Years back, I was one of the early web page designers, back when there weren’t a whole lot of web pages out there yet. I was one of those “keep it simple but build a good engine behind it” sorts of designers. People really liked my work, and quickly I was recommended to a lot of different businesses.

Fast-forward a year or so later, and I ended up with the client from Hell. At first, like you mention, he was great and seemed really interested in the work I could do for him. And then he started calling me late at night (he was on the East Coast; I was on the West) and wanting things done right then and there. In the beginning, I was pleasant and tried to accommodate him, but then his phone calls turned abusive. He would call and then scream at me on the phone about how his page didn’t look like he wanted it to look, even though his instructions were “well, just do your magic.” Finally, I dumped him as a client, which resulted in about five minutes of this guy cussing me out like you wouldn’t believe.

Then his “new” web designer started contacting me a few weeks later because she couldn’t understand the coding (I had built the shopping cart in PHP, and she had no idea what that was, meaning he hired someone who used an early version of either Frontpage or Dreamweaver and had no idea what to do beyond type in text. When I explained that to her, she told him that she wasn’t sure she could fix it.

Then he started leaving messages on my answering machine (cause I stopped taking his calls) threatening me with lawsuits for sabotaging his site and demanded that I now give him high-quality work for free. I ignored his messages and sent all his emails to spam.

Shortly after that, I dropped all my clients but one and maintained her web site for the next decade and never offered to do another’s site again.

Author of Innocent Until Proven Guilty and 15 other novels. Writer, college professor and computer game designer.

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