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Shariq Ahmed
Shariq Ahmed

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How I Lost My First Client? 3 Mistakes to Avoid

Breakup hurts? Think again. When you work for someone diligently but still get fired, then that feeling is just excruciating. But well, there was a reason behind that firing.

In hindsight, I do think that it was right for that client to fire me. Even if I was in his place, I would have done the same (or maybe not)

I'm mentioning these mistakes, so that you can avoid it. Because you see not every time, you learn by doing. At times, you should also learn by others experience.

1. I Broke His Trust

I made a grave mistake: I broke that client's trust. So, if you are a junior developer or someone who does freelancing, remember that you can break a glass but never trust. 

'Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair. So, treasure it.'

This is certainly true. Because you see, we can't know what others are thinking. Heck, we can't even predict what others are actually thinking. This means that my client never knew when I would make the same mistake again - reason behind his firing.
Did I try to win back his trust? Yes. I tried a lot. But the damage was done. Telling him that 'Sorry, I won't make the same mistake.' was similar to going on a wild goose chase.

2. I Took Advantage of Client's Leniency

I was fortunate to have an easy-going client. All the tasks that he would give me weren't a tall order. But still, I managed to not do all the work. That's because I was busy doing other client's work. I was new in this field at that time. So, I didn't know much about certain things.

3. I Didn't Do All of What Should be Done

This is another mistake. I didn't do all the tasks that I was supposed to do. Out of 10 tasks, there were times when I did only 5 and there were also times when I did only one task. 
Surprising, right? But the thing was that the client firing me wasn't the thought that crossed my mind at that time. 
I thought that I had hit a jackpot, my client is the best. Even if something went awry, my client won't fire me. But, well the opposite happens.

How Can You Avoid This?

  1. At that time, I didn't know how should I avoid that situation. But after all these years working with different clients, I think I know what could have been prevented. 
  2. Communication is key. Cliché, I know. But always, let the client know that due to time constraints, you can't do the work.
  3. Never overcommit. In fact, under promise but overdeliver. 
  4. Never shoot down client's recommendations. Find a common ground. 
  5. Don't ever take advantage of client's leniency. 
  6. Be honest. Let the client know when you are unavailable to work. 

And voilà - that's how you can prevent client's from firing.

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