top of page


Nightmare customers - how do you spot them and how can you say no to them, so that you don't end up using precious time, money, effort and joy trying to please the unpleasable?

I don't know about you, but I'm a bit of a people pleaser. Or at least I was, until I discovered that I really don't have time for that and I had such an unpleasant experience, that I vowed to get better, to save my sanity.

I once said yes to a bespoke request that took way longer than I expected to produce, didn't sell that well and didn't please the customer.

In order to get better at this, I had to first work on how to say no. I actually had to practice out loud, until I knew I could trust myself not to say yes to every request that came along. So, I devised not one, but three ways I could say no (always good to have options, right?!)

The first option, is to price in allllllll the hours that I would spend creating a bespoke product, from initial sketches, through design iterations, to bespoking packaging and actually producing the product. I'd then offer a price that reflected all this. It would probably be rejected as being unaffordable. Bingo! I said no!

The second option is to refer the work to somebody else. Whilst this may be a nightmare customer for me, they are probably someone else's ideal customer, and if I can make an introduction that makes both the customer and the other designer happy, not only do I get to say no, but I also get to please 2 people!

Thirdly, I can tell them that their ideal customer isn't my ideal customer and as such I just don't know what they love, what they need, what problems they have, because I don't know much about them. That's why I stick to serving my ideal customer. That's not offensive and it is the truth. I don't want to put work out there that doesn't work. Simple.

Brilliant. Now I know how to say no.

But who do I say no to?

Well, actually simple again. Because if they aren't my ideal customer in my target market, or they don't serve my ideal customer in my target market, then they're not for me and I'm not for them.

Of course, this assumes that I've got super clear on who my ideal customer is and what target market I serve (which i have).

If you want to minimise the risk of saying yes to a nightmare customer, make sure you know your ideal customer and target market really well. And if you don't know them, and want some help with that, make sure you check out my Attracting Customers to your Craft Business group coaching programme.

Click below for more information.

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page