I posted a personal quote the other day which is really important to me. I think it’s something that a lot of people don’t necessarily realise or even consciously think about. It’s the idea that you should only work with people that bring you joy. 

We talk about this idea a lot at Social INK. In its most simple form, it’s the concept of knowing and wanting to work with your ideal client. But in reality, it’s deeper than that. It’s really about focusing on what you do, doing what you do best, and only doing it for the right kind of people. I think this is a really important part of running a business. 

Personal Experience

From personal experience, I can tell you, I’m often described as Marmite. People will either love working with me or not love working with me. And it’s not because I don’t have a growth mindset or that I don’t want to appease people and work with people and be empathetic to their needs. 

But I “call out the elephant in the room”. I want to work with people that are open, honest, and enjoy the process of working. The kind of people who want to talk about things, who want to have a bit of fun, and want to try things out. I want to work with people who are happy to step out of their comfort zone. 

The stats show that you spend a crazy amount of your time alive with the people that you work with. So you want to try and work with people that bring you joy. 

The Downside of Working With Toxic People

The opposite of that is working with people who are just paying your salary, and because of that they contribute in a particular way, that makes you feel tight, that keeps you up at night because they’re being unreasonable with the stresses and strains that they try and apply to you. 

I have no time for that. People deserve to be talked to and spoken to in a particular way. They deserve to be paid for the work that they do and respected for the work that they do. Feedback can be delivered in a direct, yet constructive, fashion, to help improve a relationship. But belittling anybody is just wrong. You want to avoid these kinds of toxic relationships. 

And this applies in many different situations. You could have a toxic boss, someone that doesn’t know how to deliver feedback in an appropriate way. You can work on that relationship a little bit, but if it’s not working you have to look for the other opportunities that are out there. They might not pay as well, and I appreciate some people need the money to live and survive in today’s world. But, I beg those people to jump on a phone call with us. We can see if we can find them another opportunity that may pay as well, just in a less toxic environment. 

Business Owners: Work With People That Bring You Joy

It might be that you’ve got a client that is treating you badly because they feel that they can get more out of you in today’s economic situation. Because of that, you might feel they are treating you badly. Remember, there are other clients out there that you can go and find. If you’re not spending as much time with a toxic client, you’ll have a lot more time to find some nice clients that are a joy to work with and get what you do.

If you’ve got a supplier that you feel you couldn’t run your business without, trust me, there’s going to be another supplier out there that could take on that work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a product or a service they’re offering you. There are other alternatives out there. So if they’re upping their prices, if they are not delivering the customer service that you’d expect from them, do a quick Google search and start some new relationships. 

So there are three examples. Work relationships, client relationships or supplier relationships. Regardless of which, you should be working with people that get you and enjoy the way you work. 

80/20 Rule for More Joy

If you look at the 80/20 rule, you’ll probably find that about 80% of revenue comes from about 20% of clients. That makes it a challenge sometimes to get rid of a toxic client, but trust me when I say there’s nothing worse than bad profits. 

We’ve been there with Social INK in the past, and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure that we’re never in that position again. 

The second aspect of the 80/20 rule is that 80% of your problems come from 20% of your clients. So those phone calls late at night, on the weekend, those last-minute delivery sprints or whatever outrageous requests are probably only coming from a small handful of clients. 

The Monday Morning Blues Effect

I can’t imagine waking up every morning with dread or horror or not wanting to get to work,  talk to clients or suppliers. Now don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean we don’t all have good days and bad. But as a general rule, the Sunday night blues or Monday morning blues, shouldn’t be anything anyone has to experience. 

If you’re running your own business it’s time to address anything that doesn’t feel right. Find out what’s causing them and who are the culprits. Then aim to address them in the nicest possible way. Remember, if you lose revenue for one month, because you get rid of 20% of those customers that cause 80% of your problems, you’ve just freed up an enormous amount of time. 

That time can be used to communicate better with your current customers. Or to take that extra step with existing customers to find out if there is anyone that they could refer you to? Or even better, ask them “what else could we be doing together to help you”? 

You might even find that you can replace that revenue pretty quickly, on the basis of actually working with people that love what you do. I think that’s really important. 

Now Go and Only Work With People That Bring You Joy

We’re all adults, and there’s no reason for relationships to end badly. It’s not about insulting people when you tell them that you aren’t willing to continue to work with them. However, clearly defining what you are NOT willing to accept, and making sure that every day when you wake up you feel good about the people that you’re going to work with is a huge win. 

You can find the original video from The Social INK Show here – remember, please subscribe to get the latest videos as they’re released.

And please do reach out if you have a job, a client or supplier that doesn’t bring you joy. There will be other options out there. We’d love to jump on a call, doesn’t matter what’s bothering you, and talk through a tactic about how you can replace that toxic relationship.


James O'Donnell
James O'Donnell

James, Commercial Director here at Social INK, is a strategic thinker. He has an uncanny ability for seeing the big picture, then breaking it down and systematising the processes needed to achieve it.