Part of my client vetting process is to look them up on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other random searches online. It’s simply good practice to do that. You can learn a lot about a person from their interactions when they think no one is looking.
If you think that clients aren’t doing the same then you’re simply wrong!
Many years ago I was hurting for work in general and was applying to a bike shop in town. My resumé was good enough to get me an interview and one of the first questions I got was:
I noticed that the date or your resumé is wrong. How do you think that speaks to your character?
Yeah that was a hard one but some quick thinking on my feet lead me to say: “I figured that someone who didn’t want to hire me over that little thing wasn’t someone I wanted to work for. I leave a mistake in every resumé.”
TOTAL LIE. I did not leave a mistake in my resumé just to see what potential employers were like. It wasn’t some scheme to vet them better as an employer. The truth is that I really wasn’t invested in that job, I just needed to have some work. The bike shop seemed like the coolest thing I could pick from and I had prior experience as a bike mechanic.
That mistake did speak to my interest in the job, I’m just really good at thinking on my feet in an interview. Honestly I have never not received a job I interviewed for.
Are you constantly writing about how to make sure you get paid as an agency? Sure it’s important to get paid, but will a potential client read that and think you want to serve their best interests or that you want money from them?
Do you Tweet about lame client design changes? Could you frame the same thing in a blog post about how to help clients give effective feedback?
Do you think that a blog post about helping clients give effective feedback is a better way to show possible clients that you are smart and care about their project than jokes about how bad client feedback can be?
I remind every 10upper that public expression influences the way outsiders perceive our team, fair or not. That’s true for me, five times over. If a client or recruit actively doesn’t like a given 10up engineer, for example, I can get on the phone, apologize, and institute changes. If he or she doesn’t like me, odds are that he or she will pass on 10up, and encourage others to do the same. - Jake Goldman 10up owner
This doesn’t just apply to you as the business owner this applies to everyone in your company. Each person shows a portion of your culture to the world. Is that a portion you want to be shown?
Now I’m not saying that you need to clamp down on your personality nor am I saying that you try to limit your employees or contractors expression. I’ve had clients that choose to work with me over large agencies simply because they love the personality that shows through in blog posts and twitter.
I am saying that before you whine about a client or out a non-paying client online - think hard about what that says to future clients doing their research.
Does that say that you are a professional person that will be awesome to work with or does it say that you are an entitled freelancer?
If you don’t follow Jake Goldman I highly suggest it. Dude is seriously smart and worth your time.