How to hire people like a pro and never be a nightmare client

How to hire people like a pro and never be a nightmare client

Hiring people is terrifying. It really is. Trusting people is hard. And when you have personally slaved for every dollar, it’s even harder. But as we all well know, you can’t do everything. So eventually, you will have to part with your hard-earned scratch and trust another human with it.

And I know you would NEVER be one of THOSE clients. Those clients who nickle and dime. Those clients who call on Christmas Eve. Those clients who ask for discounts and favors and extras at every turn.

You would never do that. Because you value quality! You value the work of others. You are delighted by the prospect of supporting and partnering and trusting. You are NOT one of thoooooooose people.

Until you get the estimate.

Then you realize that your pile of moola is a lot smaller than you thought it was and will buy a lot less than you thought it would.

And even though you still value and partner and trust and blah blah blah, now you are also terrified.

Terrified that the world will find out that you do not have all the money in the world.

Terrified that you will have to back out.

Terrified that you will now be a miserable failure because you KNOW you should hire the best, but now you also know that you can’t afford the best.

And most of all, you are terrified that you will have to compromise.

To a high-standards visionary like you, compromise = death.

So then what do you do?

You make it their fault.

“They are WAY too expensive. I mean, I’m not buying the Mona Lisa. Who do they think they are, charging THAT much? I bet if I just ask really nice, they will give me a deal. After all, I AM doing amazing things. I am about to level up! And when I get successful, I will tell everyone all about how great they are and they will have all the work they can handle! They should be paying ME!”

“Why AREN’T they available on Christmas. Don’t they know how important this launch is?”

“All I asked for was a few little changes. I can’t believe they want more money. I think I’ll send them an email giving them a piece of my mind. They aren’t the only game in town, after all.”

Just like that, because you were terrified, you stopped valuing the work of others.

Just like that, you put your needs ahead of theirs because you gave them more money than you could afford.

And just like that, you became one of THOSE people.

And here’s what’s happening for them.

They are now complaining about you at their weekly Poker Night.

They are now cursing your name over a cheap Merlot.

They are warning colleagues about working with you.

And they are living in fear of your next email.

They are saying things like:

“There were a few red flags I should have seen. But she said all the right things and she seemed so genuine. I have no idea what happened.”

They will lie in bed at night worried that they will never, ever get it right for you.

They will cry and feel hopeless and dejected.

And then they will get angry.

And they will say:

“Fuck her. She can wait. I’ll get to it when I get to it.”

And then it will all fall apart.

And it all could have been avoided if only you would have said:

“I want to work with you, but I’m not sure I can afford you. What are my options?”

The simple truths:

1. High quality designers, writers, coaches and the like don’t need you as much as you think they do. They are already busy.

2. Promotion has almost no value to creatives because your audience is not their audience. So offering ‘promotional value’ in lieu of $$ is, at best worthless, and at worst, downright insulting.

3. Honesty will get you everything you want 80% of the time. Ask for what you need. Explain where you’re at. Offer solutions. Accept that you might not get it.

4. Empathy will get you the other 20%. Put yourself in their shoes. Think about their needs. Be understanding. And be open.

5. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. Suck it up and remember that this is always the truth. Even when you don’t want it to be.

And finally…

6. Remember that most service providers will do whatever they can to help you. They WANT to help you. This is their life’s work, after all. But they can’t do that if you don’t let them.

Hiring other people is terrifying. Being hired is equally so. As service providers, we have a deep responsibility to deliver what we promise. But as a client, you have those very same responsibilities [if you want to get the very best from people].

A well-educated, well-prepared client is creative service providers DREAM. And you WANT to be a dream client. Dream clients get extras. And ‘nice person’ discounts. And understanding. And above all, they get our very best work.

And really, isn’t that why you hired us in the first place?


Want to know how to be a dream client to a web designer? Well, you’re in luck. I wrote an ebook all about it, wherein you’ll learn every single thing you need to know to go in to your business’ biggest expense feeling informed, prepared, and clear on what you need, why you need it, and how to best get it from whomever you hire. Get it here.

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