On My Own

A Personal Journal
by Davood Denavi

Communication Is Key

Communication can make or break a relationship, especially in business.

Over my seventeen year career as a contractor I have had many situations where I have struggled to communicate with my clients over things of different magnitudes. Here are two situations where I learned to better communicate with my clients and not throw in the towel in the future.

The Missing Letters

A few years back I had a client named Jim who only paid using checks. He mailed me a check with my last name spelled incorrectly. As a result, the banker told me to just write in the correct spelling of my last name. Before depositing it I called Jim to discuss the issue and he wanted me to mail the check back to him so he could issue me another check with my name spelled correctly.

The problem came in with the fact that he would not mail the new check until he got the old one back. I suggested that I write “void” on it with permanent marker and have my bank shred it for me. Instead of agreeing to that he took half of my suggestion and said to mail it back to him instead of having it shredded.

I could not wait two full weeks for the payment and told him I needed him to overnight me a check the next morning with my name spelled correctly. He sent a new check with same-day delivery the next morning again misspelling my last name. Since I had not put the original check in the mail yet when the new one arrived I called him and insisted he pay me over PayPal before I mailed the two checks back and told him I would overnight both to him if he did that.

He got so upset that I was insisting PayPal that he told me to just write my last name in correctly on the new check and have the banker shred the original one. A few weeks after this all happened I found out that he was going to stop updating his website and no longer needed my services anyways through a third party who knew both of us.  I should have ended things in a more professionally amicable way without causing him to get angry over something that was so small by following his procedures and waiting the extra two weeks.

Changing Of The Guard

In January of this year I agreed to a contract with a new client that had many moving parts including him wanting me to track my hours for one thing I’d be doing for him even though I charge flat rate and everything is included for the rate that is agreed on. By the end of April he was not happy with how long things were taking because he did not understand the technical issues we were running into doing the website development part.

I suggested we hold off on development of his site and focus on the SEO. This was the part I was charging him hourly for with an agreement to be paid every week since he paid electronically. He paid me the first two weeks after I suggested this then he wanted to go back to focusing on the development work. However, I had still not figured out the one thing that was holding us up on the technical side and when I told him that he said okay continue the SEO work.

Well, two weeks later he had not paid me for either of the weeks and completely refusing payment. As a result, I stopped working on the SEO and after week five when he asked me why no more changes had been made to the keywords on the products in his store I told him I would not continue any work on development or SEO until he paid me for the two weeks that were unpaid.

We then went back and fourth for a solid ten days through text message before I finally gave up and told him to find a different developer all together. In this situation, I should have ended things more amicably by telling him after the second week to find someone else to do the SEO work rather than doing the last two weeks of  SEO work for free and wasting time going back and fourth through text with him during the fifth week.