When you say yes to clients and people who should be no's, you end up with heartbreak, whether personal or professional. You pay a price you don't have to pay. Have you been there done that? I have.

Mistakes are inevitable in life and business. It's whether or not you LEARN from mistakes and do something differently going forward that determines your success or demise.

I learned the hard way but I did learn. I remember one woman who was yelling at men putting up shelves in her apartment while we were on our first call. I couldn't believe how rude she was to them. I knew it was a flag but I thought I could handle her. Wrong. You don't have to "handle" the right people! They know how to handle themselves. I don't even remember what she flipped out over but she flipped out over something immediately and I ran to give her her money back, even though I had a no refunds policy. She was a loaded gun playing Russian roulette.

Signs of clients who will be trouble include:

-- Consistently undervaluing you
-- Angry, mean or rude language or behavior
-- Temperamental response to challenges
-- Constant changing of mind / direction
-- Always looking at new tools which prevents finishing anything
-- No sense of humor

A sense of humor in clients is really important, to me at least. A sense of humor allows us to keep things in perspective and realize when something is out of our control.

Over a few years, I swallowed my fear of losing money or getting yelled at and said no thank you when I could tell a client spelled trouble. It can be really hard when you're dying for the project and even know you could do a great job for them. What you learn from the mistake of taking them on when you sense trouble is that you'll end up paying in time, anxiety and sometimes even money because of the problems they cause.

One important note is that I've also said yes to people you might call "oddball" clients who turned out to be amazing to work with. At times, they can seem like they might be troublemakers because they don't want anything typical. Some of my favorite clients were this type of person. I feel that only experience and taking risks can teach you the distinction between oddballs and troublemakers.

Yes to oddballs. No to troublemakers.

What's your experience been?

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