Clubhouse Summerana Tog Talk Tuesdays: Recap – Dealing with TOXICITY
Missed our Clubhouse chat this week, or a snippet of the engaging & constructive conversation that arose?
This was such an important topic and discussion: dealing with toxic people and clients, how to handle them and how to avoid them. Being creatives and sensitive by nature, it’s easy for us to have feelings of guilt and to self-sacrifice our own personal comfort for someone else’s peace. We cannot do that. It’s not healthy for a variety of reasons. So, friends, here is a quick synopsis of what happened in our chat room, all about toxicity and how to deal with difficult situations in a positive way.
HOW TO FEEL OUT A POSSIBLY TOXIC CLIENT
If someone leaves you feeling upset or uncomfortable in any way, that is a clear marker. Demanding things, implementing tactics that are not in your comfort zone, and taking advantage of your time & kindness are a few common red flags. Below are a handful more to help guide & protect both you and your business.
POTENTIAL TOXICS TRAITS IN A CLIENT
- Publicly shaming or smearing another photographer for not ‘pleasing’ them.
- Demanding price decreases, discounts or extras.
- Skipping around to a lot of photographers.
- Pushing you out of your comfort zone during session.
- Taking the control from you.
- Asking or demanding more. More poses, more time, more product.
- Gaslighting – making you feel bad (or blaming you) for something they did, or that was out of your control.
IGNORE THE NOISY NONSENSE
- If a client is bad mouthing you, maybe because you did not give in to their demands, remember that you are a business and your work is worthy & valid. Target is not going to change their open times or give a discount because a single person is demanding it.
- Be an honest business owner who is not only creating consistent content, but also conducting business in a kindhearted manner. Don’t let noise from the naysayers bother you. Block it out. Ignore it.
- Remind yourself of all the satisfied clients who have shown appreciation for you and your work.
- Always be professional and handle yourself in a stern, yet kind, manner.
HOW TO HELP – PREVENT & PROTECT YOURSELF
At the end of the day, your work is valid. Your time is worthy. And you are appreciated. Creating boundaries for clients, and for your work, is a step in the right direction to truly loving your work and maintaining a safe workspace. If someone, a client or someone else, is making you feel yucky or giving you a toxic feeling or attitude, it’s okay to step back, to say no, to remember your worth and the value of your hard work & art.
- Handle conversations via email. Written out. This protects you and your words. It also gives you evidence of the interaction and how you handled it.
- Before addressing the issue, pause and collect your thoughts. Make your words clear and professional. Do not speak/write from a place of anger or frustration.
- Set very clear & precise guidelines prior to your session. “This” happens. “This” doesn’t happen.
- Include those guidelines & boundaries in your contract, where a client needs to read & sign off before their session.
- Include behavior guidelines
- Set safety standards
- Give limits for time, etc
- Include what you offer: time, cost, extras, editing, etc
- If you are in the moment and someone frustrates you, put your camera down. It’s a non-confrontational and easy way to redirect a possibly uncomfortable situation. It also gives you back control. No camera in hand, no shooting.
- It’s okay to state that you are uncomfortable. “I’m sorry, I am uncomfortable and I think it’s time to pause this session.”
- Trust your gut. If someone feels ‘off,’ listen to your spidey senses.
Not every client is meant for you, and that’s okay. Remember, it is all right to politely speak up, to voice your opinions on any concern – in a professional manner of course. You matter and your business matters, and it’s okay to have boundaries.
Set the tone in your sessions. You are the leader, the one who makes and creates the rules. There is nothing wrong with reminding people – when you are working & in your business world – that you are the one in charge.
Join us every Tuesday, 11am cst (9am pst and 12pm est) in our Summerana: Tog Talk CLUB >> here <<