Several years ago I met with a prospective client who’d just relocated with his family from interstate.

He had an established business, a great product, and a very impressive past projects portfolio.

He was a referral from a valued associate.

Unfortunately he did not fit my ideal client profile.

Nonetheless, I was confident I could rustle up enough work to get him off to a flying start at his new location, so against my better judgement I decided to reach out and work with him.

We struck a deal on a commission only basis.

Customer deposits would fund the cost of his materials.

I would be paid 50% of his net profits once the jobs were completed and monies were received in full.

There were no out-of-pocket expenses to retain my services.

No payment unless I produced results.

A definite “win” situation … for him

We backed up our agreement with a written contract.

I did my research and located a neighbouring area emerging as an industrial hotspot.

After a couple of days of pounding the pavement in mid-February’s subtropical humidity I brought back sufficient work to keep him and his assistant busy for the next six to eight weeks.

He was rapt.

Everything was coming along swimmingly.

That is until the workshop picked up pace and projects got into full swing.

Then it all started to go south.

His equipment broke down.

His so-called “useless” offsider went walkabout.

Deliveries were short.

Customers were difficult.

His had issues with his kids.

He had issues with his wife.

He was about to go under.

There was a lot at stake for both of us so …

I threw him a lifeline!

I dropped what I was doing and raced around to pick up materials from suppliers, placate his now rattled customers and renegotiate contracts.

Against all odds we managed to sidestep an impending disaster.

When the jobs were finally completed to everyone’s satisfaction we were both exhausted.

Don’t know why but as settlement day drew close I had a gut feeling he would not be forthcoming with commissions.

Ta-dahh!

Always trust your gut.

He wanted to renege on our deal.

In his view it wasn’t fair he had to share half his profit pie when he was the one who’d done all the hard yakka!

Forget about the fact there’d be no pie if it wasn’t for me.

I managed to get most of what was owing.

Eventually.

Begrudgingly.

Despite my best efforts we did not part on friendly terms.

His final remittance advice came via email with an attachment.

It was a Trojan virus.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

If you currently work with clients who are less than ideal, do yourself a favour and dump them.

Do not prostitute your integrity

Partner only with like-minded people who truly value your time and expertise.

People who appreciate the results you help them to achieve.

People who are only too happy to pay you what you are worth.