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I'm no longer running a business. My customers are running me.

Discussion in 'People Mgmt: Customers, Employees, Investors' started by PJ Pahygiannis, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. PJ Pahygiannis
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    PJ Pahygiannis Contributor

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    Hey everyone! I'm 22 years old and have built a business helping other businesses with email marketing/prospecting. I find the email addresses, write the copy, and send the emails. I started it almost three years ago. In 2017 it grew 20X from $2,000 in 2016 to $35,000 in 2017. I'm a one man show and run it solely off Facebook messenger. I'm friends with almost 5,000 entrepreneurs and all of my customers come from my friends list and referrals as well as networking.

    I'm no longer running the business. Customers are running me and putting me through the wringer with demands and pressure 24/7. I'm not complaining, but its getting tough to manage and please everyone. Some mornings I wake up to over 10 messages. If I don't respond immediately people get pissed off.

    Revenue wise, this is the biggest business I've ever built. Not to be dramatic, but this has all made me question whether I'm meant to be an entrepreneur or if I can even handle it.

    To be completely honest, I'm a sensitive/emotional guy. I just feel like customers are toying with my emotions in a way that is hard to explain. I've realized that customer service is 100% not my strong suit. I just don't know what to do.

    The last few weeks of December I took on 15 clients. All are in different industries. Some of the jobs and requirements have been way more strict/stringent than others. I just had to refund a guy $500 and he tore me apart over messenger on how bad it was I didn't meet his deadline he gave me and got chewed out.
     
  2. Strive
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    Strive Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Congrats on your biz! Most people would be very happy to wake up to 10 messages from clients.

    Don't worry about getting chewed out, it happens. I've been cursed out, threatened to be sued, etc. Some people are just mean, and sometimes we as entrepreneur drop the ball. You just do what you can to mitigate the situation and do your best for them.

    It sounds to me like you need to up your prices significantly and streamline your processes to reduce your stress.

    Take a look at what you're doing and see where you can outsource it/standardize it so you're doing less work. And increasing your rate will, if not reduce the amount of headache clients you have, make going through those headaches a lot more worthwhile.

    Hope this helps, good luck!
     
  3. hungryhippocampi
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    hungryhippocampi Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Of utmost importance is do you see yourself doing this business long term? And if so, can you figure out a way to scale it so that you do not have to be responsible for the execution of every detail? Customer Service is extremely important. It doesn't mean you have to put up with rude clients but it does mean you need to set expectations early and aim to exceed them.

    I agree with Strive. First thing is to up your fees. Second thing is to have some sort of contract/document that clearly establishes your service levels. Let them know if they email you will get back to them within X hours, etc. Third thing is to figure out how to automate the email sending and look at hiring a virtual assistant that can find you the email addresses. That way you can focus on sales, writing copy, and customer service.
     
  4. BrooklynHustle
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    BrooklynHustle Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Congrats on getting started and your early wins!

    To get to the next level it sounds like you will need to work on developing a stronger mindset and a better process where you are not doing all the work and running ragged

    A couple suggestions to help you get started:

    MINDSET

    Reading List

    SYSTEMS

    Work the System - https://www.amazon.com/Work-System-Mechanics-Working-Revised/dp/160832253X

    The E-Myth Revisited
    https://www.amazon.com/Myth-Revisited-Small-Businesses-About/dp/0887307280

    Best of luck!
     
    ocricci and hayden0001 like this.
  5. Mattie
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    Mattie Platinum Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Sounds like your business is expanding and may need to hire someone else to help you. (Outsourcing).

    Setting personal boundaries is important. And the way you phrase your first sentence sends the message, I don't know how to set boundaries, which means you'll allow other people to control you, dominate you, manipulate you.

    What are you learning from the experience? How are they running the show? If you were in a day care center for example: You'd have fifty kids running around screaming, jumping on tables, flying off one table to the next, climbing up and down things. Some clinging to your legs. And if you're the only one there in charge, by yourself, what would you do?

    Same answer, you'd hire 4 other employees to help control the situation.

    And you'd build structure, organize, rules, regulations, routine, and apply, adapt, adjust.

    When it comes to you personally communicating, this is whether you give your personal power away, by being a people pleaser, or evaluating how much you can emotionally, mentally, physically yourself.

    What's the hours your work? How many days a week? What is acceptable for you to accomplish in that time frame?

    Setting realistic expectations. I know one guy that tells his clients, I deliver my work on one day of the month and accept 50 clients a month. And you will have to be patient while I do my work properly to give you quality services. If you're honest with your clients and tell them straight out, this is how I work, than they have the option to hire you for quality work or go somewhere else and may not get the same kind of service.

    You can't be afraid to lose clients, because if your work is quality, those customers who value your work will always recommend you to other people. The quality of work is what you should be focused on.

    If I go to someone else that has the same service with the expectation, I need it done fast, and now, I may get it done fast, and now, but they may be more sloppy, filled with errors, and than I have to go back two or three times, to say can you fix this.

    And I might spend more money, because I than have to pay for their time.

    Some people don't care if there is work is quality, but go for quantity. I'm a prolific writer, but I can tell you, I had to learn this myself. I can write 24 hours a day, this is quantity. But, this doesn't mean quality, when I don't take the time to go back through it and edit it, push myself to be a better writer, and make improvements.
     
    minivanman, Readerly and Scot like this.
  6. jimmeboy
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    Like others have said, it sounds like you are starting to experience growing pains... That's a good thing! But, you're at a point now where you will either have to hire help, improve your efficiencies or stop growing.

    It seems to me that the 'instant' nature of fb messenger is causing you undue amounts of stress.

    Have you considered changing the way your clients communicate with you?

    If I were you, I'd turn off fb messenger and implement an email support system where you can effectively manage and support your clients, at a time that suits you.

    Those who use fb messenger have an expectation of receiving an immediate response. It's purely down to the nature of that communication channel. If you take half-a-day to reply, it's frustrating, but IMO, only because of the expectations that go with that communication channel. With email, there is less of an expectation of an immediate reply, so if you reply within that same half-a-day window, your customer might very well feel as if they've received an amazing service.

    IMO, moving to email based support will reduce the pressures on you almost immediately but I obviously don't know your business, and it might not make sense to remove the 'instant' chat facility.

    Remember, it's a great problem to have! There are people on this forum who will envy the position your in.
     
  7. stallone
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    stallone New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    First, congrats on your success.

    What you experience is the compound effect of three things:
    1. Service business. The business doesn't run without you
    2. High-touch process or no process. You take the work as it comes. There's no process on when to say no, when to buffer the work, when to outsource
    3. A chat at the center. The world was async with email. Now, with chats, everyone expects immediate answers. Kill that expectation!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
    Dramolion likes this.
  8. Late Bloomer
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    You've proved that you can offer a good service that's profitable for business clients. Current too-easy pricing and terms means you're sought by more customers than you can serve. Now, it's time to offer it on your terms.

    Some things you could start telling new clients:
    To request an initial consultation, here's how to contact my assistant and get put on my calendar for a phone call in a week or two.
    When we do your project, we'll gather your information, then we'll launch your campaign the following week and complete it within a month.
    Here's the contact information of your client account rep/project manager who can respond to questions within one business day, isn't that awesome fast for such a great service!
    To indicate acceptance of this proposal, client will pay in full up front.

    Raise prices so that the few clients who are willing to work in this way, will bring you as much profit as the endlessly anxious and rushed people you serve now.
     
    MustImprove and msufan like this.
  9. minivanman
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    minivanman Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    And, when you up your prices, is their any way to give them 2 choices of pricing? People will choose you more often if you give them a choice of pricing. When doing this, don't set your price and then give a lower price for x service. Set your upped price for x service and then UP the price more for their 2nd price choice.

    See, within a few months you will be the only person that remembers your old prices, new clients will see $x and $xx.
     
    MustImprove, Late Bloomer and Geekour like this.
  10. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    That's great! Of course we can do your same-day rush turnaround, here's our rush menu at double our standard one-week pricing.
     
  11. Maxboost
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    f*ck that don't give up, most entrepreneurs will not even make a profit in their first business. You have something amazing, there are already some great advice on this thread. The problem is mindset.

    I think you need to work out, find hobbies, spend time with friend/family, meditate, journal, and simply not give a f*ck what some of these people think of you. Most people will not remember or think of you 6 months from now. These same people are worried about paying bills, health issues, divorce and are distracted by the news and pop culture.

    These same people that you are trying to please wouldn't even give you a mention in the end credits if their lives were a movie. You are that insignificant in their lives.
     
  12. Late Bloomer
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    Great points but did you post on the wrong thread? It looks like this should've gone to the thread about how to tell people about 3 years of business failures.
     

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