That’s a lesson I hope I’ve learned now: I’m firing one today.

I had no idea how much stress a single difficult client could bring into my life – but now I know. I hung onto the project for dear life because I really loved it, even though the client was so hard to deal with in just about every way. But now I know I should have listened to the small group of designers who told me to fire her six weeks ago. <Bangs head against desk again.>

I’m usually very good at catching a weird vibe from a potential client, but not in this case. Not until many weeks into the project.

Even so, I should have fired her. There were many opportunities since mid-July, but no – I just gritted my teeth and hung in there. But it really wasn’t worth it – I’m not going to get much out of it financially, and I doubt the site will still look like my design when it finally launches. It was really beautiful and that’s what I feel worst about – that and all the extra time I sunk into the work without being compensated.

I feel stupid for some of the mistakes I made in allowing this client and project to get out of hand – but I’ve started working on an overhaul of my business practices that will help to curb that in the future. So that’s a good result that will hopefully make my studio a better business all around.

Tomorrow I hope to hand over the finished product and get my little final payment. Then this client will be out of my life and I can start devoting more time to the clients with whom I really enjoy working. In the meantime, I’ll try to remember how I feel right now the next time a client like this one appears and nip it in the bud before it gets so bad.