“To respect the dignity of a relationship also implies accepting the end when it comes.”
– Andre P. Brink
The last few weeks have been hectic to say the least, with one of the main reasons being that one of the business ventures I was involved in unfortunately took a turn for the not-so-positive.
I had been working with Company X (to remain unnamed) over the last three to four months, courting them in the way that many amateur social media managers do, with hours upon hours of free work and consultations.
- Mistake #1: Don’t Chase Hesitant Clients: Just because a company seems like a great fit at the time, don’t chase them around the globe trying to convince them they should work with you. When social media managers are starting out, it’s tempting to do so, but understand your time-cost/benefits ratio and make sure you’re not putting yourself in the red.
Finally, Company X decided to sign on for a social media management agreement with me based on a very clearly outlined strategy and deliverables. My hourly rate had risen over the 3 months Company X took to deliberate, yet I still decided to work for less than half my hourly rate, out of charity and desire to work with the company.
- Mistake #2: Know What You’re Worth: If you have other clients that are willing to pay the hourly rate that you want, don’t take on extra projects that are not worth your time. If a company that you quoted a few months ago comes back around and your rate has risen, explain the situation and if they really want to work with you and respect your time, they’ll make it work. If not, be happy you ended the relationship there.
During the first week of execution on the strategy I had put together, it was clear that the team I would be working with (who were not the same people I had been communicating with over the last few months) would be overly demanding and practically impossible to please.
- Mistake #3: Trust Your Gut (As Usual): If a client seems difficult, finicky, overly exasperating, or any other frustrating adjective, evaluate (again) the time-cost/benefits ratio and decide if the project is worth your time. There are other clients out there, it’s important to find those who appreciate and respect you and your work.
During our week one touch-base call, my skills, capabilities, integrity and dedication were all put on the chopping block, despite the clearly set (and met) benchmarks and deliverables. Now, does that seem right? I didn’t think so.
- Solution: Business Break-Up Time: After the very disrespectful meeting, I decided to email the woman that I had been working back and forth with over the last few months and explain the situation. In a professional manner, I made clear that the current working situation would not be sustainable unless we made changes in the arrangement. After speaking later on the phone, we both felt it was best to finish out the week and end the relationship early.
Was the situation slightly uncomfortable at times? Yes. But I also learned a lot about handling difficult clients and what signs to look for next time.
~ Miss Soucie