Tag Archives: business dealings

How should you handle outrageous client demands?


Working with people is compelling, fascinating, and difficult, and it has been spicing up my life for some time. It is my type of work as I love communication and people’s reactions and approaches to various matters. 
Since I turned 40, everything seemed smoother, as the scriptwriter of Mad Men was right: “Until the age of 40, you will have met all the types of people they are.” 

After almost 20 years of entrepreneurship, I have realized that Pareto was right. 80% of my earnings come from a small minority of 20% of my customers, who are decent early-paying clients.

For the remaining 80% of clients, the sky’s the limit. I was surprised by some outrageous requests at the beginning of my entrepreneurial career—so outrageous that I wrote an essay about them.
For example, if a customer asks for a tornado of sharks for a copywriting job, I ask, “White sharks?” and move on.

Lesson learned: Do business in Equilibrium.

Once a representative of a medical company called, and between the “lines,” I picked up on their willingness for 17 people to benefit from our English course but to pay for only 10 people because some of the attendants might get bored in the end, as happens at all English courses, he says, “knowingly.”.
I never take this type of approach kindly, as a lack of respect for my time and efforts translates into a lack of respect for me and my hard-crafted projects, mission, and vision. Learning a language is not for everyone, as it involves commitment and hard work, and new eyes are opened for you to see more and more with each passing class. Language is information.

Lesson learned: Set up specific protocols and keep detailed records.

Another bizarre request was to develop product descriptions for Amazon listings using unspecified American lingo on short notice before discussing the terms of the contract and payment methods. They were pooling descriptions in order to choose the finest ones and avoid paying the authors. They claimed to be in desperate need due to the approaching deadline. I almost fell for it.

Lesson learned: Consider requesting an emergency fee.

To summarize, I have very explicit terms and conditions that I discuss with customers beforehand, and I make sure to ask all relevant questions at the outset in order to determine what type of customer I am dealing with.
Not to mention that “no” is a very good answer sometimes

Picture by the author, taken in Milan.

Do business in Equilibrium

As business owner, always imagine you are based in Equilibrium.
This film is a fine piece of art about an utopian society governed by the banning of emotions and, consequently, every form of art.
To sum up in a few gentle words, your product appeals to the feelings and emotions of your consumers, but your business dealings don’t.

When dealing with customers, you have no feelings. Because you will get a lot of rejection, and this might shred your courage into so tiny bits that you will not be able to recognize yourself. Then you start doubting the magic problem-solving power of your product. Don’t. It is still you, and your product is wonderful.

Don’t care what people say or think about you. Care if they don’t respect you and your work. And care if they don’t respect your time.

Trust your intuition. If you have the feeling that you are wasting time with a non-client, you are probably right, so stop the swapping of emails as this leads nowhere. Your time is as precious as any other asset in your company.

Businesses are not about passions. Yes, your product is your passion, but selling it (with a profit) involves cold calculations.

Don’t overthink. There are two types of clients: people who want to do business with you and people who don’t. The challenge is to detect the latest category (ASAP) and distance from them.
To be continued.

Art by Michael Cheval.

About Iulia Halatz
“Writing is an Iron Tale, must be tough and sincere to the core of human perception of pain as valor. I am the grumpy T-Rex who started writing out of pain, not because of a polished world. Writing out of love is painless and herbivore. As we sometimes taste blood, ours or others’. Nevertheless, some words are so expensive that we are better left with them unspoken or write them with the ink of a Ghost…” She is a teacher, author, small entrepreneur and cyclist.