Dear People Pleasers: Bending Over Backwards for Clients will Leave You Broke + Burned Out [PART 1]

😅 Are you a people pleaser? You’re not alone.

Since 2016 I’ve worked with more than 300 service-providers in my program, Yay for Clients™ and now in my high-touch coaching program, Yay for 100K™. These entrepreneurs (mostly women) come from all sorts of backgrounds and have all kinds of businesses as coaches, creatives, consultants, and other services.

Over time, I’ve come to see that there are two things that hold my students back more than anything else:

  1. Perfectionism
  2. People Pleasing

If you’re already nodding your head thinking, “Yep, that’s me!” I want you to know that you are not alone.

In this post, I want to tackle PEOPLE PLEASING. (We can tackle perfectionism at a later date. That’s a whole beast of a topic!)

If you currently suffer from the desire to please your clients at any cost, please read this post in full. It’s crafted in such a way to slowly chip away at the belief structure that is keeping you stuck in the people pleasing trap.

First, let’s talk about WHY we feel the need to please.

The urge to people please comes from the beliefs that you hold about working with clients.

Here are a few beliefs that I’ve seen pop up a lot over the years:

  • I need to prove myself as a new service provider.
  • I need my clients to give a good review of my work. I can’t afford to piss them off by saying “no” to a request.
  • I can’t bare the thought of a client not liking me.
  • I need to pay the bills, and if I don’t go above and beyond, the client might not pay, hire me again, or refer me.


First of all I want you to know: There is nothing WRONG with having these beliefs. I do not believe that these beliefs are good or bad. I believe that every belief has consequences and my goal in this post is to show you the consequences of these beliefs and offer some alternative beliefs that may serve you better in getting the results you crave.

So how does people pleasing show up? Let’s talk about the 5 major ways that I see people pleasing ooze out for service providers…

The 5 MAIN Ways That People Pleasing Shows Up for Service Providers

What does “bending over backwards” look like? Here are the things that I see entrepreneurs do in an effort to please their clients:

1️⃣ Over Customizing Services

This comes from the belief that every client is unique and requires a unique package. Over customizing your services comes in the form of:

  • Writing custom proposals (I never recommend this and talk about this extensively in Yay for Clients)
  • Adding extras to your services to sweeten the pot. (As a new copywriter, for example, I would write proposals for clients who needed website copy and include an offer to write all of their social media bios).
  • Increasing the scope of the project to be way more than what it should be and doing things outside of your wheelhouse (i.e. a copywriter offering to do design work).

2️⃣ Undercharging for services

You worry that clients won’t say yes to working with you unless you are the most affordable option, so you don’t charge as much as you know you “should”.

Maybe you’ve sent proposals before and didn’t get a response.

Maybe you’ve experienced the crushing feeling of having a potential client tell you, “We decided to hire someone else”.

It must have been the price, you tell yourself. If I had charged less, maybe I would have gotten the client.

3️⃣ Saying “yes” to PITA clients

PITA stands for “Pain in the Ass”.

These are the clients who push your boundaries, make ridiculous requests, email you all hours of the day, and have unrealistic expectations of you.

We’ve all had PITA clients before.
We’ve all been PITA clients before.

When you fuel your business with a desperation to make money, you have no choice but to say yes to less-than ideal clients. (I talk about this in depth in my free 6-part video series on the Feast and Famine Cycle).

⚠️ WARNING ⚠️ Your fear of setting boundaries and expectations with your clients increases the likelihood that perfectly good clients will become PITA clients because you’re being a push over instead of a boss. Your clients want you to be in charge and tell them what to do.

4️⃣ Saying “yes” to things you don’t want to do

Let’s say you’re a career coach. You’re on a call with a prospective client when they ask, “Do you offer unlimited email support?”

Sound familiar?

A wave of fear runs through your body. You’re convinced that if you say “no”, the client won’t work with you. You’ve made the assumptions that (a) the client knows what they need and (b) the fact that they are asking the question means that it’s a must-have for them.

You’ve never offered unlimited email support before, but now it feels necessary. You say yes. You need the money.

While you’re working with this client, they email you several times a week (often late at night with desperate, urgent sounding messages). You grow resentful.

“I hate client work” you start to think.

But it’s not the client work you hate. It’s the fact that you added this feature to your services that is completely unnecessary. It’s the people pleasing that you hate.

5️⃣ Enabling clients and creating codependency

Are you ready for a harsh truth?

The reason we “people please” is not because we care about other people. It’s because we want to control what other people think of us.

I can hear the feathers ruffling. Before you get mad at me, hear me out…

I’m no saying that you don’t care about your clients.
I’m not saying that you are egotistical.

I 100% believe that if you suffer from chronic people pleasing, you more than likely have the best of intentions.

I also 100% believe that if you suffer from chronic people pleasing, it stems from the ego being afraid of what other people think of you.

People pleasing often leads to codependence. We bend over backwards for clients because we want to feel needed. This enables our clients to be come dependent on us instead of taking responsibility for themselves. This is not serving your clients. It’s actually preventing your clients from getting the results they want.

Have you considered that your desire to please your clients is actually producing the exact opposite result that you want?

I could be wrong but…

💥 I’m assuming that you want to make a full-time income from your business so that you can live comfortably (or even better than comfortably).

💥 I’m assuming that you want your clients to experience a transformation and get results from working with you.

💥 I’m assuming that you want to get great testimonials, feedback, and referrals from your clients.

What if I told you that people pleasing is NOT the way to make those things happen?

What if I told you that people pleasing is actually preventing those things from happening?

In Part 2, I’m going to show you exactly how your people pleasing is backfiring and outline what you need to do instead…

But first, I want to hear from you!

⬇️ Let me know in a comment below ⬇️

  1. Do you consider yourself a people pleaser?
  2. Which one of the 5 things above are you MOST guilty of?


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