Self-care is a big theme in my life this year due to having to manage the care of my elderly father for the past five years who has Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Bodies dementia, on top of trying to manage my business and client work and have some semblance of personal life left.
Life happens, and you will thank yourself to the moon and back for putting smart policies and processes in place now that honor your boundaries, standards, and needs in your business.
Along that vein, choosing clients well plays a huge role in taking good care of yourself, your business, even your other clients—because one bad client causes a host of problems not only for you, but for them as well, in all kinds of direct and indirect ways.
One of the traits to look for in your ideal clients is that they are easy to work with. Clients who are easy to work with are amenable to your systems and processes (because those are what allow you to work well together successfully), and open to doing things in new and different ways than they may be used to doing them on their own.
This, therefore, is a vital topic to address in your consultations if you are seeking to connect with the best-fitting clients possible.
You could frame the question something like this:
“Similar to how you have certain ways of doing things in your business, I also have specific methods, protocols, and systems in place that allow me to best manage my various client workloads and create optimum efficiency. Any new clients I accept onto my roster need to be amenable with these methods and systems and open to some new ways of doing things in order for us to work together effectively. For example, I may need you to adopt a certain format for email subject lines and be consistent about that. Is this something you feel you can do and are open to?”
Something like this will open up an exploratory conversation that can also give you some good indications as to how easy or difficult a prospective client may be to work with.
If they think they are too important, “too busy” to pay attention to details like that, or if they are otherwise resistant or dismissive of what you need from them, that is a red flag you should heed.
They need to understand that in order to work together and for the relationship to work, there are simply some things you are going to need from them in order to do your best work and run a sane and happy practice (which benefits everyone).
If they can’t fulfill that end of the bargain, those are people you should think twice about taking on.
Clients who make you pull your hair out are just not worth the headaches they create in your business and your life.
PS: Implementing a thorough, well-thought out consultation process is one of the BEST things you can ever do for yourself and your business as it will help you get more ideal clients who say YES! to working with you and weed any with whom you don’t wish to work.