There is this feeling that can suddenly appear when you notice someone paying attention to your work.
It is excitement that someone appreciates your hard work and skill but… it is also a feeling of fear.
Fear that they will change their mind, walk away, or make one of those comments that make you shrink back into your shell a little like “I could make that” or “that’s too expensive”.
This fear makes us feel the need to do everything in our power to please the potential customer.
Discounts, changes, or unrealistic time constraints, making us feel like we are suddenly grovelling, hoping for approval and acceptance from someone we don’t even know.
If you run a creative business you have felt this.
It is an immense pressure to put on yourself to try and please everyone.
It can’t be done. You need to take a step back and have a good hard think about how to treat customers that aren’t giving back. Because after all we are in this to work for ourselves doing what we love.
I have a good friend who is in small business and when it comes to this subject she is my biggest inspiration.
She has a large following of loyal customers she has built over the years. She also (like all of us) has the occasional hard to please, difficult, or demanding customers that no matter what are just impossible to please. And her reaction to these people who are so clearly not her ideal customer?
She lets them go.
She finds she can’t help sometimes, and so she lets the customer go, she laughs it off, and she puts her focus back on the real customers.
She feels no need to give more than she has, and she feels no guilt.
It sounds simple, but these two things can be some of the biggest challenges of running a handmade business.
There are people out there who love what you do. Find them and embrace them and simply let the others go.
They are not worth the fear and the guilt. They will never be your supporters so don’t try and convert them.
Of course kindness and understanding of all people needs to be projected and never make a potential customer feel like they aren’t valued.
Thank them for looking. You never know, if you leave a good impression they could become your ideal customer in the future.
To assist in this make sure you also look after your mental health to grow your courage, spend enough time with your loved ones to know you are supported, and eat a good diet to help your body deal with any stress you encounter.
You are doing this for you and you are number one.
Fear and guilt have never been on your ‘to do’ list – so remove them for good.