Friday, March 6, 2009

In The Recession, What Do You Put Up With?

I have a client who is semi-regular, and who's never been great at communicating what they want. I usually get a ton of revisions back on even the simplest project. I do the revisions asked for, and get emails back saying I didn't do what was asked. They have a very difficult time communicating what they want, and change their minds frequently. In earlier times, I might have drawn the line at some point--cut ties and decided this client and I were not a good match. But lately I've been going out of my way to keep them happy instead.

Why? Maybe it's all the scary economic stories in the news. Maybe it's the stories from other freelancers I know that clients are hiring less and paying less. But I've been thinking lately--alhthough I haven't been having trouble getting work myself--that it's prudent to hang on to what I have, even when it isn't ideal.

So does the recession make us put up with more than we would when times are good? And how much does the news have an impact on our attitudes--rather than our own experiences? Personally, I've found myself becoming more conservative and unwilling to walk away from less-than-ideal business relationships than I might have been in the past.

This may not be a good thing--in nearly every case, when I've walked away from a less-than-perfect client relationship (and it hasn't been very often at all), it's only freed up time to find a better client and project. It seems to make sense to me that a depressed economy would make us all less risk-averse--and less likely to improve our circumstances as well.

So what do you put up with because of economic fears? And are those fears based on your own experiences, or what you've been hearing?


Unknown said...

Honestly? There's one client I have that accounts for a huge chunk of my income. The situation is less than ideal. I decided it was time for me to tolerate difficult people and find a work-around. That wasn't the economy talking, either. I've had my share of difficult bosses and clients, most of whom I've cut loose from. But this time I want to try finding a workable solution.

In general, the economy isn't going to make a difference to me. Times are rough, but I'm still getting clients and I'm still working at the rate I was last year. I'm not quite ready to compromise. :)

Anonymous said...

I walk away from clients when the aggravation factor is upped too often. Either that, or I tack on extra charges. More and more clients think they can get away with anything and get more for free if they act like jerks. Fine. Let them act like low paying jerks with someone else.

After the news, I usually panic for a few minutes and consider taking jobs that aren't worth my time, but I come to my senses before actually signing on the dotted line.

If you work out of fear, that's what you generate. You need to work from a position of strength and confidence.

Kimberly Ben said...


I feel like this was a post I could have written myself. I am also dealing with a VERY similar client and a bunch of rewrites that we wouldn't be dealing with now if the communication had been clear at the onset of the project.

I was going back and forth over whether or not to keep them, raise their rates accordingly, etc. In my head all I hear is "it's easier right now to keep a client than find a new one."

This project started in December, it's huge and taking up a lot of time (which we all know is another word for money). I'm quickly coming around to thinking more like Lori and Devon now.

They are right: there are still clients that are hiring. I am negotiating with two prospective clients now. Hopefully we can work something out. If not, at least I KNOW that people ARE hiring and I don't have to settle for another "bad job." I'm slowly but surely making that mental shift.