How business Contract Relationships are like Romantic Relationships – here’s who to say no to…

The office plants and moons have aligned: You’ve started a contracting business.

Now it’s time to put away the office piñata and hide the broken vase from your office celebration party, because it’s time to respond to client requests.

Very much like dating, when you are ready, you will get a wide gambit of potential suitors for your small business. The trick is to be selective about who you accept.

This way you end up having relationships with efficient, kind, generous clients with great hair, instead of folks who tell you they want a contract but end up running off to Vegas with the business down the street.

If you want to have the best contract relationships of your life, here are the clients to say no to.

Cheap Clients: Like dates, there is a difference between clients who want to be careful with their money, vs. those that expect you to pay for everything. If you notice your clients keep trying to lower your costs, or aren’t willing to pay for what they’ve ordered, this is a red flag and is unlikely to change. Keep a look out for these clients before signing deals. It’s likely they will try and talk your prices down in the beginning and will be unwilling to sign a contract.

Indecisive Clients: Like potential romantic partners, if you have clients who don’t know what they want, this can lead to trouble down the road. For example, if you meet clients who have agreed to set work but continuously ask for multiple changes out of your contract even after you’ve managed expectations with them, it’s time to jump ship. These are problem clients who will be very difficult to satisfy, as they aren’t sure of what they want and how to achieve it. They will also lower your mental energy needed to work with the clients that you do enjoy working with who are able to take efficient action.

Chronically Late Clients: We all have different preferences on timeliness. For some it’s normal to stroll in 30 minutes late to a date because they decided to go to Wal-Mart to buy a piñata for their office party. For others they need to be 15 minutes early to all meetings or they feel they are disrespecting their counterparts. If you set up an initial meeting with your client, and notice they are very late and don’t give you a good reason why, this could be an indicator of what you will expect down the road with them. If timeliness is important to you, you might need to say adios to chronically late clients.

Micro Managing Clients: If a person is healthy, they generally like a certain amount of autonomy in their relationships at work and in their personal lives. In fact, one of the reasons you probably decided to work for yourself is so that you no longer have to work for micro manager Bob who even tried to manage the way you watered your own personal office cactus. If one of your potential clients gives you flashbacks of Bob by the controlling way they speak to you in your initial consultation, you may want to say no to the contract as studies show that micro managers lower the satisfaction of workers in jobs and increase turn over.

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