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We’ve all had them. That nightmare client whose calls you dread.

The one you whinge about to your partner, friends and dog.

When their email pops into your inbox you stomach clenches.

When the job is finished you celebrate with Champagne and breathe a long sigh of relief.

Difficult clients are a nightmare.

I should know, I am one.

So, of late I’ve started out-sourcing some parts of my job to gifted professionals: mainly design and WordPress coding as, although I can do it, it takes me ages and I feel I could use my time more effectively.

Here are some of the things I do that must drive them mad (even if they are too polite to mention it).

I don’t write proper briefs

Although I know full well that a great brief can save hours of time working on a project and help avoid a whole stack of miscommunications, I am too lazy to write one. Instead I write random emails in a mad scramble, full of typos and conflicts and expect my poor designer to work out what I want. Surely they can mind read, right?

I change my mind (a lot)

“You know I said I wanted this, well now I want this …” Because I don’t take the time to think out my project properly up front. I realise, as it progresses, that I’ve forgotten lots of important bits, or that my initial idea was just plain dumb.

I quote the job

“I need x doing; that will take an hour right?” Just because I want it to take an hour doesn’t mean it will take an hour. In reality very few things take an hour! Rather than telling my suppliers how long to take, I should trust them enough to let them tell me.

I’m closed minded

Obviously, I like to think I know it all. After all, I have years of experience and have managed hundreds of design and coding projects, so I want things done a certain way, MY WAY. While it’s great to have a clear idea of what you require, it’s also good to allow a little flexibility, and be open to new ideas.

I get emotional

Although I promise myself that I’ll review the work in a quiet and dispassionate way, I have a tendency to break that promise. Instead, I look at things late at night, with a small child on my knee; I’m exhausted, and I want wine, so, if I see something I don’t like I fixate on it. By the next morning, when I look at it again, it’s perfectly fine and I regret my knee-jerk reaction.

I’m email obsessed

Rather than pick up the phone and have a simple conversation to clarify something, I’ll send an email, which generates a reply from my supplier, to which I reply and then he replies and … You get the idea. I’m a major phoneaphobe.

I make too many amends

“If you could just fix this we’re done. Just this tiny little thing.” I know it’s not really tiny, I know it’s round eight of amends, but I push for more. What a bum pain I am.

I’m impatient

“When would you like this done?” is a dumb question in my book. Now. Yesterday. Last week. By the time I’ve briefed it in, I’m so excited about getting it back I’m champing at the bit. So, while I might say “Oh yeah, no hurry,” that doesn’t stop me emailing ten minutes later to see if it’s done. Maybe soon I’ll get my head round the whole QUICK/GOOD/CHEAP mantra.

It really is a wonder that anyone agrees to work for me, isn’t it? But I do have one saving grace. I pay on time and don’t quibble on costs (much). I know what a struggle cash flow can be for a small business, so I try not to pass the pain along.

My other redeeming quality is that I do love to share the love and am more than happy to recommend awesomeness.

So here are a few talented folks who are currently suffering my appalling client behaviour:

I’m working hard to mend my ways and become a DREAM client. It’s a long journey but at least by admitting my foibles I’ve taken the first step.

Your turn to share

Do you have or have you encountered any appalling client behaviour? Fess up below:

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