3 Red Flags That Will Save You From Working With The Wrong Clients

“SHOW ME THE MONEY!” seemed to be the only phrase I understood when I launched my writing business. I was filled to the brim with excitement, ambition, and the determination to make mo’ money honey! My strategy was to obtain as many clients as possible and nothing could stop me, nothing. Sound familiar?


While my master plan was sweet music to my ears, there was one critical detail my tunnel vision had overlooked… Everyone I met was not a client!


Within the first few months, I found myself working on an extended project with a client who was the epitome of this golden rule of business. However, my appetite for the money left me consistently sacrificing my sanity to keep them and my PayPal happy.

Instead of being a business owner with services they contracted to solve a problem, I had positioned myself to be their employee who clocked in and out at their beck and call. BIG mistake, HUGE!  Eventually, I reached my breaking point and did the unthinkable… I fired them. Yes, I fired my client and it was one of the most liberating things I could have done.


Now before you gasp or scold me for leaving money on the table, remember this… Success in business must be built on more than trying to make money from everyone. A major factor to achievement in business is relationship building.

At that time, client retention was not my focus. I was solely playing a numbers game when one of my business friends shared this nugget with me (get your dippin’ sauce ready), “the people you meet are either clients or connectors to potential clients.”  And with that, I began to view my interactions with individuals from a different lens.

As business owners we have to understand that not everyone is a client, and that is ok!  


No matter what stage of business you are in, I do not want you to fall into the same pit I did. Below are 3 red flags to look for with a potential client (PC) that can save you time, energy, and the hassle of a bad breakup.


1. “Just one more free consultation, pretty please?!” – When a PC asks you for the world before they agree to utilize your services, “Run, Forest, Run!” The notion of, “I just want to pick your brain” gets old fast and at some point, they need to pick a payment plan. Do not allow yourself to be lured into the abyss of endless consultations only to end up out of ideas and money.

I understand that we are Christian businesswomen and may offer more kindness and generosity than your average business owner; however, if you only offer one free 15-30 minute consultation, stick to that. If the person is genuinely interested in your services, they will come on board. If not, on to the next!

Note: If someone tries to take advantage of you on this side of a contract, their behavior will only increase after the ink dries.  


2. “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow.” – When PC’s tell you that they need their project completed NOW, but take weeks and even months to lock-in a contract, this is not a good sign. In fact, it shows poor communication and a lack of respect for the time you put into crafting your proposal.

Now hear me out, I understand that we are humans and things come up that prevent us from moving forward with deals, but communication is essential! If someone starts a cycle of disappearing and reappearing, it is a foreshadow of what your working relationship would reflect and perhaps even their integrity to pay you on time.


3. “I know more than you.” – When a PC acts like they know more than you, quickly walk off the stage and let them have the show. Seriously, your time is too precious to spend it on someone who wants to tell you how to do your job. After all, they contacted you for your services, right?

There is a right and wrong way to make suggestions, so never allow your intelligence and knowledge of your craft to be insulted.  If contracted, PC’s that demonstrate this trait will ultimately try to lord over you throughout the completion of their project, making your life miserable.


There are many other red flags and I would love to hear some from you!  Be sure to comment below and share your wisdom with the Relevant Entrepreneur community.  We are in this together ladies!