As a coach, you know your clients are the bread and butter of your business. But does that mean you have to accept every client that comes knocking on your door? Absolutely not.
New coaches sometimes feel the need or the desperation to make money quickly and accept anyone who inquires, but the truth is this should be a win-win relationship between you and your client. Not only are you helping them, but they should be pleasant to be around and willing to take your advice and run with it.
Setting Up Business Boundaries
While it’s best to have boundaries and policies in place prior to accepting clients, it’s never too late to implement boundaries, especially if you have even one client who is demanding.
By having boundaries and explaining them to all your clients, you’ll weed out the ones who are too demanding, but will attract those who respect boundaries and are willing to work within those limits.
Here are some situations where boundaries are necessary:
- Communication. How will your clients communicate with you? How will you handle their coaching calls? Are they free to text or call you any time they have a question? These are common questions to ask yourself, especially if you don’t want to deal with client texts and/or calls late into the night. If you choose to accept those calls, will you charge a premium fee?
- Business Hours. When do you start and end your day? Pretty straight forward idea, but you know how hard it is to shut down that computer at night. This overlaps with the communications issue; will you accept client calls after hours? If not, do they know you’ll get back to them the next day? In general, how long will they have to wait for a response from you?
- Contracts and Payments. Every client should sign a contract which clearly states your fees, their coaching package, and payment terms along with your other policies (ie: boundaries). Will you charge a late fee? If so, how much? Will you invoice or keep a credit card on file for recurring payments? What’s your exit strategy if they decide to break the contract before it ends? Will you offer refunds?
- Clear Coaching Packages. Always be clear with the details of what the client is purchasing. How long are your coaching calls? Are they allowed extra calls/texts/emails during the week? Do you charge for initial consultations or extra phone time? Do you charge if the coaching calls run long? Spelling out the details protects you against the difficult clients who feign ignorance about the rules.
Think to yourself about the worst case scenario with any client; what would they have to do to make you fire them? Do you have a client already who is pushing your buttons and making you wish you never started your business?
If so, put these business boundaries and policies into place and have a chat with this difficult client. Yes, you run the risk of them leaving you, but isn’t that risk worth your peace of mind?
When you have strong boundaries in place and enforce them, your clients will respect your time and will make sure they use their coaching time with you efficiently.
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