Yesterday afternoon was rather frustrating. I love what I do as a freelancer but it’s not an easy job and there are some days that make it that much harder. My clients are great people. Many of them are hard-working, honest and great at what they do. It’s my goal to just accent that with the work that I do.
Sometimes, though, I take on a client that becomes a bigger issue than I can afford and I have to cut ties. I recently had one of those ‘clients’ and it didn’t end well. I did everything I could to try to work with them but unfortunately we just couldn’t seem to get on the same page. It came down to a matter of blind expectations that I would work more hours than what we agreed to. I let my judgement slide and continued to work the extra hours hoping the client would see the value I was bringing to the table. In return he increase my pay to match the hours, but as usual, this didn’t happen. He saw the extra work as just part of the gig. Therefore he never saw the value. The big drawback in going through this and trying to make his business a success was that my business suffered.
I learned a long time ago when I was in full-time ministry that you had to set up guards in your life that would prevent someone who couldn’t control their own life to control yours. This same rule applies to my freelance business as well. I can’t let a failing business that is out of control take me down with them. I already stopped investing in businesses but now I need to reconsider my vision for “saving” businesses. I guess I needed to learn this lesson the hard way because I let my guard down and took a huge hit in the process.
After speaking with the client and finding out just how big of a hit my family and I were going to take this month, I had to go for a jog. (It was a short jog since I hadn’t gone for a jog in over a year.)
While on the jog I called my dad who had been in sales most of his career. He understands what it means to ‘take a hit’ because of an unreasonable client.
His advice was simple: “Bean him”
My response was the same as yours probably. “Bean him? What does that mean.” My dad went on to explain that while working in sales he would carry beans in his pocket. When a client would treat him wrong or things just weren’t working out in the relationship, he would reach in his pocket while walking to his car and throw a bean. It was his way of shrugging it off. He said, “You can’t let it bother you or the rest of your business will go down with this one client. You’ve got to get past it and move on.”
Easy for your to say, I thought. So I pleaded my case explaining how much of a sleezeball the client was for misleading me through bonuses and pay increases that never happened. My argument continued with myself while my dad was listening and only took a breath after saying “How can he be such a sleezeball!?” My dad responded with the words that would allow me to move on, “He may be a sleezeball but you found him.” I couldn’t stop laughing.
It’s my responsibility as a freelancer and business owner to choose wisely and keep my guard up.
So I beaned a client yesterday. I’m finished, I learned some valuable lessons and the future is looking good.
One last thing to remember is that although I may have some immediate issues with bills and such, I’ve got a rich and loving heavenly Father who is going to take care of me and my family. 🙂