And how to solve the problem when your not
Hey there! Today I’m talking about how to know when you and your client are a good fit, and how to solve the problem when you’re not. I’ve been in this industry long enough now, to see there are signs. There are so many great clients out there, and a lot of it has to do with personalities matching and working together. But there are still some I guess I could call them bad apples. It comes with the territory to meet people who don’t work well with you. If you aren’t prepared it can really bruise your ego, and make you wonder if there is something wrong with you. Definitely not!
I’ve spent some time thinking about what makes a good client and a “bad” client. It’s not so much “good” or “bad”, it’s more if a client is a good fit, or not. You are working as a team and the pieces have to come from everyone to make the puzzle.
A Client That fits…
- They can communicate well, both when speaking and writing
- Tasks and projects are clear, with expectations and deadlines provided
- They reply to your emails in a timely manner
- …and provide you with the information required
- You feel like an equal, not an employee
- You are interested in the tasks and therefore enjoy doing them
- They value you, your skills, and your time
- They pay you your rate and on time
- They respect your business hours and understand that you juggle more than one client, and your world does not revolve around them
You’ll usually have a gut feeling on the first discovery call. That’s why they are so important (even though I understand they are a little nerve-wracking in the beginning when you’re just starting out). You will feel instantly relaxed on the call, and confident, it’s like talking to a friend. You’ll feel confident enough to bounce ideas off of them. But every now and then, we don’t listen to that feeling. Whether it’s because we are new and we need that client, or we pass it off as an awkward first call, sometimes the client just isn’t a good fit.
A client that doesn’t fit…
- They poorly communicate what they want to be done
- Everything is urgent until you get it to them
- There is no awareness of your business hours
- They contact you continually
- They convince you that the task is complete and it meets their standard… Just to turn around a few weeks later asking for it to be redone
- You feel anxious and nervous about your skills
- They’re always trying to negotiate your rate
- They pay you late…
- …Or perhaps don’t pay at all
- They assume you know what their creative vision is, and you’re supposed to read their mind
- They are vague in setting tasks and projects
- You have to keep going back to pull more information out of them
- The tasks are set as scattered as their thought process
- Their goalposts are always changing, you can’t keep up
- They really aren’t ready to outsource their projects yet
I’m sure I’ll add to this list over and over, It’s definitely a process, and as time goes on, you learn faster which clients are your people, and which ones just are not a good fit.
What to do when a client isn’t a good fit
When they are not a good fit that is when you refer, refer, refer! They may not be a good fit for you, but they might be a great fit for your colleague or friend or someone in your group might be a fit. If they really aren’t ready for a VA, or they’re having some issues letting go of control and handing work over, it’s a hard choice because we all need money but it’s time to move on. Let them know in a nice professional manner that you are not a good fit, but you would be glad to refer someone else to them. And next time, listen to that initial “gut” feeling!
I would love to hear about your experience and when you know if a client is a fit or not.