freelance business or is s/he just a minor client.
We have limited hours in a day. If you have multiple clients in your pipeline, you might want to disengage with this client if s/he does not represent a big chunk of income.
But if s/he does, worry not. You can certainly manage. This is how to deal with clients from hell.
Most clients are not really descendants of Satan that rose from their fiery slumber. But their inner demons might be unleashed because of a simple disconnect of expectations.
With this, you have to be clear from the very beginning. Ask what are their expectations of you exactly and put it into writing. Also, find out what is important for you and make it clear as to the working conditions.
An example is the scope of your project. Some clients request for extra tasks that might create a whole new commit level than what you have intended. Tell them at the start that additional work might require them a higher charge or up to what extent are revisions.
Another one is what time you are expected to work. If you are on call at their random whim, consider setting the hours of contact. This may depend on their time zone and all. But better talk about it at the start, you don't want to receive calls at 3 AM in your time zone. And they expect you to answer whenever they want to talk to you.
Lastly, agree on how you will get paid. Consider invoicing your clients upfront. This will spare you the worry of cash flow problems. But if you can’t, you can also check these 3 safeguards to get paid on time.
Ultimately, you may forego some of these clients in the process. But then, this is for a happier you and more sustainable career in the future. That alone makes it worth it. Now for the hard part.
It might be easy to release an outburst when your client starts to wreak havoc. I tell you, you have to manage your emotions. It may be difficult especially when it gets too personal. But nothing comes out good from reacting out of our hotheads.
Avoid answering the email. Cut off that phone call. Keep calm. Breathe. Even if they get too personal, do not take the feedback personally.
After you cool yourself, you have to take on the problem at hand. First, understand where your client is coming from. Know that they too have responsibilities to deliver good output. And the hellish treatment might be because of the pressures on them.
I know it's not an excuse to batter other people around. We all have problems. But know for a fact that being empathetic can foster better conversations to reach the desired solution. Be the better person. I mean, if the client feels that they are understood, they might cooperate and be open to suggestions.
You are hired because of your expertise. But some clients might not understand your work. They might have other ideas that are obsolete in today's standards and they are expecting you to do that.
You have to defend your work. Do not be afraid to disagree with their revisions. Have the conviction to POLITELY stand up to your output. They may change their minds about it.
But on the other hand, don't forget to compromise. Even if you defend your work, some clients wouldn't budge. Make sure to raise your points. Think of ways to still give quality output with what they like.
You may want full autonomy for your work, but at the end of the day, they are the ones paying for it. So you do have to cooperate. Be open and compromise.
This may be the last resort. You are bound to get a client from hell. And even if you applied the tips above, it's of no use. Some people are just humans straight from hell.
If this happens, again weigh your options. Consider the trade-off. Ask yourself, is it still worth it? Is the stress and energy drain still manageable?
If the answer is No, then just let them go. It may be more beneficial for your business in the long run. Prepare your cape and sing. *Cue Music from Disney's Frozen"