We’ve all had that dream client – you know, the one who makes you think “Why can’t they all be like this?” They are always pleasant, appreciative, and seem to love virtually everything we do.
And conversely, we’ve all had that difficult client – you know, the one who makes you think “Really? Really?!?” on a daily basis. They feel impossible to please at times, no matter how hard we try.
But let’s face it, we’ve all got our quirks. None of us are perfect. When you’re an entrepreneur, dealing with people – all *kinds* people – is simply part of the gig. If we put a red velvet rope outside our business and only let the positively perfect clients come in, we may be sitting there waiting for quite some time.
But how do we decide how much is too much? How do we determine when tolerating a person’s tricky quirks is the right thing to do, and when it’s better to simply “bless and release” them? My hope is that the following four red flags can serve as your guide. These are the tell-tale signs that it may be time for you to take care of yourself first, and tell your client that they will do better to find help elsewhere.
1) They Repeatedly Ignore Your Recommendations
You quite simply can’t help a client who won’t take your recommendations. When you keep on a client who constantly ignores the expertise which is the reason why people hire you in the first place – you risk them blaming you when the finished product doesn’t deliver results. You’re brilliant at what you do, and any hours you spend giving your energy to those who don’t see or utilize your brilliance is quite frankly unfair to the people who you could be making a huge difference for.
2) They Don’t Respect You
When it begins to feel as though respect has left the room? That’s when a relationship can become toxic. Bottom line: everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Your clients deserve to be treated with respect by you, and you deserve to be treated with respect by them. If this isn’t happening, it’s time to say goodbye.
3) They Are Causing You to Lose Money
Numbers are numbers: if you have a client who is paying you x amount of dollars for x amount of hours, and you are consistently spending more hours than they are compensating you before because of how difficult they are – it’s time to have a conversation with them to make sure that you’re being adequately compensated for the extra time they require. Some clients fully realize they have additional needs and are more than happy to pay for the extra time. Others expect special treatment for the same price, and those are the ones who you’ll most likely need to bless and release.
4) Things Don’t Improve After a Conversation
A client/provider relationship is just like any other relationship: it will require work at times. Communication is everything. If you’re having a problem with a client, don’t silently suffer – have a conversation with them. Very often you’ll find they had no idea they were affecting you in this way and they may be more perceptive moving forward. It’s when you have that conversation and then nothing changes, that it’s a sign you may not be a good fit to work with one another.
5) BONUS: [Insert Your Reason Here]
You know what the beautiful thing is about owning your own business? YOU’RE THE BOSS. You don’t have to ask anyone for permission. If you’re feeling the need to bless and release a client for a reason not listed above then, by all means, do what feels right to you. (Now, that being said, if you’re firing one in every four clients, it might be time to consider that either your target market is way off base or you may not be well-suited to the entrepreneurial life.)
We’re each on a journey of our own, constantly figuring out what works for us and what doesn’t. Just remember to take care of yourself out there. At the end of the day no client, no matter how big or fancy they may be, is worth killing the joy that is the reason you started your business in the first place.