Do you like your customers?

Things have changed. 

Almost 98% of businesses in Australia are now small businesses². 

That’s a LOT of small businesses. 

More people are taking the plunge, choosing self-employment, or choosing to work in smaller businesses rather than corporate. 

Since 2013 the number of small business employees has increased by 197,000 or 4.3 per cent¹. 

One huge benefit of this, is that we can now choose to work with businesses and people that align with our values and personality.

And that’s where choosing your clients comes in. 

As a small business owner, it’s super tempting to take any work that comes your way. Even if you started your business thinking this was an opportunity to enjoy what you do. 

The problem with this mindset, which could be termed a scarcity mindset, is that it can lead to you taking on clients or projects that are outside of what you enjoy, or that can turn sour. 

From your side, there might be resentment. Feeling like you have to do something that feels ick, or working with clients who trample your boundaries. From the clients side, it’s just as bad. They’ll feel the disconnect, and its likely you wont do your best work. 

Best case, you scrape through, a few sleepless nights and grumpy days the only downside. Worst case, it blows up, your work isn’t up to your usual standard, there might be conflict, you don’t get paid, and you’ve got an angry client on your hands. 

Now that we recognise the problem. How do we fix it? 

It starts with knowing yourself, your team, your business and values. 

Then asking yourself, honestly, if working with clients that you don’t gel with is worth it. 

For you, it might be. Some people have thicker skin than others, or simply have that ability to work with anyone. 

But, shouldn’t we all be like that? That’s just business, right? We all have to deal with people we don’t like, or businesses with conflicting values. Personality and preferences shouldn’t come into it.


Not any more. 

That might have been true before there was so much choice. When we all worked the same job for 40 years and got the Rolex at the end. It’s a corporate way of thinking.

Working for yourself doesn’t just mean you can choose to wear slippers while you work. It means you can choose the people you spend your days with. Your team, your suppliers, and yes, even your customers. 

Thinking it sounds too good to be true? 

What if, instead of taking every client that comes your way, your business attracted the type of humans you like? 

It’s not just about saying no to the clients that you know you won’t work well with. Although, that’s important too (and really hard to do, I know). 

It’s about attracting the right people from the get go. From your branding, marketing messaging, the journey a client takes on your website, all the way to your onboarding process. 

Next time you sit down to do the ideal client activity, instead of just thinking about their job, gender, location and pay grade; think about their personality, values and sense of humour.

¹ Gilfillan, G. (2018, October 15). Small business sector contribution to the Australian economy. Statistics and Mapping Section, Parliamentary Library.


² Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman. (2023, June 26). Small business worth more than half a trillion dollars to the Australian economy.