I can't stand being treated badly by someone. It's an awful feeling! But for some reason when money is involved I will put up with a lot more ... like I'm some sort of 'for hire' to dump sh*t on ... like I no longer have rights as a human being .... do you know that feeling??
We all know when we're treated unjustly or unfairly in life ... but as business owners there is a weird "well, I'm being paid by this person ... so ..." acceptance about it. Well, no more!! Not for me. I am not here for that! I have a service, I will offer my time, I will do the job (and beyond that for most!!) ... but there comes a point where it goes from 'business minded' normalcy and into a place of 'being blamed for every single thing that doesn't go your client's way' place ... and I'm not just talking about me here ... this is something that I have heard of and been privy to since the first business I launched as a wedding coordinator in Seattle. So before you all go commenting on what I bitch I am for complaining about my clients on this blog: THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT ME ... I have clients who have these clients and they ask me these questions during our coaching sessions. This is a problem.
>> So What To Do About It?? <<
If you aren't a doormat then it seems you have a few options:
- Fire your client! It's something that people do! Again, your other clients may be suffering because you have this other client who can't get their sh*t together and blames you for it! Every time you deal with their 'new issue' you have just taken time away from your other clients ... something to think about.
- Give a warning! Get down and dirty with your problem client ... tell them that while you understand that they are upset, you are also upset. Create boundaries that make it clear that your time is valuable and the wishy-washiness of their decisions or non-decisions has been a burden on you too.
I feel like those of us who have been in business a long time and have a grasp on how much of an asset we are can do this without issue ... without feeling like a failure because of it ... but if you are new to owning your own company then you may feel that every client is one you need to hold onto ... no matter what kind of abuse they may throw your direction.
Here is the problem: will this problematic client ever say anything good about you?? Let's say you finish the job you were hired to do even after all the back and forth and confusion and them being super upset and changing their mind every month: will they ever truly walk away happy?? I say no. I say that client will never walk away happy and they will never refer your services. Am I crazy??? Maybe!! ... but it's something to consider. Is your time spent over and over and over again with this client worth making all your other clients upset by your delays and your time being consumed someplace else? Hmmmm ....
Heather, isn't that really YOUR job to have a contract that is clear about time spent and how many 'changes' you'll allow? Abso-f*cking-lutely. You're right!!! However: this type of client I am referring to doesn't play by those rules ... they find 'outs' ... they come up with excuses ... they delay you for days on answers and make your life as someone who is supposed to help them very hard. If you have a contract to throw in their face and end all of the crazy: DO IT!!! DO IT NOW!!! But if it's a grey area where things have gone back and forth with zero decisions made then it can be hard to decipher what is actual and what's not.
Don't be afraid to fire a client. If your gut is telling you that it's not worth it: listen to that voice.
Now, am I saying that we as business owners don't ever f*ck up??? Heck no!!! I mess up all the time and I admit it and I find an answer that makes me and my client happy ... but if you're in the place of 'no return' where you just get angry every time you think about a certain project or client because of THEIR behavior?? This is where I feel that firing your clients is necessary. If you've messed up and they have done everything right ... well, that's when they need to fire you ;) lol