Your Work Sucks!
Thankfully, I’ve never had a client utter those exact words, but I’ve definitely been on the receiving end of some very unpleasant communiqués.
What do you do when you’ve been hustling your tail off to get product out the door, only to be met with disdain?
Or worse yet, what do you do when you agree that the quality of your work is lacking and you need a real do-over?
This is one of the hardest issues to deal with as a freelancer, but I’m happy to report there are some concrete steps you can take to turn things around.
Own the problem. While the customer isn’t always right, the customer always has the right to feel upset about what’s happening. Instead of immediately getting defensive, try listening and helping them feel like you acknowledge their frustration.
Brainstorm solutions. A yes is always better than a no. Even if you feel like your client is being unreasonable, try to look for ways to say Yes to new solutions and creative possibilities, rather than dwell on the negatives.
Learn for the future. Every difficult encounter you have with customers and partners is a valuable learning experience. It’s OK if you feel like tearing your hair out sometimes, but at least make an attempt to find the educational component to what you’re going through. Today’s headache is tomorrow’s revised business policy!
I’ve had a few clients over the years that were a challenge to deal with from Day 1, but with the wisdom of hindsight, I appreciate those learning experiences and how they’ve made me a better business person and human being.
Persevere, my dear free agents!