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Do you bite or hide?

Does this sound familiar?
January: “, I’m super excited to hire your team to build this.  Let’s do it!  When do we start?”

February:Hey, I’m too busy to meet this week.  Just email over what you have, and I’ll let you know how it looks.”

March: “Hi, about that last the invoice…  Yeah, sorry, I’ve just been sooooper busy.  I’ll put a check in the mail today, promise.”

April: “, hey I saw a bug in that last build.  I don’t pay for bugs.  Fix it and reduce my bill, and I’ll get these past three invoices paid.  You know I’m good for it.”

May: <silence>

June: “, This email is to let you know we no longer need your services.  Please deliver all code on a CD and mail to the address below.”

This happened to me over and over when I owned my agency.  Eventually, I started believing that “clients are just jerks.”  Unfortunately, this caused me to get overly defensive at the first sign of a problem.  I acted like a kicked puppy.  If someone made a sudden movement, I would either bite or hide.  

Either way wasn’t how I wanted to act, but I’d been abused by clients so often I didn’t know any other way.  A learned helplessness set in, and I started to play the victim.  And, unsurprisingly, my victim mentality and defensive behavior chased off some great leads before they even signed the contract.

I don’t have this problem anymore because I’ve learned you train people how to treat you.  

For example…

  • I never work without a contract.
  • I never start work without a reasonable deposit.
  • I always get paid on-time.
  • I never lower my price.
  • I never cut my invoices.
  • Clients don’t stand me up for meetings.
  • Clients collaborate on me with project scope.
  • Customers take my business advice, viewing me as a trusted advisor.


See, from day one I train them to treat me with respect.  I don’t force them to; I teach them to.
Remember, it’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate.

Bite or Hide?

Do you have the problem of client relationships that degrade?
Have you found yourself biting or hiding?

About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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