Being Rude With A Client

We'll talk about clients in servicing business, not customers. And most of the examples and point of views will be from the design perspective. Since I'm a designer.

Don't Start By Planning For The Worst

When you expect such people to act awfully then the most of your clients will respond to your expectations. It works like a magnet. Negative thoughts attract negative people.

Scan For The Red Flags

Not expecting bad clients doesn't mean that you don't need to be prepared. You just need to know red flags. Write it down and remember the most important of them. Use it during the conversation with a new client.

Hire A New Client Slow And Fire Quickly.

It's your responsibility to people with whom you are spending most of the time. The environment that you build affects your life, health, relationships, professional success... It affects almost on everything in our life. Life is too short to live it in a negative way.

Figure Out What Is Your Mission

Once upon a time I decided that I'm not just a designer, I'm a problem-solver. But this statement has the issue. I started to focus on problems of my clients, then problems in my everyday life and I got depressed.

The problem is that I started to focus more on problems than solutions and positive result at the end. I noticed that and started think about what was I doing wrong. And I found the solution.

My statement wasn't correct at all. It served the different purpose and followed outcome that I wasn't expecting.

I changed my mission and decided that I want to make people happy. I want to produce valuable things that create a positive result for my clients. And you know what? I still solve problems with the design but in a different frame. I focus on a positive outcome.

I feel myself better that way and it's simple and clear purpose as for me.

Myth That A Client Who Pays More Money Is Better Than The Poor One

When I raised my rate I was expecting to have more competent clients that see the value of design solutions that I do. What was happening is not what I expected.

I stumbled upon the same problem with clients who paid my as twice as much and sometimes even worse. When I talk about problems I mean client's feedback that is hard to manage or poor competency in the niche where client want to create something.

Some people don't even know what they want from their business. Sometimes they can just say that they don't like the design that you present them without any additional comments.

Plan Big But Start Small

Do not expect to spend whole your life with a new client. Especially with whom you are talking the first time. Briefly, discuss a scope of work and define the first steps. The smaller steps you define for the beginning the better for both of you. Start building relationships with something small. During this time, you'll define if you can with each other on a bigger scope of work. Because usually you can have a bunch of factors when you start working with a new client. What is his pace of giving you feedback? How does he pay you? How is management happening on his side? A lot of factors.

Do What You Love

Focus on things that you like to do. Do not do work that you don't like. Again, life is to short for this. However, we all have situations where something that we don't like to do is a part of our design process or your client can ask you to do an additional small work for him. You can minimize the time that you spending on this work that you don't like. To not pay huge attention to it. You can combine it with something that you like to make it neutral. For instance, you can do this unpleasant work and listen to a podcast, audiobook or favorite music. But if it's no way that you I'll do this job then...


I'm not a good adviser at this point. I had a good and a bad experience. However, I think that we should learn to delegate at least a part of our work. Because it's free up more time for the work that we love and helps us to focus on what is more important for us. In the meantime, you can delegate a work that you don't like to a person who likes to do it and accept it thankfully. Thus, both of you will be happier.

Do Not Take On Board Small Projects

"It's just a simple work!" - some clients saying to cut their expenses on you. It's a red flag number 1. Usually, small projects like this bring a bunch of problems. And you can spend a lot of time doing many iterations of the design that will not be in use. So, basically it does not make sense to do this job at all. Not for a client, not for you.

I've read a great metaphor in the book "Design Is A Job" by Mike Monteiro. It was about loaders job. The experienced loader told him that small boxes bring big problems. And he's got a lesson when tried to pick up a small box and dropped it because of the heavy weight that he couldn't handle.

Value-Based Pricing

I've heard many good pieces of advice on this point. I've read a book about value based pricing. Attended master-class on this topic. Tried to do it with my new clients. It worked partly for me, but not 100% and even not on 50%. But still, I believe that this is the only right approach to provide services in any industry, including the design of course.

Some European countries experiment with unconditional income for their citizens. And they explain it as giving people opportunity to do what they like without worrying about financial part of their life. I don't know if it's true and what is the outcome from it. But I believe that the financial part of our life displace our focus from more important things.

With pricing by value, your client identifies your service not as expense, but investment in their business. If your design services help to make money for your clients than you definitely should try it.

I'll share with you more information on it in the future when I prepare a case study. But for now, you can find some more information about it on the Internet.

This was a list of things that should help you to not be rude with your clients. I hope it makes any sense for you and you'll try it on practice. Because only reading will not bring you positive results. But actions will make your more skilled and professional.


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