This is a contributor’s blogpost …
You will never get anywhere wanting to please everybody. That’s an unfortunate habit that new business owners get into that can put them in a cycle of wildly unprofitable and unhealthy practices. They’ll not only cost you money, they’ll cost you the love of what you do. Sometimes, you have to be willing to put your foot down. But what does that mean?
When you’re getting your prices dictated to
It’s never a good idea to let your clients try and set the price for you. That’s an easy way to join the many failing freelancers in the race to the bottom, price-wise. Before you start offering your services, you should take the time to value and price your services independently. You might choose to change them over time based on your experiences with the market. However, what you shouldn’t do is let a client set a price and agree to it. Similarly, you shouldn’t let them dictate how you do your work in any way.
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When you’re not getting paid
A lot of small business owners and freelancers operate on a payment on completion model. It’s might not happen often but occasionally you might find the client not quite as willing to pony up as you would like. For that reason, invoice finance can be a godsend to make sure you always have the money you deserve. But make sure that any contract and invoice you send have a required date of payment. Make it legally binding so they have no choice but to pay or face the consequences.
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When dealing with toxic clients
Bad clients won’t only try to dictate your prices. They will try to demand more and more for you, often without offering to pay more in return. Learning to recognize toxic clients and saying “no” to them is essential. It might hurt the money the business earns in the short-term. But it will save you a lot of hassle in the long-term, especially since toxic clients tend to hang around and keep using more and more of the time that can be used on more worthwhile opportunities.
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When the brand’s under attack
Sometimes a client isn’t toxic but just disappointed or displeased with the services provided. If that’s the case, you need to protect your brand if you want to keep making a good impression. However, that’s not about getting into a shouting match with them. That works for no one. Instead, you need to remember that people are watching how you deal with legitimate customer complaints. So long as they’re not outright falsehoods or outdated, you should publicly apologize for their experience and ask them to get in touch so you can offer to fix the way you conduct business in the future. If you can follow up with some real, material evidence that you’re changing the methods to address the issue, that crisis of brand becomes an opportunity for a great impression.
As you see, putting your foot down isn’t always about being hostile. It’s about making a firm judgement and acting on it of your own volition rather than being carried wherever the wind is going. Some confidence is essential if you want to make it in business.