Some Lessons Toxic Client Taught Me About Entrepreneurship

The day I knew that I’d lose a long-time client came when they told me, “I’m the boss.…

The day I knew that I’d lose a long-time client came when they told me, “I’m the boss. You work for me.” Upon hearing those words, I knew I was in a toxic work situation. Many people start a business because they want to be their own boss and have the freedom of working when they want, how they want and with whom they want.

I launched into entrepreneurship because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others using my unique marketing and communication skills.

Since ending that working relationship, I’ve learn three things about being an entrepreneur that has made me do business better.

1. Setting work standards is a must.

I once had the fear that if I did not respond to each and email or text message as soon as it came through, my clients would not like me. Although I had set working responsive hours for my business, having a client that demanded that I respond to them whenever they message me became a prison.

It’s true, every client is different and every client will have their idiosyncrasy, but what I learned quickly that if I don’t set expectations and standards upfront, I can easily be railroaded by demanding clients. Now, whenever I get a new client, an onboarding process is a must. I let them know up front what is acceptable and what is not acceptable when doing business with me. It has saved me a lot of headaches, and my clients appreciate the clarity.

2. All clients are not my ideal client.

When I was a newbie, I never consider who my ideal client would be. I really wanted to make money, and I wanted to make money quickly so whoever came my way, I signed them on! And it was a mistake. I learn the signs that let me know if a prospect would fit my business culture. I learned that being too eager to serve from the highest version of myself simply won’t be enough for some people — and that’s okay.

3. Character trumps genius any day.

As a communicator who works heavily in the public relations space, reputation and public image is a must. One can be an Einstein in their industry but be sure if you can’t trust their character, it will be hard to accept their message. I never want to be the entrepreneur that everyone loves to hate.

Sure, I’m an acquire taste, but overall, I’ve manage to create an authentic reputation that is driven by results. And even though I am known for being a straight shooter, there is a way to establish my expertise without coming off as crass or disrespectful. People will be attracted to your authentic self, but they will not stick around long if your vibes ward them off and it’s for sure.

As an entrepreneur, you are the captain of your ship. You have to consider that everyone who you let onto your ship feeds into your energy and your success. When you take on new clients or you prospect for more business, don’t just consider the monetary cost.

  1. First, Consider the value of your ship.
  2. Consider your integrity. ( When you treat people with integrity, you raise the trust level in your workplace )
  3. Consider your peace.
  4. Consider the environment you desire to create for yourself and others.

And by no means should you ever have to negotiate your personal convictions to appease your client.