The TAAC Rule for Dealing with Flaky Clients

Ben Settle

“I will never play into a flake. Never.
There are literally hundreds
of other women within 5 square miles of my place.
Thousands within 10 square miles.
I’m going to worry about how to act with one of those? Crazy.
If she flakes, she’s out of my mind, permanently.”

— A.B. Dada

A while back on Flakebook, one of my customers ran into a flaky client.

The short version is this:

The copywriter spent a lot of time on the phone (multiple meetings) talking to the client, his team, his partners, etc., gave away a lot of his best ideas to them, only to find the client acting completely flaky when it came time to make a deal and get things going.

Anyway, he wanted advice on how to handle it.

What should he say?

What should he do?

How could he salvage this gig?

My answer?

The fact he was even asking about this meant he cared too much.

It’s like a guy who likes a flaky girl, asking his buddies how to handle it, when she isn't even thinking about him at all other than (maybe) as a backup, and is chasing someone else who is most likely ignoring her while he's chasing some other tail.

In both cases, the answer is the same:

Find a better option instead of chasing the flaky ones.

It’s much easier to find a new relationship than try to fix a toxic one. So why reward the flaky client’s bad behavior by even bothering to communicate with them at all?

The correct action to take is this:

Ignore the flaky clients.

Keep generating new leads.

And, continue to improve your skills.

Do those three things and you’ll be just fine.


There’s also a scarcity mindset thing going on with the copywriter. If you’re a freelancer (of any kind) listen up, listen good, and never forget the “TAAC” rule.

TAAC stands for:

“There’s always another client.”


There are tens of thousands of clients out there.

Why waste your time with the flaky ones?

This is not only the attitude to have for anyone who jerks you around, but it’s also the mindset my new Persuasion Secrets of The World’s Most Charismatic & Influential Villains book teaches.

You think Lex Luthor would put up with some client like that? Or the Joker? Or Loki? Or Bane? Or Sauron?

Hellz naw.

(More likely they'd have the flake tortured, not that I am suggesting *you* should do that … )

People wouldn’t dare flake on them.

Anyway, remember there is always another client.

If you’re a freelancer, yes, you need clients.

But, you don’t need *that* client who flakes, jerks you around, and wastes your time.

There are too many clients on the client tree to waste time with flakes.

Anyway, enough of this clacking.

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Published: January 27, 2017

5 Responses to “The TAAC Rule for Dealing with Flaky Clients”

  1. At first I thought you were suggesting that I was flaky because I can't sign up until the 31st.....but I'm thinking you're not really that pushy, and it's really not all about me, right? I also do not like to be played just to see if I'm playable and that's what flakes do. To the Flake: Waste my time and you will have wasted your time doing it. I have better things to do. And just because you called me does not obligate me to call you back by the way. Get over yourself. Me? I'm already gone.

    Guest (Candace K)

  2. "Ignore the flaky clients." It seems like a no brainer but once I realize someone is just being flakey because they insist on it, I'm gone.

    "Keep generating new leads." Okay, I know what kind of headline to use.

    "And, continue to improve your skills." Thanks, I recently wrote fresh resume copy that makes me believe I'm making dependable progress. I've written so many, it's a natural place for me to see a shift in my own work. It's exciting to see a change like this start to happen.

    Guest (Jen)

  3. I've been in Account Management for 19 years. The first thing I tell the new hires is that "Management" means just manage your clients, they don't manage you. If you don't control your clients from day one, they will make your life miserable...and I don't get paid to be miserable. I tell them to look at the top AMs in the company. They sell $75,000 deals, not $750 deals. Good clients actually like top account managers because they know what to expect and what's expected of them.


  4. After 30 years in direct sales, I do concur with Ben. Flakes will eat up your time; drop them like a hot potato.

    Lyn Sales

  5. Always make clients prove themselves up to you. It may suck but if your too nice and flexible, flakes will bury you.

    Guest (Kyle)

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