The freelance lifestyle is fraught, especially when you work with people with whom you don’t have a prior relationship. You have no prior knowledge to rely on when something goes wrong. What do you do when miscommunications occur?
1. Don’t get mad. Think.
Never fucking respond until you’ve taken a deep breath, thought the issue through, and read the email you wrote ten times considering ten different viewpoints. You may think that’s overly anal, but it isn’t.
2. Read emails very carefully.
Make sure you understand exactly what the other person said. Then read it again from ten different view points. Your client might not have called your mother a horny toad, he might have meant something entirely different.
3. Repeat back what you think the other person said.
Just as you don’t have any context clues to understand your client, he doesn’t have any context clues to understand you. So go all therapist on him. “What I understood from your last email was that you wanted to set your entire paper on horny toad reproduction in Comic Sans. Is that correct?”
4. Don’t take it personally.
Listen, your client could have just gotten dumped, his car could have gotten stolen, his mom could have just died, and his dog just peed on the floor. Whatever is going on, it’s probably not you.
5. Cut your losses if necessary.
You don’t deserve to be treated like shit. Do your best and move the fuck on.
What am I missing?