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Work in the creative industry long enough and you will inevitably run into each of these eight clients. Watch for them and be extra careful if you decide to engage in a working relationship. They may just put your business at risk.

The Trader

They can’t pay you actual money, but they have something just as valuable to offer…like a freezer full of buffalo meat.(Just make sure your employees are ok being paid in meat.)

The Visionary

They don’t have money, yet. But “the money is on its way” because this idea is the business opportunity of the decade. They are kind enough to want YOU to be involved. It’s your lucky day!

The Alleged Connector

Although their funds are tight, they try to impress and intimidate you with their allegedly packed address book filled with many important contacts. (Cheap clients usually have cheap friends.)

The Hurry Up

They want to get started right away even though their funding is not officially available yet. It should only be another week or two and then the money will be here, for sure.

The Poser

They talk a big game, walk a big walk, and drive a fancy car, but they don’t have real success to back up their grandiose vision statements. (No success today is often an indicator of no success tomorrow.)

The Firer

They fired their last three agencies. You might take the job because there is no way you will do as bad as the last agencies. (Just remember, the client is the only consistent element in the last three bad experiences.)

The Promiser

They ask for a deal today and promise that they will have a lot more work coming your way in the future. (Promises like this are as good as (gold) coal in this industry.)

The Dictator

Since they are the paying for the work, they think they can dictate how it should be done. If you’re lucky, they may even come work over your shoulder for a day (just to make sure you are doing it right).

Which of these have you worked with? Tell us in the comments!

Michael Janda

I am Michael Janda, an executive level creative leader with more than 25 years of experience in both in-house creative departments and agencies working with some of the greatest brands in the world including Disney, Google, Fox, ABC and NBC. I create books, courses, workshops, lectures and other training materials to help creative entrepreneurs run successful businesses.