I’ve been running an agency for a few years now, and back before I has success with site building I worked as a freelance writer for several years.
So, I’ve got loads of experience dealing with clients and customers.
Some good. Some bad.
But the one thing that comes with that experience is being able to easily take notice when someone might not be a good fit for your business.
Often people call them “bad clients” but I think it’s really just a case of not being a good fit for each other…which I guess does make them bad for you?
If you’re venturing beyond affiliate marketing and starting up a business, then maybe I can shortcut your learning on this one.
The Two Types Of Bad Clients
For me, I feel like there are really only two types of clients that end up being a bad fit for pretty much any business.
- The needy client
- The manager client
Needy clients are typically the ones that chase the lowest prices. So, when you offer a lower price that your competition, you end up with the people who are more concerned with penny pinching.
They don’t really seem to care about anything you say about the service or product that you’re offering – they just want to know your prices and usually they want a discount.
And these are always the people who demand the most of your attention.
They basically are trying to squeeze as much out of you as possible for the paltry sum that they’re paying you.
Even things that aren’t a part of the service offering that they paid for – they want all the things and they don’t want to pay extra for them.
It’s rare that you encounter this type of customer when you charge higher prices.
But you’ll be able to recognize them when they start asking emailing or calling you way more than your other clients and asking for a million things.
The manager client is someone who thinks that since they’re paying you, then you are basically an employee that can be bossed around and monitored.
I don’t know why they have this mentality.
Cause you know they don’t hire a roofer to come and fix their roof and then micromanage the roofer’s every move.
I think it’s more difficult to identify this type of client quickly.
But sometimes you get a clue that they want to micromanage you early on and you can bail.
The Ideal Client
In my experience, the ideal client is someone who just lets you do your thing because they trust that you know what you’re doing and if you need anything from them, then you’ll let them know.
After all, that’s what they’re paying you for, right?
Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that.
Your ideal client knows the value that you provide – and what that value is worth. And whatever pain point your business solves is the exact pain point of the client.
I know I’ve simplified this a bit, but I’m sure you get the point.
Evaluating Clients To See If They’re A Good Fit
It took me a while to really get into a system where I could evaluate a potential client to determine if they are a good fit for me.
Since client work isn’t my main income source, I typically never take on more than five clients at a time and that makes it really important to ensure that a client is a good fit.
So, here’s how I evaluate clients to determine if I want to work with them.
- Are they focused on getting a cheap price or asking for discounts? Or do they recognize the value of the offering?
- Does it seem like they will be hands-off or hands-on? Any signs of wanting to be a manager?
- Are they rude or condescending or just give off bad vibes?
- Is there a potential for more business or will it be a one-off thing?
- Do they have a reputation that will look impressive on the client list? If so, are they worth the potential problems?
That’s basically the framework that I use to determine if I want to work with someone.
If you’re early in your business, then you’ll be tempted to take on any client that offers to pay you. I know because I was the same way when I first started out as a freelance writer.
And I worked for a lot of shitty clients. I’m talking about epic douche bags here.
It sucked. I shouldn’t have done it. My stress levels and general mood improved greatly once I fired all the shitty clients.
You should do the same if you have shitty clients. Cause you’ll be glad that you did.
Hey, I’m Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok, Las Vegas, and (currently) Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.
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