You just got an email from someone who wants to work with you.

But during the negotiation process, they ask for some crazy stuff.

And raise some red flags:

But you just keep imagining this:

And this:

So you sign a contract, and get down to business.

The next day, they email you with: “Can you get this 100 page [very complicated project] to me by tomorrow?”

You email back, telling them you couldn't possibly do that.

You even apologize for your inability to do what they ask, all the while you're thinking:

But you get the first draft done.

They come back to you saying “I like this a lot! Except not, like, the ‘feel’ of it."

Also, "Due to a new decision, we don't need this [giant section that you spend hours working on]."

Work becomes exhausting. They keep asking for revisions, and you give in.

Soon, just talking to them leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

And then comes the moment when you begin to completely lose it.

And:

And because those tables clearly weren't big enough:

You start wondering: can I survive financially without them? Could I lose all this money?

First, you give them a warning. You make it clear that this isn’t working.

Sometimes, they don't even realize they were being terrible.

At which point, you should try to compromise. But if it still doesn't work out:

It helps that you stipulated a "kill fee" in your contract, because you're a genius.

Even if you lose money, it's worth it. You're free at last!

Use your free time finding better clients who love and appreciate you.

Next time, when a prospective client who seems crazy wants to work with you, you'll know what to say.