Stop complaining about your clients and put them to work

We’ve all done it, you get frustrated with your clients and start complaining that they waste your time, are never happy and generally make your life hell. Stop it. Your clients want this relationship to work as much as you do, you just need to put them to work. Start treating your clients like staff and give them work to do. It gives them constructive tasks to focus on, rather than harassing you about minor rubbish. By providing feedback through the whole process they’ll also feel more ownership, reducing the “that’s not what I wanted” syndrome. If they don’t get their work done, fire them. Life’s too short to spend with time wasters.

Here’s a few tasks to start them on:

Turn up to meetings

Don’t want your clients calling you at 10pm? Let them know when they can provide input. Daily huddles work well with internal teams but can also work with clients. Why not hold a quick 15 minutes Skype huddle every morning. It’s the time everyone gets to share where they’re up to and what they need input on. Clients are less likely to delay releases if they need to report on their progress regularly. If they miss the daily huddle, bad luck, they’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

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Skype

Provide clear objectives

Clearly defined goals and objectives are essential for the success of any project. If the client isn’t clear what they want to achieve there’s no way to measure it’s success. Get them to prepare a Google Doc outlining the project aim, key objectives and minimum requirements for success.

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Google Docs

Review the mockups

Don’t build a thing until your clients review and either approves or provides constructive feedback on your mockups. Upload your graphics to mocksup.com and let your clients do the work.

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Mocksup

Write the content

Don’t let content hold everything up at the end. There are loads of self service tools your clients could use to prepare their content while you complete other tasks. WordPress is just one tool that lets them publish content straight to their website.

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Wordpress

Review the website

Don’t take feedback by email, phone or fax. Install BugHerd and let your clients report suggestions, changes and bugs straight to their website.

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BugHerd

Find your next project

You’re busy working on your client’s project, you don’t have time to find the next project. Get your client’s to do it for you. Most people are happy to provide testimonials, case studies, blog posts, linkedIn endorsements etc. It took 30 seconds for us to promote tinyloud.com (the agency that created our new video) but they got job leads instantly.

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Referrals

Just a few of the millions of tasks you could get your clients to work on. So stop complaining and start managing (or firing).

About Alan - Alan Downie has been working in web for over 20 years. Alan was the founder of Fivesecondtest, UsabilityHub and BugHerd. He participated in the Startmate (Australia) and 500 Startups (US) accelerator programs, before becoming a mentor at partner at Startmate. He recently launched Splitrock Studio, a startup studio based in Melbourne, Australia.

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