Saying NO to clients

When I first began to venture out in self-employment, I wanted everyone to be my customer. I knew nothing about a target market or niche. After being burned so many times by customers, I am finally living in the answer, NO.

A woman in her 60's, I will call her Nana, called me to get a pedicure. I didn't have a location at the time, so I did it in my home. She was pleased and rescheduled. Nana now wanted me to do her 80 year old mother in their home along with herself, which was about 15 miles away. I was thinking of their pockets, not mine. So, I charged just $35 for each of them. Assuming that I'd hop on the highway and make a quick $70.

I arrived at their home at the appointment time, 10:00am. I performed the 1st pedicure on Nana in their kitchen, since this is where she preferred. We engage in conversation while I am doing her pedicure. Her mother paces the floor from time to time and look at what I am doing to her daughter's feet, then grunts. Several times she acts as a magnifying glass and makes comments to suggest that I am not doing a good job. I am extremely annoyed at this point, but I got a thing for the elderly and pregnant women. They always get a pass. I pretended that it didn't bother me and continued my work. When I completed Nana's pedicure, her mother acted as if she didn't want one. I was okay with that and prepared to leave. Angry at myself, because I am about to get only $35 for this and $50 is my minimum to travel within 15 miles. I should have never discounted my services.

I am packed up and almost out the door. Nana is trying to convince her mother to try me out. I am all in my head thinking, you ain't gotta convince her squat. I have been doing nails since the 10th grade. I have worked on men, women, and children of all ages. Everywhere I have ever worked, it has never been a challenge for me to gain a clientele. I have pleased upscale clients from all over the world. Pampered many high profile clients, such as Dr Ruth Westheimer, Katt Williams, and the Radio City Rockettes. My resume which I don't have, can speak for me. I don't have to beg anyone to be my client.

So, I am totally not happy to spending my time and energy there. Now I just want to get my money and leave. After waiting too many minutes in their living room, Nana comes out of her mothers' bedroom and says, "She gone get it." I unpack everything and do her pedicure. She is grunting and watching every single thing I do. When we finished, she seemed satisfied. I got paid $70 (no tip) for what turned out to be a 3 hour service, which should have been only 2 hours long. I made up in my mind that I was never going to do that again. Months after this incident, Nana called me for another appointment. I was working at a spa at that time, so I happily told her that she would have to travel to my workplace to get her pedicure. Of course, she didn't want to make the drive and that was the last I have heard from her.

About 2 years later, an unknown person referred a woman to me who wanted me to do her +3 people in her home. The distance was about 25 miles and I would have to pay toll fees. I quoted her my normal rate for groups, $99 per hour with a 2 hour minimum. She gasped, "What!" The only mistake I made after that was explaining my price. Telling her about how I'd have to hire help, the distance, etc... She said that she'd give me $100 or maybe $125 for doing the 4 in total people. I unapologetically stated the cost again. She was upset and that ended the conversation.

Super proud of myself for saying, "No." Any other time, I'd say that $125 is better than $0. I do not want nickel and dime clients. It is never worth it. They will be the most picky and difficult.

I have discovered my target market and niche now. Everybody is not for me and I am not for everybody. I am worth every penny that I charge and even more. No more being nice, thinking about other people's income. My prices are already reasonable. So when the next person try to talk me down and convince me to give them a lesser fee, I will unapologetically and firmly say, "No" and live in my truth.

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