How To Avoid Bad Clients + Inbox Fear — A Mini Guide
When we first start our business, it is common to just focus on making the sale, filling the seats or hustling our hearts out but here’s the thing: we don’t want to sell our stuff to everyone. My coach Erika always talks about treating your business like a lady. Most of the time, that is a really hard thing to do. When you are feeling like you just need the money, need the recognition, need the work, “no” is the last thing on your mind to say.
I have totally been there. Desperate? Yep. Scarcity? I felt it.
Bad clients? I had them.
I also have had clients so BAD that I would avoid my inbox for hours because I was afraid I would have something from them in my inbox.
I could tell you so many stories, my friend.
Here is a little checklist to go through BEFORE you ask for the money so that you avoid bad clients and keep your peace of mind.
1. Don’t launch/sell out of desperation, scarcity or FEAR
This is when BAD decisions happen. It sounds like a good idea to launch when you “need” the money but it isn’t. TRUST ME. Before you decide to sell something, make sure that you are coming from that place of “hey, this shiz is good and I want to put it out there because I TRULY believe it will change lives.”
Here is the thing: if you are constantly feeling desperate, afraid and stressed out about your business, you need to really think about your options. Stay at your day job a little longer. Get some part-time work. It is IMPOSSIBLE to run your business if you are in a shitty state of mind all of the time. This feeling also makes it VERY difficult to say no when you need to.
And getting a day job isn’t a bad thing. I can’t tell you how much I would have liked the security of a paycheck when I was doing my thing.
2. Make sure the person passes the “go out for a drink” test + LOOK OUT for warning signs
This is SO important. You know that feeling in your stomach? The one you get when you know you are talking to someone who is going to give you a hard time? TRUST THAT. Don’t brush it off or push through it.
It is up to you to be in integrity and take a stand when it just isn’t a good fit. If you don’t think you could stand hanging out with them in real life, they should NOT be giving you money.
This is something I am still learning about but here are some warning signs to look for:
- You don’t even like answering their emails ASKING about your product/service/thing. You know what I am talking about, right? You feel your eye twitch or your stomach turn when that name shows up in your inbox
- They ask for customization right out the gate.
Key words to listen for: “can you make an exception?” “I don’t really work well in groups/1-on-1 so can I do this….”
Other stuff to look out for:
- Unwillingness to do their part or take initiative
- Excuses, excuses, excuses
- The email 3-4 times a day
- They need to be sold. HARDCORE. Like 7-8 conversations before they commit.
Some people won’t agree with me on this but if someone hangs out in “maybe” too long shut that shiz down, yo. This is a sign that someone is going to suck you dry. My best clients are ready. They know the course is a good fit and they respect it for what it is and isn’t. Saying “no” to a maybe doesn’t mean that you’ll never work with that person. I have found that most of my “maybe” people come back when they are ready.
3. Make sure you are clear about expectations and get everything down on paper
THIS IS HUGE. You might think you don’t need contracts or agreements but you DO. The digital space makes it EXTREMELY easy for people to not pay you or to back out of agreements without any consequence. Make sure that your clients know what to expect and agree to it.
If you get 1 thing from the post, I want it to be this:
4. If it feels like you should say no, SAY NO
I love money. Who doesn’t? But you don’t want “no” money. I have never been in a situation where I decided to do something that I originally said no to and was like “yeah, this was awesome.”
Most of the time, I am like:
I wish I could just give this money back
5. Honor your boundaries
Make sure people know how much access they get and make it EXTREMELY clear what that means and what it looks like. People like boundaries because it not only lets people that you respect yourself and that you take your work seriously.
I know what you are thinking: Shenee, why do you have to be such a bummer? I can’t even get anyone pay attention to me, I am not going to turn away anyone. Shenee, you are overreacting.
People are fundamentally good but also by nature extremely selfish. Good people can become bad clients because they want to make sure their needs are being met.
I am not usually a quote person but there is one quote that guides everything I do:
“We teach people how to treat us.”
Ask yourself this: how are you teaching people how to treat you?
I want to hear from you! Do you have bad clients? Do you have tips for dealing with them? After reading this, how do you plan to change the way you talk to your clients?