When you open a home – based business, you do not usually envision yourself as encountering problem clients. After all, you do good work and you are a good person, so why would there ever be any trouble. When I went into business for myself as an attorney, I never imagined the types of issues that I would have with some of my clients. I have encountered problems with a small number of writing clients, too, but for some reason those issues have been easier to deal with.
If I could start my businesses over again, I would spend more time thinking about how to avoid taking on problem clients. Fortunately, since I am in business for myself, I can take time to think about and develop a strategy for handling problem clients as I move forward. The authority to develop company policies and procedures is definitely one of the perks of owning and operating a home – based business.
I think that I have come up with a good strategy for avoiding problem clients with my writing practice. The strategy is simple, be very choosy about what you bid on. Often, potential problem clients can be spotted by their project proposals or by the way that they interact with you in response to your proposal. By being choosy, I believe that I have avoided many potentially problematic clients. The times that I did end up working for clients that I had issues with were mostly when I was new to freelance writing and did not really know what I was getting myself into. Most of the problems included bidding too low and ending up working for an embarrassingly low hourly rate, but there were others where there were misunderstandings due to differences between the work that was described and the work that was expected.
In my law office, I have two sources of client issues. One is trusting the wrong people and the other is taking on clients that get assigned to me, whom I have never met and have had no chance to assess. I have had a few wonderful clients, and these were mostly friends or people who have been referred by friends or family members. The work that I have been able to do on behalf of the clients who were good people to work with is very meaningful to me. I feel that I have been able to make a positive difference in the lives of at least a few people. The others, though, have left me feeling jaded about working in the legal profession. Incidentally, the clients who I had positive experiences with were the ones who did pay me a retainer fee up front, even if it was minimal. That is certainly a strategy that I will employ going forward. I also do not plan on having any more cases assigned to me because it is important to me that I am free to choose whom I represent.
How do you handle problematic clients?
Photo by ladyheart on morguefile.com.