There are various types of leads you might come across in your business. Some simply have crazy schedule demands you could never meet.

Some have crazy expectations and you don’t want to sacrifice your firstborn to meet them. Your firstborn was good today, right?

Some have decent budgets and it’s work you used to do, but you’re no longer interested in that type of work.

Some walk that line and they sound good initially, but when you dig in you find out they really aren’t a good match for you because they’re chameleons and have all of these problems:

  • Low or no budget
  • Want it yesterday
  • Want 3 calls a day
  • And they need a kitchen remodel

[Tweet “Some client leads are just plain crazy – no, I don’t do windows.”]

Dealing with it

The most freeing thing I adopted for my business was starting to use some standard email templates. Like my initial email template and then requiring that those questions get answered before I get on the phone.

That gave me a set of standard responses and processes which helped break me of my first habit — to automatically help people.

Back to high school

Back in high school I lived beside a classmate and she regularly had boy problems. I was a nice guy, she was a nice girl, and there was no real boy-girl attraction between us, so she regularly came to me and poured out her problems.

I’d end up sitting outside her house at 11 p.m. with a wet shirt as she cried over her latest poor choice of boyfriend.

My heart was/is soft and I wanted to help. Part of me is still that way. I want to help people have an awesome business, it’s my WHY for doing business.

But I can’t help everyone that wants my time. I already send out 5 – 10 emails a day to people asking advice on running a good business.

Plus all the client leads I get.


After my email templates, a big turning point for me was realizing which things aren’t my problems, after reading the book Boundaries.

It’s not my problem that you don’t have someone to do your work. I may have some recommendations but if those don’t work out, it’s not my problem.

[Tweet “It’s not actually your problem if they can’t find anyone to work with.”]

Funny enough, the best practical application of the ideas around what is and is not my problem came from a parenting book called Parenting with Love and Logic. I recommend you read it even if you don’t have kids.

Even read half of it after you read Boundaries for some great practical examples of defining what is your problem and what is not your problem.

You can’t solve it all

Remember that you simply can’t solve every problem. There are a bunch of problems that you’re even going to do a bad job at because it’s not your speciality.

Doing that work is a disservice to your customer.

[Tweet “Doing some work is actually bad for your customer if it’s not your specialty.”]

You’re likely never going to meet this person and they have no bearing on your life in any fashion.

Don’t get all worked up and worry about pleasing some ‘random’ person. Point them in the right direction to get help, then move on to getting your ideal client.

Your ideal client is someone that you can help and do awesome work for. Saying yes to the wrong client means you don’t have the space to take your ideal client later.

Taking the wrong client means you’re likely to do bad work and resent it.

I’m not sure about you, but I don’t have any time for that.

photo credit: basvanuyen cc