Equal humans? Yes. Are all clients are created equal? Hardly! Here’s how to protect yourself, and attract the right clients for your business.

Part of the American Dream is to own something, however humble, that belongs to you. That often takes the shape of home ownership, and also business ownership.

For people in the services business, where you are selling time-based services, rather than products, it is important to know this. It is a mistake to think that “everybody” can use your services.

Even if “everybody” wants you, you should not want “everybody” to be your client.

What the Heck Happened?

Recently, I listened painfully as a friend recounted the disrespect that experienced at the hand of someone for whom she used to have a lot of respect.

The business relationship started out great, but soon the client went off the rails, and then completely disappeared, ignoring emails and other messages.

3 Mistakes

Truth be told, I think my friend has a pretty good business proposition. There are 3 takeaways.

  1. She presented her services wrong, and that inadvertently set up the wrong expectations on the other side. As a result, the client acted like they were doing my friend a favor.
  2. The client did not clearly see how my friend’s background could benefit their business, much less use that as a basis to refer her to other business owners. This is why I caution you to be clear about your desired type of client. Your resume, or list of services, is not the issue…The problem is how to show you are the right person to fix their problem.
  3. Worse yet, the client did not respect my friend’s time. Yes, you do what you must when “life happens,” and priorities get rearranged. Unfortunately, my friend invested a lot of time that went down the drain, and did not produce any profitability for her. This happens when you don’t properly set the scope of what you will and will not do (even if you can).

4 Ways to Evaluate Your Ideal Clients

Here are the actions you should take, based on where your potential client lies.

Category Wants You? Needs You? Action You Should Take
1 No No Run away…fast!
No Yes Make aware; do not pursue
3 Yes No Ask for referrals
4 Yes Yes Ideal client: focus here!

Equal? Not so Fast

Hopefully, you learned a few lessons from my friend’s story.

Don’t be tempted by the attitude of, “Hey, they’re paying me top dollar, I’ll do anything.” Trust me, that will feel good for all of one day (maybe 1 week). Inevitably, after that honeymoon period, you will deeply regret it.

If you compromise on the standards a client has to meet, any little thing you do for them will feel like a hardship. You will feel aggravated at almost every turn.

Whereas, going out of your way for a “good client” will feel good. You will not feel used when you go the extra mile for them.

Share below any lessons you’ve learned in your own experience.