I’m angry. I’m on the receiving end of a client who has decided not to pay me for a project that I have nearly completed and is trying to bully me into taking a substantial loss on the project. I’m not here to whinge about that, although I’m sure that I’m not the only one here who has been in this situation.
But it’s a great example of something that happens all the time to freelancers and independents. Bullying. Your client often holds all the cards and that can make for a very unequal relationship. I’ve been astounded at the stories I’ve heard and the experiences I’ve had at the hands of some of these people who clearly haven’t been to client finishing school.
You see forms of bullying all the time in organisations large and small, it’s the way that hierarchies continue to work. But we have eschewed the corporate world haven’t we? We’re masters and mistresses of our own destinies.
Unfortunately, it’s your very independence and desire to steer clear of the corporate jungle that can drive the bully to do their work. Bullies like conformity. And you’re not buying it.
Our nature, as independents, is to seek new ways of doing things, relish the freedom, the creative space. That’s like sticking a proverbial red rag in front of a bull to some people. You will recognise the fleeting look – a mixture of envy and anger – that crosses the face of the employee who is commissioning you to do work as you tell him how much you enjoy freelancing. That’s not what he wanted you to say. He wanted you to talk about how hard your life had become, how you hadn’t been paid for months.
I don’t have a perfect life. In fact, I’m probably quite weird. An aberration.
I quite like it. I’m comfortable that I’m making an impact on the world in my own strange way and I’m doing so without needing to be managed, boxed and trained to fit in.
I seek out weird people and collaborate with them. Because once you take away the formula for conformity, amazing things happen.
And I’m not allowing my client to bully me into submission just because he can. I’m taking him on, if not for me, for the thousands of small businesses and independents out there,
Have you been on the receiving end of a bullying client? Tell us your story below.