1. Use Craigslist
When looking for shitty clients, Craigslist is a great place to start. The ‘gigs’ section is a virtual goldmine for the bad work you’re looking for. Be sure to look for posts that say: “Student Needed” or “This will be great for your portfolio!” ALL CAPS posts are exceptional resources.
2. Show Old Work
As a creative individual you may have years and years worth of work in your portfolio, dating back to before you were even a student. When searching for shitty clients, it’s very important to include all of this work. If you’ve designed 47 logos in your lifetime, be sure to include them all on your website (including copies in different colors). A potential shitty client might find your student branding project set in Arial to be “Super Cute!” and want their new business cards to “Look just like it! Maybe you can copy it?”
3. Lower Your Rates
Shitty clients will often have a different opinion regarding the value of your work. It’s important not scare them off with budgets you would normally think are appropriate. If you charge $100 an hour, try charging $7. You’d be surprised how many bad opportunities present themselves.
4. Offer Discounts
Sometimes lowering your rates isn’t enough to land the deal, so try offering discounts. The shitty client may offer: “If you give us 30% off, we’ll e-mail all our friends about you!” This is a great offer, and should help you land the deal.
5. Be Shy
It’s important to be somewhat of a pushover if your goal is to attract more shitty clients. Confidence in your abilities, as well as any opinions regarding the proposal should be kept to a minimum.
6. Do Spec Work
Speculative design sites make it easy for you reach thousands of shitty clients effortlessly. The anonymous nature of these sites allows you not only do lots of work for little pay, but often no pay at all! If you’re new to working with shitty clients, and would like to learn more about their ideas or proposals, try browsing some spec websites or design contests.
7. Work for Family
Doing work for family members is an easy first step into working with shitty clients. The close relationship or love you may have for your family member allow you to easily get taken advantage of both creatively and financially. You often know each other’s addresses (or may even live in the same house), so details like proposals or contracts aren’t even necessary! Be careful not to work for a successful entrepreneur in the family (they may end up being a good client). Ideally you should only work on projects involving their recent idea to launch an ‘e-book’, or something with ‘candle making’.
8. Say Yes to Everything
Last but not least, always say ‘Yes’. Every client, every budget, every revision. Being confident enough to say ‘Yes’ to a bad proposal is a good first step, but don’t stop there! When confronted with low budgets and endless revisions, always say ‘Yes’ to keep your shitty client happy. This will ensure you an endless network of shitty clients that you can work with in the future!
If for some reason you prefer ‘Good Clients’, check out these links…
Freelance Folder – Ten Characteristics of a Good Client
Clients From Hell – Clients From Hell
Freelance Switch – 12 Breeds of Client and How to Work with Them
Greyscale Gorilla – Seven Rules for Building Online Portfolios
Just Creative Design – Why logo design does not cost $5.00
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