Today’s Blog is going to be all about how to spot those client red flags to watch out for as an online service provider so that you do not get stuck in that situation like I have before.
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Before I get into the red flags I want to tell you about an experience I had and why it’s not worth it to take on clients who push your boundaries and do not align with you.
This is actually my very first client back when I was a social media manager.
I had a discovery call with this client, she seemed amazing, such a nice woman, so we started working together.
The only problem is she haggled my prices down.
But because I was new I just thought yeah okay, I’m willing to do that so that I can gain more experience and learn from you.
I was only charging about £15 an hour which is not much as a social media manager. It’s a lot lower than I would have liked at the time but I went with it.
We were working together for a little bit, she did start to push my boundaries a little bit. So she would ask me to work on the weekend, she would ask me to do things last minute, and there came a time where
I had to say no.
she messaged me asking me to post an Instagram post and write the caption as well.
And I basically said look I can’t I’m having dinner with my friend, this is gonna have to wait.
And she absolutely flipped at me.
The relationship didn’t get off to a good start and a month later I decided to end the relationship, and she did not take it well.
She asked me to retract my testimonial, she sent me a really long email putting me down as a business owner, so safe to say it definitely wasn’t a pleasant experience.
I actually have a lot more client experiences like that, so it took me a while to learn, but I am here to show you what the red flags are so that you can avoid
One thing I have noticed with new business owners and I made the same mistake – taking on any client that comes your way because you just want to get your business off the ground…right?
You want to start earning money, you want things to start moving so you will just take on any client even if that means putting your prices down & even if that means allowing them to push your boundaries.
It is absolutely not worth it, I promise you, do not do this.
Make sure you’re only taking on the right clients.
Let’s dive into the very first red flag, shall we?
when they are trying to haggle or negotiate your prices.
This is definitely a red flag because it’s a sign that they don’t respect your time and they don’t value your service.
Clients that tend to haggle are usually the ones who are trying to get a more budget service, so
they don’t necessarily see your service as something that urgent or they don’t see it as something that valuable.
They see it as something that needs to be cheaper for them, which definitely isn’t a good sign.
When somebody tries to haggle your prices I would run a mile.
Of course, you need to do your own research to figure out what the right pricing is for your
product or service, and making sure that you’re not pricing yourself outside of the market.
Once you have your pricing, stay strong with it because your time and your energy is valuable.
when the client is talking badly about ex-team members or saying that they have had to go through a lot of people before they’ve got to you.
This doesn’t necessarily always have to be a red flag, but I would use your intuition with this
one because it could possibly mean either they’ve genuinely had a bad experience in the past
or it could be that they have super high expectations that you will never be able to meet.
So you really have to do your due diligence with this one.
Ask them some more questions about what they expect from you, and what a good service to them would look like.
If you’re able to ask these kinds of questions, then you should be able to get a pretty good idea about what the customer needs and wants and whether you’re able to actually meet their expectations.
They are not clear on what they want.
When you’re on that discovery call with that potential client, and you’re asking what their
goals are and what they actually need help with, and they have zero clue.
That is gonna make your life ten times harder when it actually comes to work with them.
If the client doesn’t know what they want, how are you going to give them what they want?
It’s going to be almost impossible if the client is lacking clarity.
I would say that is a massive red flag and you should be careful whether you decide
to take that client on or not.
They’re running the discovery call like an interview.
You want to make sure as the business owner that it’s a mutual relationship with your client. It’s not an interview, you are not an employee.
If the client is running the discovery call like an interview, it’s a sign that they are looking for an employee and not necessarily a team member.
This can mean that they won’t have the same kind of boundaries, they won’t respect that you
have other clients and they will want to treat you more like you’re still in your nine to five
which is probably what you are trying to get away from…correct?
Make sure that you watch out for those kinds of clients, and if they do start running the
call like that. See if you can take back control of the call a little and ask your own questions.
They show up late to the discovery call
Or they don’t show up at all and they try and rearrange again.
This doesn’t have to be a red flag, it could be a genuine reason why they were late or why they didn’t show up.
But I would be cautious with this one because it could be that they don’t respect your time.
It could be that they have a pattern of doing things like this.
So in the future when you need certain things from them, they could take a really long time and that could make your job really difficult.
So again, you need to use your intuition with this one.
Is it that they were genuinely late? Or are they just not respecting your time?
Make a decision based on how the call actually goes when you do get on the call.
Don’t give them too many chances, if they’ve already rearranged the call once, don’t let them do it again, don’t be messed around because it happens…a lot.
When a client pays late
Sometimes it will happen when you first send that first invoice ahead of starting working together and they take a few days or a week even to make that first payment.
I’d say that is a red flag.
You want them to actually pay you promptly, and make sure that they’re not going to expect you to do any work before you’ve got that payment.
Watch out for that, and if you do start working with a client and they’re consistently paying
you late, or they are in arrears and they actually owe you money, it’s time to think about whether you should drop that client.
You deserve to get paid on time.
Fair enough if they forgot once or forgot twice, but if it keeps happening it’s definitely a red flag and you should think about what you want to do next.
Unfortunately, we have just scratched the surface with this list.
There are so many more client red flags to watch out for but I hope that this has helped you.
I hope that when you’re next on your discovery call or when you’re working with a client, you can watch out for these things and not end up in the same stressful situation as I’ve been in many times before.
If you do need help figuring out exactly who your ideal client is, I have a free mini course that helps you exactly with this.
You can also check out my Youtube channel to watch the full video on how to grow your business on Instagram from scratch. While you’re there make sure to hit subscribe for more marketing and business ideas!
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