When Clients Aren’t Honest

One of the best parts of freelancing for me has been all of the clients who’ve become friends over the years. If I had continued working for one company, I may never have had a chance to meet all of the smart, interesting people I work with every day.

Reporting our latest feature for the AARP’s Work Reimagined site, Danger! A Dishonest Client Can Derail Your Business, reminded me that there’s a flip side to all of the variety.

Sometimes, our vetting processes for new clients can fail us–and we can get burned. Or a longtime client’s situation changes, and we don’t pick up on the signals. With freelancers, this will often result in not getting paid, but in other fields, unethical clients can bring different problems. One accountant I interviewed was thrown for a loop when he was suddenly asked to help a longstanding client–who’d become a friend over many years–hide financial malfeasance. (He ended the relationship immediately).

No business owner wants to turn away clients, especially in a slow economy. But sometimes, it’s a good idea.


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