I was speaking with a web designer today and, bold as brass, he told me he couldn’t understand how it was possible to build a web design business that ‘paid well’.
Naturally the idea of something ‘paying well’ is contextual: to one person, a high income is different to what it would be to another, in that £40,000 a year to someone currently earning minimum wage means something very different to a millionaire.
That aside, we went through the process of understanding:
- who his clients were
- what services he was offering to them
- how much time he was spending on each one
- how much each client paid him for that time
What became boldly clear at that point was that he had a handful of clients he loved working with, and a small number of clients that he didn’t enjoy working with, either because they didn’t pay him on time or because the work they were giving him just wasn’t the ideal type.
The same is often true in my own business: my A* clients are the ones I really love working for: they respect my expertise; they pay what my time is worth; and they pay on time. There are also a handful of clients who require more time and attention (which is absolutely fine, provided I’m paid what my time is worth, but that isn’t always the case).
However, every business has ‘bad’ clients. How you define a bad client is up to you, but understanding what makes a good or bad client is important. Then, you’re in a much stronger position of being able to choose who you work with, and spot those you don’t want to work with much sooner.
That’s why I love losing clients – providing they’re not a good fit for my business – because it means I can dedicate more time to the right clients for my business.
Think about your top 10% of clients, and your bottom 10%, and choose who YOU want to work with. And remember, your bottom 10% might be someone else’s top 10%…