Are Your Clients Driving You Crazy?
Published June 24, 2021 | Money Mindset
Have you ever lost that special feeling with a client? Things start out all rosy and wonderful and then… over time… you feel the enthusiasm waning. And fast.
You love your job and what you do for work, you’re proud of the business you’ve created, but a certain someone is causing you to lose your joie de vivre.
Maybe you get that “ugh” feeling in your gut when you see their emails or texts. You feel totally drained or zapped when you sit down to do their work, or after a call with them, and you may even be staying up way too late to reply to their emails. They’re expecting you to jump through hoops you never agreed to or keep asking “just one more quick thing” without wanting to pay you for that extra time.
All of that can lead to a significant lack of thrill in your relationship.
When you start dreading the work you used to love, it can suck the life right out of you. You can start to question yourself and what you’re doing. That’s when the “bear brain” spiral starts.
"I don't think I even like this line of work anymore...
Maybe I should give up...
Something is wrong with the business I've been working so hard to build...
Something is wrong with ME because this is most certainly not fun..."
First things first - nothing is wrong with you! We've all had client situations like this. What matters most is how you handle it. It’s up to YOU to figure out the source of the problem and to take steps to resolve it. YOU can save yourself from burnout, despising your job on a daily basis, and resentment toward that person you originally fell in love with.
Don't let fear drive your decisions.
When I coach clients through these feelings and situations, I often see that they’re scared to cut bait and let this person go. It’s easier to assume we’re doing something wrong and we often direct that discomfort inward.
We let the problem child client continue their bad behavior of overstepping our boundaries because it’s hard to see HOW we’ll replace them and we wonder if anyone new will want to take that client’s place. Just as often as I see that fear pop up for a lot of people, I also see the minute they free themselves and decide to let their client go, a new opportunity walks right through the front door! Sometimes in very unexpected and profitable ways.
Now don’t get me wrong...Sometimes a simple contract renegotiation is all it takes to turn the love back up to high (see this recent article about navigating that process), but sometimes it’s simply time to call it quits.
It can be liberating to put some life back into your business, and the pep back into your step for doing the work you love with a little scrub of your client list.
I don’t believe that work is just WORK. I don’t believe in the corporate mindset that says some people are jerks, and you have to just suck it up, deal with it, and work with whoever comes your way. I don’t believe that anyone should settle for working with the wrong clients and you don’t have to put up with being treated like a doormat.
If they don’t give two hoots about you, they’re unappreciative, not showing up, disengaged, or trampling over your boundaries, it’s time to let that client go.
What to Do About Bad Apples
You know what they say, “One bad apple spoils the bunch.” The same is true when it comes to our clients.
One toxic relationship can turn us off of our entire work life. It can make us question our business as a whole, wonder about our model, and even consider looking at the want ads.
And I would never tell you to jump ship without a plan. So, let’s talk about what you can do to bring back the client love for EVERYONE you’re working with and serving.
Start by reviewing your client load. How does it make you feel? Are you working with your ideal clients and doing the work you enjoy for each of them? Does it light you up? Are you excited to roll out of bed in the morning and get to it?
Next, look at what you’re charging. Are you happy with your pricing? Are you holding resentment against someone because you’ve had them at the same rate since 2017 and you’re afraid to raise your prices?
And finally, if a client falls in the not-a-great-fit-anymore column, it’s important to consider how your finances would be affected if you let them go. Sometimes it helps to disentangle from them when you step back and look at the whole picture. Maybe in reality, with the hours they’re costing you, you can actually afford to replace two clients with one. Maybe by bringing on a retainer client or bigger one-time project, you’ll be making in one month what they pay you in three.
Worst case scenario, if this person drops out of your life tomorrow, what would your financial picture look like? Asking yourself this one question can make all the difference in your outlook.
The reality is, if someone’s emails make you cringe, you feel in your gut that something’s not right, the idea of your next call is making you physically ill, or you want to call it quits and throw in the towel, you just might need to show them the door.
After you’ve looked down your roster of current clients, you get to do some dreaming (my favorite part of the Zen Money Method!)
Make a list of all of the attributes of what constitutes a dream client for you. What are the commonalities you see in clients who love and admire the work you do for them and are a joy to work with? What kind of vibe do you want between you and your clients?
“Your ideal clients are the ones who will hire you for the work you love to do, will pay you what you deserve, are a joy to work with, and appreciate what you do for them.”
- Laura Beauparlant, Zen Money Client
Let’s seek out more of THEM. Let’s come from a place of intentional creation and growing a roster of clients from love, not fear of what will happen if we get rid of those who aren’t a good fit anymore.
In the End, the Decision is Yours
It’s important to remember that the responsibility for how you’ll continue this relationship (or not!) is on you. Sometimes, the disconnect can be fixed with adjustments to the contracts we have in place, the boundaries we establish, and reviving the best practices we initially laid out with this client.
By the way, If you’d like to know more about how you can make adjustments in these areas, read my recent blog on that very topic HERE, or my Zen Monday podcast HERE. In both places, I walk you through how to create better boundaries around time and money, setting your non-negotiables, and re-evaluating your contracts and terms.
If after a little time spent digging deep, you decide that it is, in fact, time to move on, simply inform them with plenty of notice, follow through on any outstanding obligations or work owed to them, and close the loop with love.
You can like someone just fine on a personal level, but they might not be an ideal client for you at this point. And that’s ok.
Remember, don’t approach this decision or take action from a place of fear. Look at your numbers and equip yourself with a clear picture of the financial impact this will have on your business, move forward with confidence and know that your next right-for-you client will walk through the door as soon as you let this one go!
So tell me, have you been through this? What happened and how did you feel once you made your decision?
Ready to lock in your Zen Money business model?
My Zen Money Biz Growth Snapshot is a perfect place to start.
You can check out typical business milestones, compare where you are today against them, and then spend some time mapping out a version that sings to you...with a little more clarity and a lot more confidence. All of which will help you ignore all that "success" noise out there.
Download the your snapshot HERE and then come find me on Instagram to let me know how it goes!
Share this post on:
How to Build the Business of YOUR Dreams - Not Theirs
5 Zen Money E$$entials to Grow Your Biz
5 Zen Money E$$entials to Grow Your Biz
Setting Pricing That SINGS!
Financial Success Starts with Your Thoughts