Do you encounter crappy clients? If yes, welcome to the club.
That’s one ugly aspect of business hardly anyone ever talks about – the crappy clients! Forgive the foul language, but I’d rather be precise with my terms than polite. The term is a really good way to describe those clients who make your life difficult.
We see the glamorous lifestyle many entrepreneurs flaunt on social media. It’s all Lamborghinis and Teslas and enthusiasm everywhere. But that’s not an accurate picture of business. Business can be tough and ugly.
I’ve had my share of experiences with crappy clients in my journey as an entrepreneur in the last eight years. I’m sure you all can relate to this because you have also experienced it yourself.
What I learned is you need to recognize those crappy clients as soon as possible and let them go.
I’ve identified five red flags you need to look for when considering working with a client. Once you recognize these red flags, you can cut all ties, nip things in the bud – insert any idiom you wish here to stop your suffering – and never deal with them again.
These red flags are gold! If you see these, make sure to hit the road.
1. Disorganized clients
If a business or a person seems disorganized and can’t plan ahead, that’s a big NO for business!
What is a sign of a disorganized client?
If you encounter a prospective client that needs to get stuff done yesterday, that’s a red flag.
Some clients are notorious for doing this. They’re always late! For everything! They need to get things done now because they hadn’t planned any of it and are now scrambling. This haphazard approach would take them nowhere and would sink you too.
If you say yes to them, you will be caught in their chaos, and your business will suffer.
2. Disorganized business
That leads me to red flag #2 – disorganization in your client’s business.
What are the signs of a disorganized business?
The red flags are: lack of clear strategy, no clarity on the makeup of the team, not clear who is responsible for hiring, and lack of clarity about their operations.
Typically, this means they don’t know what they’re doing, and they’re involving you in the process of not knowing what they’re doing. At the end, it will all fall to pieces.
3. Not knowing the what, where, and how’s of the business
Red flag #3 is not knowing what’s going on in the company. It echoes point #2, but it reflects the state of disarray inside the business – not knowing where things are.
For example, a crappy client I just fired didn’t know where their Google Analytics was. Google Analytics should be an easy thing to set up and monitor on a regular basis. They didn’t even know if they had set up Google Analytics. In fact, nobody in the company knew. Not the marketing person, not even the leader of the company.
If you see the client has trouble answering the basic questions about their business, you have both flags #2 and #3.
4. Passing the responsibility on to another
Red flag #4 is passing the buck. By that, I mean when the client blames someone else for their failures. This is a very bad quality in businesses, and I see this all the time.
“Well, I don’t know about that because the person who set this up is no longer here, and they didn’t tell me about it.”
If you see this in a client, don’t engage.
The responsible person should have figured it out by then. It’s their responsibility to their business. Even if they outsourced or delegated the setup, they should have figured things out. It’s part of being an entrepreneur and doing your job well.
5. Beating up vendors!
Red flag #5 is being cheap toward and bad-mouthing those who help the business. In other words, beating up vendors. I hate that. That’s one of the most not just annoying but venomous things a company can do to its vendors.
Vendors help the company and the brand. And beating them up is one of the worst things clients can do. If they speak badly about the tools, platforms and other agencies they use, blaming them as described in red flag #4, you can bet they’ll do the same to you. Most likely, they’ll lowball you and not appreciate your work.
“Well, I don’t know… Am I really getting everything I need for what I paid?”
Don’t take that crap. Run the other way.
Listen to your gut
When choosing your clients, keep in mind the five red flags described in the article.
If you see any of them, stop engaging with the client. Bad clients can trigger negative thoughts about your worth and value.
If you feel your current or prospective client isn’t the right fit for you, don’t go through the rigmarole and the negativity. Avoid constantly thinking about this unfit client whose problems are keeping you up at night.
You may start feeling as if you were drained by a vampire, once you start losing your sleep and peace of mind. Crappy clients suck the life out of you. That may lead to you doubting yourself, thinking you’re not at your optimal speed and competency, even questioning whether or not you are cut out to be an entrepreneur.
You don’t need that in your business. You should be growing and looking for new clients.