“Don’t ruin my bad reputation!”

In my activity as a coach to early stage entrepreneurs and service providers I often face desperate business owners struggling to establish a good client base without suffering from internal conflict about who they want and have to work for.

They often come to me asking to rework or establish a communication strategy that will help them attract clients that will make work more fruitful and satisfying. While that is an excellent way forward, there is an argument to be made for simply rejecting the kind of clients that will make you go crazy.

“But I need to pay the bills!” is the most common reaction. Yes, I want to say, but your on your way to make that more difficult.

The three most important reasons to reject a client based on the pleasure factor are

  1. If you don’t like them, your work will probably show it. This will make for an unhappy client and maybe even, guess what?, late payments or no payments.
  2. If you don’t like them, your client will feel it. They will sense something is off and will either feel uncomfortable and leave anyway, or they might interpret your work and behaviour in a way that will make things even worse.
  3. If any of the above is true, you’re faced with a third problem: your client will probably talk about the experience. So, based on the opinion of someone you don’t like working with, you will build a bad reputation.

Perhaps the last point is the most important one. Unless you have a one-off transaction business where the quality of service is irrelevant (and I’d like to challenge you to name such a business in today’s service world), you depend on word-of-mouth and your reputation in the sector. It is one of the most important elements of your brand and you need to protect it like a treasure.

Inversely, if you pave your way with happy clients, even if in absolute numbers there are fewer at first, your reputation will grow steadily and your invoices with it.