Complaining about clients is, hands down, the design industry's favorite pastime.
So much of the conversation amongst agencies, freelancers and the creative workforce is rooted in sharing grief about client experiences: clients are stupid, they don't appreciate the work, they don't want to pay and go out of their way to make you miserable.
And it's toxic.
Why? Because most of the time, your clients' "annoying" tendencies are your fault. Once you realize this, patronizing clients won't be so fun anymore.
Your client is needy or micromanaging? You didn't do a good enough job setting expectations or instilling confidence in your process. That's your fault.
Your client is too critical or distracted by the minutiae? It's your job to listen for the root problem. It's not the client's job to communicate like a creative director. That's your fault.
Your client is asking you to do something you didn't agree to? You neglected to scope properly. That's your fault.
Your client wants last minute changes? You didn't create a clear enough project schedule or set parameters on feedback. That's your fault.
Your client doesn't respect your expertise? You're using to much technical language and not communicating decisions in a way he or she can understand. That's your fault.
Your client isn't happy with the end result? You failed to create alignment throughout the process and effectively communicate rationale. That's your fault.
What's more, much of the friction in your client relationships is actually rooted in fear.
Think about it: Someone is spending thousands (or sometimes even hundreds of thousands) of dollars to work with you. This person either had to jump through an unfathomable number of hoops to secure that money for you or, worse, is spending it from their own pocket.
If you've ever had to spend the amount of money that your client is spending--and for something you only get to see after you've paid--you'd know it creates anxiety.
This person is either putting their reputation on the line for you or betting some part of their company on your ability to deliver. He or she could get fired, lose a lot of money or, worse, damage his or her customer relationships.
The reality is, the friction is a result of trying to ensure that you are successful.
What are you doing to reassure your client of that?