I’m going to get a little vulnerable here, if that’s okay.
Have you ever had a Customer From Hades?
A Client From Hell?
Sure you have.
But have you had three of them at the same time, all simultaneously making your life a living hell?
It happened to me, about ten years ago.
Here’s A Short Synopsis Of What My Average Day Looked Like
First, I’d wake up at a regular time, but with some effort and an overall feeling of doom. Unfortunately, the phone usually started ringing before the alarm clock went off.
I’d rush through something that approximated “breakfast”.
Then, I’d check the “secret” email account I set up to communicate just with my virtual assistants, so I could get some peace before tackling the barrage of angst, anger, and aggravation waiting at the email address the clients used to contact me.
Unfortunately, half the time the message from my VAs was something as ridiculous and maddening as “so-and-so is pissed because they just remembered you asked them a question about their project last week and now they don’t feel you should have asked, you should have just KNOWN” or something pathetically stupid like that.
That really happened once.
After chatting up the team, I’d check the main e-mail account.
I’d quickly find myself amazed that the exact same things my firm was doing successfully for all our other business creator clients, who loved our work and made money from it, seemed to always backfire for these three Clients From Hell.
Basically, I’d put fires out all damn day.
Then, I’d avoid being online at night, as it was almost guaranteed one of the Clients From Hell would be e-mailing right around midnight, just to see if they could get me spinning AGAIN, right before bed.
Repeat the angst and self-loathing the next day.
Until One Day, The Damn Printer Joined In The Fun
This was an especially bad morning.
Yet another case where a Client From Hell stuck their fingers in something that was working, in doing so broke it, then expected everyone in my company to drop everything and leap to attention and fix it (while they asked every 2 minutes “is it fixed yet?”).
I was so run ragged, I had forgotten to go to the grocery store. No breakfast food. Check this out – I had eaten toothpaste for “breakfast” rather than starve.
Later on, after the usual “crises” abated for a bit, I turned my attention to a document my accountant needed me to sign and fax back.
Simple enough, eh?
My accountant is awesome, and in the moment it felt like he was about the only person not riding me over one thing or another.
I opened the document and clicked “Print”…
…And That’s When The Last Straw Brutally Snapped In Two
Halfway through printing the document (a one-page IRS form that needed my signature), the printer stopped.
The alert beeped and flashed: “Out Of Ink”
Halfway through printing one black-and-white, one-sided document.
The printer didn’t have the decency to alert me about the ink being low out before I hit Print. Not only could I not give my accountant what he needed, but now this printer had destroyed a sheet of paper I didn’t even have time to go to the store and replace.
For crying out loud, I WAS EATING TOOTHPASTE instead of food!
What do you think happened next?
Let’s just say…
Two Years Later, When I Packed Up To Move To A Nicer Apartment, I Was STILL Finding Pieces Of That Printer Underneath The Furniture!
You could say things were really bad.
Actually, though, this was one of the best things that ever happened to me.