...got the email below from a client a few days ago, she knew I had just taken on other responsibilities and that her relationship of me working for her was coming to a close. She started out being supportive as I transitioned out of my role of being her "go to" designer and marketer, unfortunately it doesn't end that way. Here's what she emailed me:
"I just wanted to know if you would consider one last project that I forgot about. We need an ad designed for a monthly publication - of course the girl walked in today and asked if we could have it to them next week! It's just a 1/2 page, and all I have to do is get something to them and they take it from there. Just say no and it's totally fine, but if you can, great - I'll pay you for it of course. Let me know what you think. Thank you."
I respectfully told the client that regrettably wouldn't be able to pick up her project, in fact I wouldn’t be able to pick up any of her future projects either because of other commitments that I'd told her about; however, I gave her some other suggestions that might work out for her. Within a few hours I received another email from her...this one was much less cordial than the one you see above - she sent me a "nasty gram"
She was miffed that I "left her out in the cold" and wouldn't do the project with her, she furthermore expressed frustration that it seems like I didn't want to work with her anymore and that she was owed an explanation. She goes on further to tell me that she needs to be honest with me and that she's telling me all of this for my benefit. Nice - she's both reprimanding and self righteous.
I guess when I look back at her first email I wonder if it was really true when she said, “Just say no and its totally fine...”, I guess not, was it?
How did this Dr. Jekyll turn into Mrs. Hyde?
Plain and simple, this client got ticked off that I wouldn't help her and she's frustrated now that she has to go out and find someone else. This of course is going to take time, patience and effort - it would of course been much easier to work with me (the guy who'd done her design I the past). She's flailing, and to be honest, we all "flail" at times when we get frustrated at a situation rather than a specific person - we're not sure who to be mad at, we just know we're mad. People will often exhibit this type of behavior (nice then nasty) when they realize they aren't going to get what they want - it's like a grown up temper tantrum (and in being perfectly honest, I've done it as well, although I am far from proud of it).
So what Verbal Kung Fu did I use on her?
You guys that picked up my Verbal Kung Fu for Freelancers book got to be thinking "He's going to drop some verbal bombs on her!"
Actually I didn't, there's no need to. She's going to end up going her direction and I'll go mine, I'll never work for her again. She felt it necessary to get in a few parting shots at me (for my benefit...LMAO). If that's all she's going to do - fine, it's not worth getting into a pissing contest with her. It's not worth making the situation worse if I am never going to work with or maybe even see this person again.
When clients do this to you (and yes the occasionally will), it's best that you just let them go. Yes, you read that right, "LET THEM GO". It's going to take too much of your time and energy to squabble with them, and if they are so petty that they need to give you a verbal tongue lashing in a nasty gram, let them have it. Your goal should be to move on to bigger and better things, that's what I did...not sure what happened to her.
Sure, there was a part of me that wanted to put this woman in her place, but I realized nothing good could really come of it since I wasn't going to work with her in the future (and it trying to reconcile might only make her more angry). I just let it and her go. It just doesn't make sense to poke a hornet's nest - it just isn't worth it.