A couple of months ago, my husband told me about a podcast he had listened to. It was a podcast about silly disagreements people had that they would bring to discuss with the host. In this specific episode, a man was upset with a woman because, although he had known her for five years, she did not see him as a friend. Years ago she had developed a friendship chart. Anyone could move into different sections of the friendship chart if they wanted to. For instance, the lady told the man who was calling that since he considered her a friend then why has he never accepted her overtures of friendship by accepting a lunch date?
At first, I laughed at my husband’s description of this podcasts. But then I started to think about my own feelings towards friendships. After that, the flowchart did not sound so bad (no, I did not start one). This girl became exhausted with the heartache that came from investing more of herself with those who did not invest in her. In this way both her and the other person knew exactly where they stood. I loved the clarity she provided to her relationships. Whether they agreed or not, there was never any doubt about their standing in her life. And she could spend the time investing in the relationships that really mattered.
Are you unsure where you stand with your clients?
Either clarify it or get rid of them. Occasionally, we are attached to those first couple of clients or are just scared of losing any kind of business. No matter the reason, entrepreneurs have a hard time getting rid of detrimental clients. If you are just beginning your business, make a rule not to work with someone you don’t respect or like. If you already have an established business, get rid of unsuitable clients AND make a rule to be pickier in the future. It is not worth it, in the end, if working with a specific client drains you to the point where you want to quit your business.
Three years ago, I had an epiphany. I had wasted time on people who did not value me as a friend. I just could not understand why I had kept them in my life for as long as I did. But then I realized it was because I was, generally, a pack rat. I tried to keep everything for one reason or another. In the end, I had things that were crowding my space, causing me anxiety, and wasting my time since I had to constantly clean and organize them. I became fed up. It was at this point that I realized that I was also a pack rat of people. I acquired people and gave them a lot more value in my life and business than they actually deserved. It was no fault of theirs.
My definition of their role in my life and business was just different than theirs.
You don’t need that kind of stress or negativity in your life. By keeping clients around who are not adding value to your business, you are giving them a spot that a more valuable client could have. Don’t be a pack rat when it comes to clients. Distinguish the good from the bad, or even the not so bad, then get rid of them or spend less time on them. You’ll double the value of your business by doing that; even if only because you’ll feel that much happier.
I would like to emphasize the need to clarify your clients’ roles or their value of your services before taking action. A couple of weeks ago, I was at a point where I was ready to say goodbye to a seven year friendship. I had attempted to contact this friend many times for a year with no response. Right before saying goodbye to that friendship, I decided to give it one more chance.
It turned out that she had not been getting any of my messages. I am glad I took the time to clarify before taking actions. Two things were accomplished by this simple step. One, I salvaged a friendship I thought was not worth saving (I was wrong). And two, she realized that she had an issue with her message service which caused her to miss important messages from friends and clients. The moral of the story is that you need to take an honest and careful look at your clients and make sure they are toxic before you get rid of them. But once you make sure, give yourself the gift of happiness by gently, but firmly, telling them you can no longer take care of their business needs. In the end, it will be beneficial to both you and them since you were not a good fit to begin with. Then watch how your business will grow because you will have room for the clients you want and your happiness will open your mind to ideas you had kept closed off due to stress.