Categories / Inspiration
15 Signs You Need to Let That Toxic Client Go
Laura Busche March 31, 2021 · 5 min read
1. Crazy deadlinesWhen someone respects your work, they’ll make an additional effort to make sure you have enough time to deliver your very best. Granted, sometimes urgent matters come up that ask for tight deadlines. What I’m asking you to evaluate is how often this one client brings up a task asking you to drop everything else on the queue. Customers who don’t understand the idea of planning can mess up your own attempt at expanding your client base. Think about it: how could you ever work for someone else when there are all these fires you’re constantly having to put off for a that one client?
2. Off-limitsReclaim your sleep and time off. Late night calls are not part of the contract. If your brain doesn’t get enough rest, your creativity will suffer significantly — and you might only notice the impact in the mid-long term. The issue there is that certain selfish clients will demand your attention beyond business hours without any regard for all the other work that you’re responsible for. Set your limits or call it quits.
3. UnpredictableIf you are the praying type, this is the one that makes you pray. Your relationship is a massive roller coaster full of undefined expectations and unnecessary reactions. Fear is no solid foundation for a client-creative relationship, so, if this is your case, it might be a better idea to part ways.
4. CopycatNO, I won’t copy whatever you found on Pinterest. YES, I’ll be inspired by it and create something new and better because that’s how capable I am. But you hired me… so you should know that, right?
5. Design CommitteeIt’s no secret that small teams iterate faster. Teams in which neighbors, distant cousins, and spouses intervene generally don’t turn out well.
6. He’s a fan of the pop factorDefine pop — we’ll go from there.
7. Take it easyThe problem with clients who avoid briefs is that they’re often also avoiding focused work. They want to get the best of what you have to offer but fail to define those expectations from the beginning. What ends up happening is a chain of unconformities that can drain you mentally and emotionally. Get it on paper or run, run far away!
8. He consistently underestimates youMaybe this person should just go ahead and design it on his own, in Microsoft Paint.
9. CheapAmong the many valid, understandable excuses for failing to pay, vacations are not one. One should never sit and watch how the client’s money is going everywhere else but your pockets. Clients who don’t prioritize your payment often do not prioritize the work you’re creating for them — and that’s a huge problem.
10. ImposingDon’t you ever send your creative muse on a suicide mission. Some clients will never understand that when you’re hiring a designer you’re contracting a talented problem solver, not a preschool kid drawing within the lines. When you spot these kinds of clients, make sure you protect your creative spirit first. More clients will come, and you’ll need to be prepared for them.
11. CommandingNobody needs that kind of pressure in their life. Don’t be someone’s work wife.
12. RudeAbsolutely no excuse for being rude within a work environment. And since we all agree we’re good with one mom, there’s no need for nagging either.
13. DemeaningExcessive changes and revisions are part of some people’s modus operandi. They simply won’t change because your contract establishes a set number of edits. Their system doesn’t recognize those clauses, and won’t honor them. You’ll find yourself debating with someone who cannot see design as a business and expects you to pursue a seemingly endless amount of creative directions. Let go.
14. UnfocusedAlert: one client should not ruin your decision to become a designer. If this relationship is starting to affect your calling, rethink if it’s worth having it at all.
15. AnxiousSome people can’t manage anxiety. They’ll utter words they don’t mean, yell unfair demands, use hurtful words, and completely suck all the positive energy you bring. If you’ve considered firing tranquilizer darts all over the place, maybe it’s time to end this client relationship.
Your turn!Have you come across any other signs that it’s time to fire a client?
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