Working With Smart People

One thing I’ve always focused on in my own business or in my professional career is working with smart people.  It goes without saying that you should always hire smart folks to work for you, but I’m also talking about dealing with smart, switched on clients.

The worst situations I’ve always stumbled into are when the clients are not particularly smart.  I’m not trying to be unkind or anything, but there are just some people running their own businesses that just aren’t very bright.

Let me clarify a bit.  Many of the clients I deal with come to me because there’s something that I know or I’m good at that isn’t their core skill set.  That doesn’t make them dumb, it just means that they don’t have skills.

Common Sense Isn’t Always Common

However, there are some people for whom common sense isn’t particularly common and I hate dealing with that.  I find these folks, often incredibly pleasant and well-intentioned human beings, just consume too much of my time and energy to make dealing with them worthwhile.

So I try not to.

I will say this though, these kinds of clients can be really good financially.  I saw a marketer on FB today ask whether you would rather have ten really switched on clients or ten really “not so switched on” clients.  Most of the responses were that the “not so switched on” clients contribute way more to the bottom line.

As a result, there are people who prey on these type of folks.  Don’t be like that, those predatory types are human filth.  No amount of money is worth taking advantage of people.

So we’ve identified that there are smart clients and some not so smart clients and if life were just that simple, things would be oh so very wonderful.

Of course, it never is.

Naive Clients Are Hard Work

There are also naive clients and for me, these are the hardest ones of all.

These clients are usually people who are good at what they do, but they have a blind spot in their knowledge or skills.  They also think everyone who talks to them about this topic knows more than they do and so they suspend any form of cynicism and believe what they are told carte blanche.

When I come across these people, I find myself trying to help them and educate them all at the same time.  Not only do I want to solve their problem, I want them to understand what I’m doing and why so that they are a little savvier going forward.  Straight up, this can be really time consuming and frustrating.

Finding Ideal Clients and Customers

One of the things I’ve started to focus on more is only working with my ideal clients.  As I get busier with everything I’m doing, to save my own sanity I’ve had to start getting more selective about clients that I take on.

To make it easier I set out some criteria:

1) The person obviously has to be able to afford to work with me.  I am not outrageously expensive – working with me isn’t like hiring Beyonce to sign at your kid’s 11th birthday party.  I just mean that I don’t want people going into debt or spending money they don’t have to pay me.  That probably sounds altruistic but the reality is, people in that financial position make bad decisions so they end up being poor clients.

2) As previously discussed, the person has to be smart and a little bit savvy because those are things you can’t teach.  Nothing wrong with not being an expert on the things I know, but generally speaking I like dealing with people who are really good at what they do and are genuinely clever.

3) Hard working.  No matter what, I only work with people who are willing to put the hard yards in.  Nothing in life that’s worth having comes easily, so if you’re trying to do something worth doing then it’s going to take some effort.  There’s no point in wasting time with people who aren’t going to knuckle down and do the work.

4) It’s very important that the people I work with be able to learn.  There’s something in me that makes me want to teach people stuff.  If I’m doing things with you, it helps for you to have a natural curiosity and ability to learn.  I find dealing with people who want to remain oblivious hard to deal with over the long haul.

5) You have to want it… Doesn’t matter what “it” is, you have to be motivated and driven.  This isn’t the same as willing to work hard.  I know plenty of people who are desperate to have some kind of outcome or change in circumstance but they either aren’t smart enough to make it happen or they aren’t willing to do the work to get the result.  You have to match all the criteria, not just some!

That’s pretty much it.  You’re probably reading this going, “Wow, what a pretentious knob end.”  And you’re likely right if you don’t appreciate the context of what I’m about and what Casual Marketer is.  I’m busy and the people I’m writing this for and speaking to are busy people.  I don’t have time to waste on doing things that don’t suit what I’m trying to achieve!

Think about it… If you’ve got a side hustle project on the go and you’re a Casual Marketer, you may have a job or a family to run (maybe both), when you are working on your business, you need to get maximum bang for that effort.  If you don’t have rules of engagement then you’re opening yourself up to time vampires and other nonsense like bright shiny objects that won’t help you move the needle on what you’re doing.

So my challenge for you is to sit down, write out your criteria for the people you want to deal with and stick to it.

Leave a Comment