The witch is back!
Ok, not so much of a witch but this bee is back in business. After taking 10 weeks off to be with my little one I’m back in the office.
If there’s anything that maternity leave taught me—aside from how precious sleep is—it’s that there are some great house guests and not so great guests. After moving to Atlanta earlier this year while pregnant, I knew our family from KY would be looking forward to visiting after Baby E arrived.
After she made her debut, the visitors started rolling in. Some were incredible (shoutout to my sister for cleaning our entire house AND holding the baby when she was fussy) and some actual nightmares to host.
During one visit I found myself making breakfast for a full house at 3 weeks postpartum and feeling embarrassed that our house was scattered with diapers and empty bottles after a comment was made about the mess by our guest. I know I’m certainly not alone in that experience but looking back it made me think of how often we let our boundaries slip when we are comfortable with people we know.
In business, I think this same thing tends to happen. We eventually have the complete cast of a horror movie as clients or customers not because they’re bad but because we are too afraid to set proper professional boundaries. So how do you kick them out once you’ve got a house full of frights?
Vanquishing the business boogeymen that have snuck into your house:
Scary, I know, but don’t worry we’re gonna help you kick them to the curb one by one before you wind up making them coffee after getting no more than 2 hours of sleep!
THE BUSINESS BLOOD-SUCKER 🧛
The biz bloodsucker tends to drain you of your time, money, and energy. Every email or text they send is “urgent”. Always asking for more, more, more. They say things like “I’m sure this won’t take long, right?”. And before you know it you’re caught up in their chaos. So how can you stake this vampire once and for all? Ok, that’s a little harsh…
But here’s how to get your energy back:
- Put your terms in writing: Define a very specific scope of work with clear deadlines in advance.
- Draw a line in the sand: Make a detailed list of your boundaries and stick to them.
- Limit availability: Communicate specific working hours and don’t answer calls or texts outside of those times. Apps like Slack or Voxer are game changers for minimizing unnecessary texts and emails.
THE FRANKENSTEIN 🧟♂️
With minimal resources and big budget constraints, Frankensteins are likely just doing their best putting the pieces together. You probably found out the hard way that BTS they’re falling apart at the seams. With a lack of cohesion and very few systems in place, you’re going to find yourself doing double the work trying to make sense of their requests while attempting to deliver, just contributing to the monster mess.
Don’t let this monster go just yet…
- Get real about time and money, honey: Communicate that being compensated accurately will allow you to work your best without building resentment if they need extra support.
- Relay requirements: Present your minimum prerequisites to take on this kind of project. For example, the client MUST provide their part (content, materials, etc) by a certain date.
- Up-selling doesn’t have to be salesy: Creating more mess won’t give them much of a return on investment but directing them to purchase a more effective package if you know what they need to succeed will make them finally feel taken care of.
THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN🐴🎃
This night rider is lookin’ for a head on a platter. Don’t let yours be served up because you let a chaotic customer drag you down. These clients might seem really enthusiastic to dive into the project but scheduling meetings is like pulling teeth. Others have too many cooks in the kitchen– decisions never get made because their roles aren’t clearly defined. All of these client types tend to take forever to reign it in and you wind up in a cycle of taking one step forward, two steps back, ultimately losing your head.
Here’s how to keep your head on straight:
- Give THEM deadlines: And include them in your contract. If they can’t get you the content or approval you need by those deadlines then that’s on them.
- The Goodbye Guide: Create a customer wrap-up process and guide. Here’s a little template to help get you started. Your clients can follow along with the guide and use it long after you’ve said your goodbyes. It will help alleviate questions after you finalize your project.