Awhile back, I went into a forum I'd decided to stay away from, as it's known for mudslinging, personality conflicts, etc., and a result was realizing I'd made some mistakes. Perhaps everyone else already knows this, but let me offer this advice anyway:
NEVER write for a client who refuses to tell you where he/she is located.
NEVER write for a client who will not tell you his/her real name, and the name of his/her company if the work isn't for their personal use.
NEVER delete anything- from the work projects you do for clients to communications between clients and yourself, it appears we need to keep everything indefinitely.
My mistakes: approx. a year ago, I deleted folders on my desktop that contained old work;
and thinking an email account might be reaching its storage limit, I also deleted communications from clients I figured I'd never hear from and had no reason to contact again.
How these mistakes "bit me in the butt" (can I say 'butt' on this forum?): a client posted on that forum, making false claims such as saying I did not write the extra material they'd asked for and didn't pay me for, that I have the habit of missing deadlines, and that I essentially make a pest of myself emailing clients. While none of these claims were true, I can't prove it because I deleted everything. So she's doing a dandy job of wrecking my reputation, and I can't do anything about it.
If anyone has advice, I'd appreciate it.