Nightmare clients. We’ve all had ’em.

Needy and demanding or demeaning and dismissive, these special πŸ¦„unicorns should come with a warning label and a disclaimer.

Ask anyone in a service-based business, and they can tell you STORIES!

Middle of the night calls

Unrealistic expectations

Demanding tons of work for little $$

I had one once who didn’t talk to you for a week, then blasted you with criticism and disdain, leaving you feeling like a failure who didn’t know what you were doing. Every. Week.

Yep, fired that one.

I’ve gotten better at spotting them ahead of time by now though, and you can too! Here are some tips on red flags to look for . . . but first, let’s get something straight . . .

You DESERVE good clients who appreciate your skills and knowledge.

You DESERVE to get paid well for the work you do.

You ARE an expert with a back up tribe of experts in your back pocket. Never forget that!

Now that we have that straight, let us begin.

RED FLAG #1 – Tone

If you’re married, or in a relationship, or have a kid, or talk to the mailman on occasion, you know that tone can make or break an interaction. It’s a little more subtle online, so if you can see and sense it upon first interaction, RUN!

I recently had someone reach out to me for my services in a post in a Facebook group. I immediately PM’ed them, as they requested. A couple days went by with crickets (no big deal, happens all the time), then suddenly they showed up again in the post, asking me where I was and if I was really interested and to stop wasting their time if I wasn’t.

Hold. My. Earrings. Exsqueeze me, what?

You’d be proud of me. I simply screenshotted the PM and politely suggested that they should maybe check their Message Requests folder.

RED FLAG #2 – Expectations

Do they want the moon with a side of cheese? Expect (re: demand) that you show immediately that you can get conversions – before you even start?

Yeah, that’ll be a fun one.

Listen, not everyone with unrealistic expectations will be a bad client. Sometimes it’s just ignorance – or they’ve been reading too many testimonials from “gurus” and ads without doing their own research on it.

Feel them out with a couple well-placed questions, like:

  • What have you tried before? How did that work?
  • Are you willing to commit to a testing phase of 90 days while we ramp up your campaign?

If they seem amenable, give them a shot. If not, ‘bye Felicia.

RED FLAG #3 – Pricing

Are they looking for champagne on a beer – or tap water – budget? Skedaddle. Yes, I just said skedaddle.

This is someone who will fight you and nickel and dime you for everything. DO NOT go into a working relationship with someone who doesn’t understand the value of what you do and doesn’t appreciate the investment they’re making.

I went against my best judgment (and Red Flag #1) with Mr. PM me and continued the conversation about their needs. They were looking for an experienced copywriter with at least 7-8 years of writing experience.

Okay, no problem. But he asked for my prices . . . BIG problem. I’m WAAAAAY out of his budget. #sorrynotsorry

No problem. I get it – no hard feelings. I suggested some other avenues where he might find copywriters more in his price range, but cautioned that it would not be an easy search due to his budget.

“But do those writers have 8 years of experience? Because I really need an experienced writer.”
Good. Luck. With. That. 

Just . . . just . . . just . . . save yourselves the headache. Look for these three RED FLAGS in your initial interactions with prospects, and you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration.

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