Never forget that the best part of owning your own business is that YOU get to decide who can enter your realm and who doesn’t make the cut.
Waaaay back in 2010 during the first year of my web design business, I read a chapter in Michael Port’s “Book Yourself Solid” that was a real eye-opener for me. It was about something he called “The Red Velvet Rope Policy.”
Think about a red carpet event. They only let certain people through, and the people who do come through feel like VIPs. That’s how your clients should feel – like they are incredibly fortunate to be working with you.
What a concept (!), I thought as I read this. It was quite the contrast from my mindset at that time: I would take clients, ANY clients if they would only have me.
Over my 14 years as a business owner, I’ve had all sorts of clients. I’ve had the ones who showered me with appreciation and even sent me a gift at the end of our project because they were so thankful to have worked with me. I’ve also had the ones who belittled me and told me I was no good at what I was doing. And just about everything in between.
But I’ll tell you one thing: these days, I will not take any disrespect from someone lucky enough to call themselves one of my clients (notice the language I’m using here – and you can use it too!). I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I am that rare and special web designer who responds quickly to emails and texts, is always kind and professional, shows up for meetings on time, won’t disappear after a project ends or at any point in the future, and does a dynamite job to boot. And as such, I deserve to work with people who appreciate me and treat me with respect. You also deserve this. We all do.
Sometime last year, I was contacted by a person who needed a quick job done. We agreed on a price, and I did the work for him. But at some point in our email communications, I started to notice things that felt off. He alluded to paying too much for what he called a “super simple project.” He would tell me things “needed to be fixed immediately.” He accused me of things that weren’t my own doing. He criticized the tools I used and the way I worked.
So what did I do? Wrapped up that job as quickly as I could, got paid, and then told myself he was off the list. Literally, in my mind, I envisioned my VIP area where my wonderful clients get to hang out and enjoy all the things I bestow upon them, and I saw myself showing him the door, never to return. If he ever does return hoping to have me do more work for him, I’ll politely tell him no. Simple as that.
He lost the privilege of being my client.
And YOU can do this too! The next time you don’t like the way a client is speaking to you or treating you, you always have the right to show them the door. And depending on your situation, you might not even wait until you complete your contract. You might decide to cut ties with them mid-way through, and that’s OK too. It’s totally up to YOU, the business owner.
If you’re looking for more insight into handling these sticky situations, I hope these other past blog posts of mine will help. Remember, you deserve clients who appreciate you, always! <3