How to deal with clients who take advantage of you

As entrepreneurs, we are dedicated. Right??

Go-getters. Driven (in a good way), willing to serve our clients and give more value than others.

And at the beginning, we’ll often be (overly) accommodating to prospects and clients to get them in the door, and we’ll do whatever it takes to please them so that they sign up and stay.

And hallelujah! It actually works!

This type of bending-over-backwards gets them in the door; they refer people and they stay. It’s wonderful (at first).

But then, after a while, you begin to resent being so “flexible” and “accommodating,” and unbeknownst to the client(s), the relationship begins to feel toxic to you.

So, what do you do in these types of one-sided client relationships?? Click on the video below for the answer and to watch my new strategy:

Listen, I get it. It’s a conundrum.

On one hand, something’s gotta change. This level of “service” is just not sustainable and prevents you from growing your business and keeping your sanity.

On the other hand, expressing your resentment or making changes could mean losing those clients. And you don’t want THAT!

The elegant answer to your great-client-turned-toxic-client issue is in today’s 5-minute strategy video.

In it, I share with you the story of one of our The Leveraged Business Business School students, “John,” who felt like he was at the beck and call of all of his clients, continually bending over backwards at all hours of the day and night.

He felt trapped in his business, and wondered if he should throw in the towel and give it all up.

You’ll get to hear exactly what we did (and what you can do too) to set some boundaries with those clients and graciously stop people pleasing, for good.

The good news is that even if you are experiencing this right now, even if you are stuck in a cycle of being constantly present for your clients, I’m here to tell you that you can make a change. It’s not too late to take back control of your business!

After watching today’s strategy video, please share with me in the comments:

What have you allowed clients to do to you that you no longer find acceptable and how will you change that?

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, so I am super eager to read your comments and love you up!

Sending you lots of hugs,

p.s. Hey, do you know of an established entrepreneur who is answering emails on Saturdays and Sundays, getting phone calls and messages from clients at 10:30 or 11pm, and who sacrifices their personal time just to keep their clients happy? Please send them this blog with love and let’s help them make some changes, OK? Thanks so much for being so awesome. You rock. xoxo

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16 Responses

  1. I own a home based bakery business, and when I first started, I used to meet clients part way, to deliver their cakes, and didn’t charge for my gas or time. Most of them didn’t feel compelled to give me any more than the cost of the cakes, and a few even were a no-call/no show, so eventually they had a choice of paying a delivery fee, or coming to pick up. If we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of, at some point we end up in a pool of resentment, and it’s not good for us or our clients.

  2. I have two phones. One’s a home phone only family and friends have the number to, the second phone is for business. All my clients know we have to set up our phone conversations ahead of time. If something is happening and we need to talk right away we send each other a text and ask if it’s a good time for a quick call. My clients can email me as needed. I check my emails through-out the day. In my line of work I have to keep an eye on what’s going on but I still make time to shut it all off. I do not sleep with my phone. Thanks for another great video Fabienne!!

  3. Thanks you for the tips. I do digital marketing, event management and website design. I’m having a difficult time not charging for add-ons or extras. Many times, once I complete a portion of a project, a client will ask me to create or manage something new. For instance, If I create an e-book, the client will love it so much that they ask me to create a landing page or social media graphics, etc. to complement the e-book. One time, I created an e-book and a client wanted me to create a workbook for free. I didn’t. Honestly, it’s still an issue so much so that my partner doesn’t value my business sense anymore. My goal is to say, “I’d love to do that for you, my pricing for that is _____…” This feels a little antiseptic to me, though. I haven’t used it. I still do changes for free. Any suggestions would be helpful.

  4. Wow, Maggie Reyes shared this with me and I love it. It is so true. Time to get another phone! Thank you

  5. Fabienne, as usual you share brilliance with us. A few years ago I had a thriving Virtual Assistant practice with no boundaries. It was fine for a while and I made great money, but I was miserable and so was my family. So much so that I let almost ALL of my clients go. With much more awareness I’m in the process of rebuilding and I’m getting much yummier coaching and Virtual Assistant clients who have a lot more respect for me, the boundaries I’ve set and the fact that I put my family time first. I am so grateful for you being a leader for all of us who learn from you every day! Thank you!

  6. Thank you Fabienne for another timely tip. Setting those boundaries with clients can be so challenging (with some of them!). Have established a firm cancellation policy and applying it, and it helps. Now working on setting boundaries around times for phone calls, and response times for phone call messages and emails. I guess it’s a sign of the growth of my practice that now I have so many clients I have to set firmer boundaries.

  7. We’ve been talking about a dedicated phone number for some time….time to make it a reality….

  8. I’ve been down this road and started my business with pretty good boundaries but let a couple push past them and immediately regretted it. In particular I had a massage client who convinced me to do a couples massage on a Sunday because it was their anniversary and they were struggling and she wanted to make it a special day so I agreed, even though I had a hard and fast no Sundays rule. I even charged them double. It only took two weeks for her to start hammering me about coming out on Sundays again and again and even though I refused for the next year she would call on my days off and try. When I expanded my business and had employees she would try the same with them or reschedule last minute all the time. Finally I just fired her for being so high maintenance and have never regretted it. Nowadays making sure my employees maintain those solid boundaries has been my biggest challenge. A GOOD client relationship is one in which both parties respect and profit from one another.-Those last.

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