Fecund Stench: “Whatever success I’ve had over the years has actually been the result of what opps I’ve declined, rather than those I’ve accepted. One bad client can ruin your life.”
The small PR agency I once worked for once took a client like that. We ended up having to sue to get the last three months’ worth of the retainer the client contracted to pay, and that’s only a small part of the trouble they put us through.
As a freelancer, I’ve been very lucky: All my clients have paid eventually. Most have paid promptly, including the ones who were paying kill fees, of which I’ve had to take a blessedly low two in 30 years. I’ve never had to sue a client, nor been so much as threatened with a suit in return. Part of the reason is that I generally charge less than I’m worth, but I know better than to think that this extended string of good fortune stems from any discernment skills on my part with respect to for whom I agree to freelance.