It Wasn’t A Sequel To Begin With
November 29, 2012 – 18:32 | No Comment

My 3rd novel wasn’t meant to be a sequel to the 2nd novel in the first place. Then something happened. Characters began to beg to be included in the story. Thus, a sequel was born.

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Home » Freelance & Business, Freelance Talk, Working World

It’s Not A Sin To Fire Your Client

Submitted by on January 25, 2010 – 04:536 Comments

Since my college days of freelancing for my handful of clients I’ve discovered that every five cans I open, there’s bound to be one that is filled with worms. And getting rid of that single one has proved to be more of a hassle than keeping the remaining four. And sometimes, firing a client might just be the right thing to do that would affect your career.

Clients form our reputation and credibility in our career journey. If they are impressed with what we have done for them, chances are they will share the word and get their family and friends to hire you for similar projects. They carry your name wherever they go because you are the key to the success of their project and they acknowledge it. Thus, when they boast about their success, they indirectly blow your trumpet too. Vice-versa, if you have done something wrong or screw up their project, words spread twice as fast as fire.

When it comes to actual fire, there is always a smoke detector to alert the people of fire in the building. Same goes with our freelancing career. Every time you meet a problematic client, you will be able to sense it even before the problems come rolling in. Like the client who printed your gif files and complained why the images doesn’t move, or the client who thinks that you can remove words from a beautiful scenery jpeg image – from the very start you know they are trouble. They are clients you rather not have because they will blow the budget, squeeze your resources and drive you up the wall.

How can you know for sure that it’s time to fire a client? That it’s time to dump them and not get yourself into more troubles? It’s when you have listened to their comments/feedbacks and know not whether to laugh at them or be pissed off. For example, here are some of the funniest and most upsetting feedbacks I have ever received from my clients:

“I can’t email you the 500 words because I don’t know how to use the email. Here, I have written it all down in this A4 paper. Just re-type it and insert the text into the brochure. Since it’s all written, you can charge me cheaper right?”

“You can’t charge me for this layout, you know? I mean… basically you just take all the text from the Word document, the logo from the PDF file and the photo from the jpeg which I have given to you and place them together on one page. So it’s just copy and paste. Too easy a job to be paid, seriously.”

“I love option 1. Can you do five variations for me? I want them in spot colours of red, blue, green, orange and yellow. Then I’ll just choose from there and we are done!”

“I’ve got an easy job for you. I want to stop buying my corporate profile from the States – way too expensive. Here is the hardcopy. Just duplicate all of the 30-pages into a pdf file. Same font size, same image size, same quality. I will get a printer to print it out so it looks exactly the same. It’s just duplication, will RM300 do? RM10 for each page.”

Recently I had a client I knew from the very beginning would be problematic. Because the first thing she said when we met was, “You’ve got 12 hours to come out with this flyer for the job. I have no budget for anything extra. I just want it to look like this.” She showed me a sketch of many people holding hands in front of a sunset setting. Twelve hours is not a problem when there is already a concept, text and visual idea. The problem was she couldn’t provide the softcopy of the text (means I have to re-type the 800 words), has no images to be used and refused to pay any money to purchase from the image bank. And she was only paying me RM50 for the job. I wanted to fire the client right there and then. But I couldn’t. She was a friend.

I don’t believe in firing clients; I only believe in letting go of the problematic ones before everything goes out of control. Like the client who couldn’t understand why I had to charge extra for re-typing out 3,000 words for his corporate profile cause he only has the hardcopy – he told everyone he knows that I am an expensive designer. In some ways, I believe that through him, I have lost some potential clients and my reputation is tainted by the untruths.

That’s why it’s important to know that there are some clients you can’t afford to have; Simply because they do more damage than you could ever imagine. So it’s not wrong to fire a client. As a freelancer, you have the right to choose your clients. Do not feel guilty when you have to let a client go because most of the time, it’s for the best – for you and for the client. So do what is right from the very start to save a future of headaches and conflicts. It would do your freelancing career good.

Originally written by Gina Yap Lai Yoong © 2010

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