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Many of us as entrepreneurs tend to neglect ourselves because we are nurturers at heart. We want to do everything and be everything for our clients. But remember…you can’t fill anyone from an empty cup.

Let’s say you’ve been hired to do a project for your client. You love the project and enjoy getting to put your skills to use but the client is proving to be a problem. Maybe your client texts you on weekends, has unrealistic turnaround times, or keeps messaging you on your personal social media profiles.

Whatever the case, know that you’re not alone. Every service provider has a client problem at some time or another. The important thing is to handle it gracefully, so you can continue to have a good working relationship. Here are some quick swipes that you can copy and paste when you encounter these client problems…

Problem: Client wants you to work weekends.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of working weekends when you’re a service provider. But the more you do it, the more it will be expected of you. Having regular downtime is good for your mental health and the health of your business.

  • Swipe #1: This looks like a fun project. My first available time is on Tuesday afternoon. I’ll put your project on the schedule for that slot.
  • Swipe #2: I’m no longer working on projects after four o’clock during the week. I’m also out of the office on weekends. My current office hours are 10 am – 5 pm Monday-Friday.
  • Swipe #3: I’m not available for weekend projects, but I’ll be happy to tackle this for you later next week.

Problem: Client messages you on social media about their project.

Many service providers end up friending or following their clients on social media. But some clients use social media to keep tabs on whether you’re working or they message you about their project. Here’s how to reclaim your social media boundaries…

  • Swipe #1: As part of my new social media policy, I’m not doing business over social media messages. If you’d like to contact me, please email me at (email address) or contact my help desk through (link).
  • Swipe #2: Thanks so much for your message, but I’m no longer using (platform) for business. To continue this conversation, send me an email at (email address).
  • Swipe #3: Messages over social media channels can easily slip between the cracks. I value your business and don’t want that to happen, so I’m switching to email only for client communications. Please email me at (email address) about this project.
  • Swipe #4: I only communicate with my clients through email. Send me a message me at (email address).

Problem: Client wants you to do additional work.

Sometimes, clients ask you to do more work without re-negotiating your payment. This is often called scope-creep. But don’t do the extra work or you’ll send the message that you’re a provider who’s easy to manipulate. Here’s what to say when this happens…

  • Swipe #1: That’s an interesting idea but let’s finish our current project for now. Afterwards, we can talk more about this proposal.
  • Swipe #2: Your suggestion will change the project in a big way and we’ll have to start over. Would you like to update the scope of our contract?
  • Swipe #3: This additional work will come at an additional cost of $(XX) per hour. I estimate it will take (XX) hours. That’s an extra $(XX) I’ll charge to your project budget.

Dealing with problem clients isn’t hard as long as you keep your cool. Remind yourself that your client isn’t trying to be annoying and is likely just anxious about their project. Do your best to calm their fears and handle the situation gracefully.

Ready to become your #1 client? Grab my How to Be Your Own Number One Client workbook for advice on how to do it!

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