Archive for the ‘Trials and Tribulations’ Category

Why You Just Gotta Pick the RIGHT Clients

Nothing good ever comes from taking on any ol’ client.

You’re not Walmart and this isn’t cookie-cutter work you do.

This is a personal one-on-one relationship as unique as you and each individual client.

Fit is going to be absolutely vital for it to be successful, enjoyable,profitable and of mutual value and benefit to you and the client.

Client’s who don’t “get it” are going to be painful to work with at best and a nightmare at worst.

I recently had a conversation with a business owner who stated she had learned in a internet marketer training that those of us in this industry must be managed and treated like employees.

I stopped her right there and asked her how she would feel if her clients spoke about her in those terms.

And of course she wouldn’t like that at all. It’s an absolutely insulting idea.

I further educated her that beyond professional respect and having the right attitude, for legal reasons it was of vital importance she understand that we are business owners and business owners are NOT managed or supervised in any way, shape or form — or else they are employees. And they can get themselves in a whole lot of expensive legal hot water working with missclassified employees. 😉

If you have a client who is nodding their head “yes,” but all indications are that they really don’t understand the nature of your relationship (i.e., business-to-business) no matter how well you have tried to educate them, and they persist in treating you like an employee, tell them “thanks, but no thanks.”

That kind of relationship will never work between two businesses.

You are eventually going to resent being treated like an underling and not being given professional courtesy and respect as a fellow business owner.

And ill-fitting clients can do a great deal of damage to your reputation when they aren’t happy, even if they are the ones in the wrong or don’t get it.

To clients, I say this… if you’re working with someone you feel you must manage and treat like an employee, there’s one of two things going on:

a) You’re a control freak who needs an employee, not an Administrative Consultant; or

b) You’re working with the wrong person.

Administrative Consultants are independent business owners. They aren’t your employees. They aren’t your “virtual staff.” They aren’t part of your “team.”

If they aren’t operating to a professional standard and can’t manage their own business and workload in a reasonably responsive and/or skillful manner, I really recommend you terminate your relationship with them and find someone else.

To Administrative Consultants, I want to remind you to lead your own show.

Don’t let clients dictate how your business is run or what your policies and processes are.

If your standard is to provide clients with a one-hour, weekly telephone meeting, stick with that. Don’t make exceptions.

You established your policies so that you could run both profitably and productively while being able to serve ALL your clients to an equally fair, consistent and dependable standard.

If that means saying “no” to clients when they want to call you every day (because you’ve set up a very intentioned work schedule and need the uninterrupted concentration)…

If that means saying “no” to clients when they want you to sit on a shared screen access as they talk to themselves and go through their inbox (because that is NOT a good use of your time)…

If that means saying “no” to clients who want you to “report” to them on a daily basis and/or turn in timesheets to them (you’re not their employee and this is an inappropriate request and expectation)…

So be it!

Take the lead in your own business!

You explain to clients how things work and what your processes are in your business, not the other way around.

That said, none of this is to punish clients.

You have standards, policies and processes intentionally and methodically set up in your business because they are what will enable you to run and deliver a professional service.

By saying “no” to things that don’t serve your business, what you are saying “yes” to in the process are great operating conditions that will allow you to provide superior service to all your clients – consistently, fairly, professionally and profitably.

It doesn’t serve anyone to allow your standards and processes to be stepped over and your time unproductively frittered away.

It’s a disservice to the business because it makes the operation unprofitable.

It’s a disservice to your other clients who aren’t making inappropriate demands and deserve your equal time and attention.

It’s a disservice to you because it will inhibit your ability to work with more clients and make more money.

And ultimately it doesn’t serve that client because you are establishing unrealistic expectations that you won’t be able to sustain and simply don’t work in the long-term big-picture.

Scam Alert – Todd Mayer

Our industry is now being specifically targeted by con artists and scammers.

A couple of the main cons they are hitting us with is laundering money and passing counterfeit checks.

What they try to do is get you to work with them as an intermediary, telling you some variation of a convoluted scheme involving “their client” being “interested in working with you” and ultimately wanting you to receive money on their behalf where you keep a share and send the rest to them, or you getting paid for both of them, but handling the funds through your account only, and sending the rest to them.

One who has been especially prolific is Todd Mayer, supposedly from the U.K.

I’m sure that’s not his real name, of course, and more than likely it’s actually a ring of con artists rather than one person.

Once “Todd” realizes we’ve all got his number, he, she or they will probably change it to something new (just like he’s now started putting an address in his emails after people weren’t biting because they had no way of verifying if he was really who he says he is. (Whether it was real or not is another story, but when people see an address, they automatically assume the business is credible, which is a mistake, but it happens nonetheless).

Anyway, “Todd” has been a very busy little beaver writing to all of us.

New people in the industry are especially vulnerable because they often are so desperate for clients they will jump at anything, and several have fallen victim to this con because of it.

But “Todd” obviously doesn’t realize just how small of a world our industry is, and how much we all compare notes.

If you receive any variation of this type of email from anyone, steer clear:

“Hello, my name is Todd Mayer. I run a consultancy firm here with registered address 6353 Cronin Street, SE15 6JJ. A client of mine who is due to arrive in the United States in few weeks time is interested in your virtual services. Can you tell me a little more about your mode of operation? If interested, please reply. Thanks, Todd Mayer”

See how he’s getting a bit more sophisticated in his con?

Colleagues weren’t biting because they are getting savvy to these cons. So now he’s trying to figure out how we operate so that he can devise his scam to fit into that pattern, basically to get better at tricking us into accepting counterfeit checks, cashing them and then sending him money.

He’ll be long-gone by the time your bank alerts you that the check you just cashed was counterfeit, and you’ll be stuck paying for not only the check, but also any bounced check fees that begin racking up. That’s how these con artists scam you.

So be smart.

Don’t let $$ signs cloud your judgment. This is how these cons get away with so much — by using people’s greed or desperation against them.

If something is too good/too easy to be true, it usually isn’t.

  • HAVE a proper client consultation and vetting process.
  • DO your homework and due diligence, and verify who and what a client is before you ever work with them. (Examples: Do they have a business website? Is there contact information easily found on it? Have you verified the address and phone number? What state do they operate out of? Are they sole proprietor or incorporated? Are they registered with their state? Do they have a business license? Have you Googled their name and the name of their business to check for complaints or anything else that’s questionable?)
  • NEVER let prospective clients rush your process (these are in place for their benefit as well as yours).
  • NEVER act as an intermediary or “middleman” when it comes to money. No legitimate business will ever need you to accept monies on their behalf, and in fact, it’s considered money laundering which will get YOU into hot water with the law.
  • BE selective about who you work with.
  • ALWAYS stick to your standards and policies.