Krista here! Jason and I were originally introduced through a mutual friend, and the second I landed on his website I knew I had to get him on the podcast.
Jason helps freelancers, especially web developers and designers, live the life of their own design through coaching and community so they can specialize their businesses and build recurring revenue. Unlike all of our other guests up to this point, Jason is actually a developer, not a designer, so I’m excited to the different point of view he’ll bring to the table.
Today we’re going to talk to Jason about spotting bad clients and positioning yourself to be respected, which can make your design or development business so much more enjoyable.
When Jason was in high school and college he saw the internet as something that might be a vehicle to help him get to where he wanted to be. He originally started as a Java developer, went on to learn Ruby on Rails, custom PHP work, and landed in the WordPress space working with eCommerce clients.
Jason focuses on helping his clients get more customers on repeat and raving fans. He does that through web development, email marketing, and some behavioral marketing, which ties the two together.
Experience with bad clients + positioning himself
He had one specific experience with a bad client where they had a need which led them to hire Jason, but there wasn’t a success metric that was tied to the project. They simply wanted more people coming to their website, opting in for their email list, and then signing up for a membership.
After Jason had started working on the project, things started to unravel a bit. The client decided they wanted a brand new website. They had purchased a theme and wanted Jason to do some tweaking, which ultimately led to more and more work outside of the original scope. Ultimately, Jason said, the client saw him more as a pixel pusher.
This experience was what led Jason to say he wanted to make sure this never happened again.
How you can avoid getting bad clients
First things first, Jason pays special attention to a client’s personality when trying to decide whether or not they would be a good fit. So, when he’s on a call with a potential client, there has to be a connection between the two of them.
Jason also has a rule that if there are two red flags, he won’t take on a client. This could be that they want to work with an email marketing provider he doesn’t work with.
He also has a project application that helps him spot a bad client. If potential clients don’t want to fill the form out or they fill it out it out with short answers just to bypass it, those are red flags as well. So Jason uses the project application as a way to qualify whether or not he should work with a client.
What to do if you’re in the middle of a project with a bad client
Jason says how you handle this really is up to your discretion. For him, he delivers on what he says he’s going to do, so if it’s a short project then he’ll just push through and get it done. If it’s a longer project, though, he’ll have the conversation with the client about the situation to reset the project and relationship.
Overall, though, the goal is to communicate with your client and get both of you back on the same page. You can simply say something’s misaligned, and you want to have a quick 5-10 minute chat to clear things up. Jason says typically this does a really great job at fixing things because it’s just a matter of communication and setting expectations.
Benefits of positioning yourself to be respected
You need to position yourself as somebody that’s going to be able to help and serve them in the right way, and this is a great way to help avoid ending up in the middle of a bad client situation.
How you can position yourself to be respected
You can do this in two ways. First by taking the time to follow up with them in a thoughtful way when you’re still in the inquiry phase of a project. Jason says he did research earlier this year that uncovered that most times a decision maker for a company needs to see something five times before they make a sale. So, knowing that conversion rate, it may make sense to increase your follow-up strategy a bit with potential clients.
Another way you can position yourself as someone who’s going to help your clients is by educating them and helping the client understand what they really need and how you can help them. Your clients may not have the time to be reading articles to learn new things about design or conversions, for example, but this is where you can step in and help them better understand these things. It positions you as an expert, leads them to trust you more, and makes it less likely that you’ll end up dealing with a bad client.
- Create a red flag list that you can run potential clients through
- While doing this, take careful consideration of the types of clients you like to work with
Learn more about Jason
Jason helps freelancers, especially web developers and designers, live the life of their own design through coaching and community so they can specialize their businesses and build recurring revenue. This is done through a framework to discover your ideal client, find out their value, how to market to them, and walk away with a plan to move forward and build recurring revenue. He’s an avid baseball fan of the NY Mets, loves to travel and spend tons of time with his family.