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#5MinuteMonday: How to Protect Yourself Against Bad Clients

In today’s episode, we’re talking about something that isn’t talked about enough in business: The Bad Apples. When we have a not-so-great experience with a not-so-great client, there can be sadness, feelings of failure, or maybe you want to forget about it and move the heck on. There is learning even in the tough stuff. This #5MinuteMonday is a reminder that you are not alone. Bad apples are everywhere and everyone who runs a business has had a bad client. You can feel assured after listening today that you’ll have what you need to get through those difficult moments, stand your ground, shake it off like T. Swift, and how to only bob for good apples in the future. New here? Catch up on everything you missed in Season 1 & 2!

Christine is the founder of CL Designs and the host of Brand Party Podcast. Christine has traded in climbing the corporate ladder for climbing mountains around the world. She helps social impact businesses and nonprofits create your bold legacy through cohesive branding, web design, and social content creation to increase your funding opportunities and sales. Saying no to dull and clunky visuals and yes to consistency, creativity and efficiency form the core of her approach.

What to Listen For

  • You’re not alone. Have any of these questionable client situations happened to you? (1:52)

  • What do I do next? 3 steps to deal with a bad client without ripping your hair out. (2:32)

  • Red flags are flying! The question you need to ask yourself to protect yourself in the future. (3:43)

  • Quick Recap: Write these down on a sticky note for later. (4:11)

🎧 Thanks for listening!

About this show: As featured in Top 10 New & Noteworthy Canada & Top 10 Art & Design Canada, Brand Party Podcast will energize you to invest in your brand in new ways. Join me for tips, insights, and actions you can take to make your brand a priority in your business. My guests and I deliver honest, to-the-point advice you can implement RIGHT AWAY!


Partial transcription provided from the episode. Note: Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate. It is posted as an aid to understanding the episode for those who may be hard of hearing or those looking for additional resources.

On this #5MinMon, get ready to kick off your best week yet!

On today’s episode we’re talking about something that isn’t talked about enough. No one ever wants this to happen but the reality is that as you put yourself out there more, you are likely to come across some bad apples that just are not the right fit. And that’s completely okay! It’s okay not to be okay and my hope for you is that this #5MinuteMonday episode makes you feel more assured of the feelings in the pit of your stomach and thoughts swirling in your mind subside and that you understand what you truly need, as difficult as it feels right now. Because I promise you, when you stand your ground, a weight will be lifted. You will feel as light as a feather and shake it off like Taylor Swift. Have you been in a situation where:

a.) Your client is going way outside the scope you set at the beginning together

b.) Your client is requesting revisions after revisions and it feels like Narnia

c.) Or your client has shown their true colours and no longer align with you and your services

However we’ve gotten to this point, there’s some truth and learning we can take away from this lesson. And can move through it with grace and ease.

Here are 3 steps to deal with a bad client:

1.) Breathe - take a moment to pause and step back. Let it sink in. Just be with the feels because it is a lot to deal with. Practice some self compassion as it’s not always a reflection of you and take care of yourself and your mental health. It is not selfish. You do not deserve to be stomped on just because you were initially paid.

2.) Accept responsibility - as much as you feel like this situation is happening to you, step back for a moment. Take responsibility for not setting clear expectations from the beginning. A way you can mitigate this for the future is to set firm business hours of when you’ll be available to your clients but it’s also up to you to uphold what you preach. You can ensure you have a clear schedule for when your client should expect deadlines throughout the project so you’re on the same page. Or even with late payments, ensure you have some sort of follow-up automation, email template, or expectation set. It’s naive to assume it’ll never happen. You may as well prepare so that if you ever are in this situation, you have a way to resolve it fairly and quickly.

3.) Be reflective and solutions oriented

Ask yourself what ACTUALLY happened, not the story you’re telling yourself.

Ask yourself what was the point that it went wrong?

Were there any signs or red flags that could’ve been prevented from getting to this point? Is there a way that you could set some better boundaries for your future clients? Is your legal documentation up to par to protect you for situations like this?

By identifying and accepting these responsibilities, you will be able to clearly identify what could’ve been improved and ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future.

Take these 3 steps when dealing with a bad client:

Breathe, accept responsibility, and be reflective and solutions oriented

Chin up! You can do this.

There is better coming just around the corner.

After all, fortune favours the brave and bold!



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