I had a guitar that kept going out of tune. Two minutes after tuning it, it would need to be tuned again. Finally I took it to an expert, a guy who built his own guitars, and he said the guitar was warped in such a way that it couldn’t be tuned at both ends. If you tuned it at the top, it would be out of tune at the bottom, and vice versa. A lot of things are shaped like that.
All my clients these days are good clients. Good clients are clients who don’t change things fifty times and who you can tell during an important phone call that you need to go pee. The main reason my clients are so good is that I’ve learned how to spot bad clients and have stopped accepting work from them.
The hard part is turning them down. Previously I could spot them okay but didn’t always trust my judgment. Now, having suffered enough times at their hands, I’m ruthless.
Of course I never tell bad clients the truth (e.g., “I’d don’t want this job because you’re a controlling motherfucker who will make my life miserable”). That would be rude. Instead I offer some half-plausible excuse and pass them along to friends who can’t afford to be so selective.
It’s taken me years to climb this mountain. And I may have reached a kind of summit this morning when one of my clients sent me the following email:
I had a nightmare last night about the website. In my dream the website looked exactly like a brochure, although it was still a website. I was at the print run and they kept making mistakes, like printing the front page with our content, while the rest of it was an advertisement for a concert of electronic music. I had a fit and forced them to print it again. After it was printed the second time, I noticed that you had decided to totally change the theme to a cartoon “the Last Supper.” Also, the cuts were very sloppy, and when I went to go check out the cutting situation, it turned out that all the brochures were being cut one-by-one by a stripper with a paper cutter. Then I woke up.