We’ve all had them. Those clients who just make you cringe as when you see their name pop up on your phone or email.
Whether they’re demanding, rude, or take all your recommendations and throw them down the toilet, some clients are just tough to work with.
The easy thing to do is to label them a bad client, rant and rave a bit, and then try and get out of the situation. But if you need the business, are willing with work with them, or are simply too stubborn to give up before you find a solution, a bad client can actually make you and your business better.
Needy clients get you focused
If you’ve ever had a client that loves to send emails based on their stream of consciousness, you can find your whole day sucked away by email.
Finding myself with a couple of clients that sent a dozen emails a day made email a huge distraction. I was constantly bouncing back and forth between my inbox and whatever work I was trying to do, which cut down on my productivity.
Solution: I turned off my inbox notifications and learned to give myself dedicated email time that was separate from project time. Not only did it cut down on my distractions, segmenting my day helped me be more focused and hugely productive.
Demanding clients help you learn to delegate
If you’re in a growth period but have been struggling to give up control, nothing will make your learn to delegate like a demanding client.
You might need help completing all of their requests or simply need to free up the time to manage the client. Either way, if you’re going to meet all expectations, you’ll be grateful for the help.
Funny enough, once you start delegating, it’s amazing how liberating it is and you might be surprised how many things you start to hand off.
Unsatisfied clients force you to be creative
If you’ve gotten into a comfortable routine or process, you actually need a bad client to come along every once in a while and shake things up.
The clients that seem unsatisfied, or simply question everything, force you to do better work because it makes you reexamine why you do things in a certain way.
Your process might be fantastic, but if you haven’t evaluated it in six months, there might be newer tech that can help make it smoother, faster or cheaper.
While endless questions can seem annoying, we should always be able to explain the “why” of what we’re doing to a client. So a client that keeps you sharp is never a bad thing.
Slow paying clients make billing smoother
Many small business owners are squirrely when it comes to money. Let’s face it, money is a highly emotional thing.
Get a client or two that doesn’t pay when they’re supposed to and watch those emotions fly right out the window and the process begin to take shape.
Deposits, contracts, payment terms and late fees all help your billing process be emotionless and matter-of-fact. It will help you be more professional and your systems run smoother for all your clients.
You may even find that you’re more confident about money as a whole and can bring in a higher rates!
I won’t lie; I have ranted and raved about the antics of some of my clients. But I’ve learned to take some deep breaths and put my problem solving hat on. At the end of the day my bad client experiences have helped me build a stronger company, and for that I am grateful.
Nicole Krug is a digital brand strategist focused on making the internet a friendlier place for small business owners. Since founding Social Light in 2009, she has helped clients hone their digital marketing strategies to bring more exposure to their brands and boost their bottom lines.
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