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.