People will tell you that your emotions will kill you in business, and a good deal is done with a poker face and the drive of a hired assassin. However, what if your business is about freelance writing, or about something where you’re passionate about what you do? That’s when your emotions are there for a reason, but they can still lead to being used by others who try to take advantage of that emotional charge. The key to understanding how your emotions can help, instead of hurt you, in business is to learn how to use your business judgment, along with your emotional instincts, to cue you into bad customers before you get into relationships with them.
Every Business Relationship Is Like Dating
We can laugh or cringe at the dating horror stories of the woman who always ends up with the batterer, the drunk, or the just plain weirdo. Yet, sometimes our businesses attract the same types of deadbeats and we just drum it up to a bad economy, when it might be the way we’re doing business that is generating these bad business relationships. Just like a woman who does too much upfront in a relationship, a business owner who provides too many products or services before figuring out what the other party is going to provide back is in for the same sort of co-dependent, miserable, times as a single on the dating scene. How do most people avoid these soap operas in their lives? They tend to rely on their “gut instincts” and emotions to let them know when they should pass on a relationship that’s going to be a downer, no matter what. When faced with a one-liner from a potential deadbeat customer (whether romantic or business), your gut instincts will tell you something is really wrong, and you can choose to acknowledge this or face the consequences later.
So Many Frogs, Few Princes
There was a question posted on Facebook recently: “Do I prefer the customer who offers a high price and fails to pay on time or the one that offers a low price and pays immediately?” What’s missing from this question is the value of the work. What sort of value do you place on your work? Is the customer willing to recognize the actual, intrinsic, value of the work or are they looking at the dollar bills? If you are working with a low-paying customer, be assured they’ll never be satisfied with the value of the work. They’ve already said as much by refusing to pay what it’s worth. More than likely they will try to chintz you even more in future projects. The same is true for the one that offers a high price and refuses to pay, as if your work is free or you are not a top priority when it comes to paying their bills. Sometimes, you get a high paying customer that is so demanding that you spend so much time with them, that if you added up the hours, you’d make less than the low-paying clients. Unfortunately, the additional criticisms and demands spell out exactly the same thing:” They don’t value your work.” Which begs the question:
Why don’t they go elsewhere then?
How You Create Your Own Customers
The reason, as hard as it may be to believe, is that you allow them to stay there repeatedly disrespecting the value of your work because you don’t believe it’s worth much either. The irony of the whole situation is that just like an abusive partner picks someone who they admire to belittle, these customers actually like your work or they wouldn’t be there. It gives them great joy to find someone who wants to be involved with them because they don’t think much of themselves either. As the relationship continues, of course, the emotions become louder. Something is wrong, but the familiarity of it may lead to ignoring the fact that the pay is getting less and the demands are getting more. It may be hard to cut these people out of your life, but ultimately, it may be what your business requires to survive. Ignore your gut instincts at your own peril at this point.
Learning To Trust Yourself In Business
Once you learn to disentangle yourself from these types of customers, the newer ones that are worth your time will appear. At the point you start to trust in your own innate worth, the deadbeats and abusers will begin to scatter because you either 1) Refuse to engage these customers, or 2) State the value of your work upfront and expect and get fair recompense for your work or they walk away. You learn to negotiate difficult customers so that you’re both on the same page or you clearly realize from the start that the relationship is not a match. At that point, you will have learned to trust yourself and appreciate the value of your own work enough for it to generate the customers who can do likewise. Whether in dating or business, once you learn to trust your own judgments and listen to what your emotions are telling you about the other party, the ability to select the right relationships becomes clearer and easier, and far more profitable.