In the post titled ‘A start up’s success story‘, I gave an example of one of KatyCan’s customers who continues to support and recommend KatyCan and believes that using these services helped him emigrate to the Netherlands.

I nicknamed this client the ‘Gold standard’ of a happy customer, and clients like the one exemplified in this post make up the majority of KatyCan’s business. Simply check KatyCan’s website for client reviews and testimonials if you don’t believe me.

I have decided to write a post in opposition to the ‘Gold standard’ above about KayCan’s worst client… let’s respectfully nickname him the ‘dark coal smear’ who remains in the buried corners of my memory. He dredges up a shiver of PTSD every time I recall the dark months spent dealing with this individual and trying (in vain) to make him happy.

To make this post a little different and more intriguing (for all you gossip-loving, scandal-following readers out there), I will provide the highlights (lowlights would be a more apt description, actually) of working with this client from February to August 2021. He truly tested my professionalism and stretched my personal endeavour of remaining kind to the absolute maximum.

Let’s get into my professional, intellectual and eventually personal boxing match with Ben (an alias, obviously).

Ben contacted me via phone call while I was on holiday with my family in February 2021 and spoke to me for an hour describing his personality and how he, after doing research on me and my business, trusted me to portray his professional image.

He intended for me to capture on his CV all the four expensive and detailed personality tests he had done. The words that stand out most that Ben used to describe himself were ‘Hunter’, ‘Unmarried, and ‘Assertive’… He wanted me to revamp his entire profile according to these characteristics.

I agreed at this stage, even though he immediately seemed more demanding than most of my clients. After all, it wasn’t the most unusual request for a complete profile revamp. He then emailed me pages of the document, colour schemes and personality evaluations straight after our conversation.

It should be noted that I agreed to give Ben a considerable discount because in his line of work, he was very client-orientated and popular in the public speaking sphere so assured me that ‘if I scratch his back, he’d scratch mine’ by introducing me to many potential clients who needed my services. I have yet to meet one, by the way.

Usually, I spend a week maximum on an order which most clients prefer. This is because the less time spent on updating the profile means the quicker the client can get started on the job-hunting process.

Ben, however, had me in his coal-stained clutches for over 7 months, demanding changes, additions, edits etc. I even did Skype sessions with him on 3 occasions in which he spoke with various put-on South African accents that were not natural to try to elicit a response from me.

To cut a very long, painful, uncomfortable story short, at the end of august 2021, Ben ended up with  6 CV templates, 3 cover letter templates, a LinkedIn profile update and a near 30% discount. He refused to listen to my advice or follow any of the guidelines I knew had worked for other clients. He came to me wanting my professional aid but, naturally, this ‘Hunter’ knew better than the expertise I had that he was paying for.

When I eventually refused to continue working on Ben’s profile after months of back and forth, him changing his mind (which entailed wanting a range of colourful CVs and eventually ending on wanting a black page with white writing) and expecting me to drop other paying clients at his convenience, Ben then got personal.

He sent me a voice note over WhatsApp. It was aggressive, scathing and personal, along the lines of “you are a disappointing and disgusting person” and “I won’t take this further by leaving a bad review of your services because I’m not that kind of person”…you can imagine the rest.

I blocked the delightful bloke, but not before sending him a professional email with the entire history of the work I had done for him, including all the drafts, edits and finished products.

I don’t know who got the last laugh, but I do know that my business is growing, my customer base is growing and I haven’t had a client like that since. The year is young, though, so we can only hope for more such entertainment!