“We're not a good fit!” I kept telling myself.
In my heart I knew, we couldn't continue working together.
If you've ever taken on the wrong client, here's how to protect yourself from letting it happen again.
The first time it happened to me I found myself saying, “This is my business, I'm never going to take on another client I don't want to work with again”.
It's happened to all of us.
We've likely found ourselves working with non-ideal clients at least once or twice.
And as much as we do the exercise to identify ideal clients. Taking the time to identify non-ideal clients as equally if not more important than the ideal client exercise.
Here's why you MUST identify non-ideal clients…
- They are energetically draining
- They will make you question yourself and your ability
- If you're a people pleaser you will bend over backwards to do everything you can to make it work
Now there's no judgement on this – we've all been there before.
But today I want to help you stop taking on clients who aren't the right fit.
Step 1: Listen to your Intuition (or gut)
Have you ever gotten a thought or feeling inside that made you stop and wonder if you're making the right decision about something?
I remember the first time I took on a non-ideal client at the beginning stage of my business about 8 years ago, there was something in the conversation that made me wonder if we were a good fit.
Within a few weeks I was noticing something in our coaching calls that made me question working together.
Then a few weeks after that I started getting anxious before our calls.
And it continued from there.
I found that I was jumping over obstacles and doing cartwheels to support this person, but no matter what I did and said it was never right or good enough.
And by the time our program ended, I was angry that I'd put myself in that position to begin with.
Had I only listened to my intuition I would have likely not taken on that client and would have saved myself months of frustration and stress.
Now this isn't to say that I didn't provide great coaching and this individual didn't gain strides. It's simply to say that there was an inner knowing that we weren't quite the right fit.
And that inner knowing made working together less enjoyable and at times extremely challenging.
So if the hair goes up on your neck or you notice something in someone that you can't quite put your finger on, don't automatically accept them as a client. Explore it further – listen to your gut. Consider taking them on temporarily.
And no matter what, include an “out” clause in your agreement that allows you to conclude your program together early if need be.
Step 2: Write a Description of Your Non-Ideal Clients
Do not overlook this step.
Write out detail for detail every single thing you can think of about the clients you do not want to work with.
Make a list. Be descriptive and don't leave anything out.
Just as important as knowing who you do want to work with is knowing who you don't want to work with.
For example, one thing I wrote out is that I do not work with clients who are not open to being coached. Who dismiss what I tell them and who argue with me about everything. Essentially – argumentative and non-coachable clients.
I'm not right about everything, but I do know what it takes to grow a multi six figure coaching business! So when clients dismiss my coaching and invalidate my strategies – well….I just can't help!
See why it's not worth taking on these types of clients?
If you're not on the same page from the start, you may never be.
Step 3: Put it On Your Website!
We're in the midst of updating my – “Who I don't work with” description on my site too. You can head to my services page to see what I have in place right now. (Scroll to the bottom where you'll see, “Are we a good fit?”
Don't be afraid to post a description of who is not ideally suited to work with you.
But more importantly – adhere to it.
To protect yourself from the wrong clients, listen to your gut, identify them and don't take them on.
It's your business and you have every right to take on the clients you want to work with. Be discerning. You owe it to yourself!
Now I'd LOVE to hear from you. Have you ever taken on a non-ideal client? How did you handle it? Did you terminate early? Did you continue working with them? What did you learn from this lesson? Let me know in the comments below!