When things go bad with a client

I think a lot of developers are scared of this.

And, what happens is they’re so scared of making a client mad that they cave when the client pushes the scope of the project… or asks them to do something that is a terrible idea… or is flaking on their part of the process then blaming you for the project being delayed.

Etc, etc.

Well… let me tell you a little story.

I once had a client who accidentally sent me an email with a thread attached that was between her and her team. And, it said some pretty nasty things about me. Now, mind you, every conversation I had with her was pleasant and I thought things were going just fine.

Apparently not.

So, when I read it, what did I do?

Did I ask what I was doing wrong?

Did I immediately call her to “fix” things?

Did I freak out and assume I’d never get a client again?

Nope.

I emailed her and told her we’re done. I copied and pasted what she had wrote in the thread and said, “Obviously things aren’t working out so it’s best we just part ways… immediately.”

Of course, she apologized profusely…

And, begged me to stay on.

In fact, about 6 months later, she tweeted me asking to talk…

And, wanting to hire me back…

And, I told her no.

This is the thing about having standards and a sense of self-respect. I know you probably need the muney. But, it’s just simply not worth “selling your soul” over. You might now believe that right now…

But, someday, these words will ring true for you.

Point is…

Don’t be scared of your clients. Don’t let them bully or cajole you into doing things you know you shouldn’t do. No one client no matter how big or well-known can ruin your career.

And, if you’re trying to do the right thing…

And, admitting when you do make mistakes…

Even if they put you on blast…

Others will see you’re a good person…

And, not hold it against you.

Anyway, do with that what you will.

It’s a much more important less than you might initially think.

Now, onto da biz…

Later,

John

(John Morris letter)