Dealing with toxic clients in your spiritual business can be really stressful. It can rob you of valuable time and energy that you could be spending on much more productive things.
In this post, I’ll define what “toxic clients” really means, how these clients drain you and your business, and how you can deal with them from a more empowered place. You’ll walk away with a clear sense of how to quickly identify these types of clients and CHOOSE consciously whether you want to work with them or not.
Indicators of a toxic client
So, to start, how can we define “toxic clients”? Here’s a list of strong indicators that you’re dealing with a toxic client:
- they have poor personal boundaries
- they expect you to respond to their emails IMMEDIATELY (and will email you again if you don’t)
- they try to negotiate your pricing, get out of paying, or pay less than you’re owed
- they often request “emergency” sessions or sessions outside of your regular business hours
- they might try to reach you via multiple methods at once – i.e., emailing, calling, and texting you all at the same time (or repeatedly)
- they come to their sessions late, unprepared, or totally overwhelmed (so you spend most of your time doing “crisis management” instead of the co-creative and transformative work you’d LIKE to do)
- they don’t do their own work in between sessions but then complain to you that nothing is changing for them
- they don’t take any of your suggestions or make time in their lives for meditation, inner work, or other spiritual or self-development practices
- they blame others/their parents/society/the world for their problems and have difficulty taking ownership of their lives
- VERY IMPORTANT INDICATOR: you feel totally drained, overwhelmed, or anxious after your sessions with them.
You might already be having a light bulb moment or noticing important red flags about a specific client as you read this list. If so, I invite you to continue reading so you can figure out the best, most respectful, self-protective way to let this client go.
The client-healer relationship
Of course, as a healer or spiritual entrepreneur, you want to be working. You want to have clients. You get excited when a new client reaches out! I do, too. But not every person that walks through your door (or your website) is going to be a vibrational match to you.
Think about your healer-client relationships just as you think about your other relationships. It helps to ask questions like:
- Is this client fully aligned with me? Am I fully aligned with them? Am I able to help them solve their problems given my expertise, approach, and knowledge?
- Is there a balanced and mutually beneficial exchange of energy happening between this client and me? Or am I giving more than I’m receiving?
- Do I feel good after interacting with this client, or do I feel exhausted?
- Am I always having to do the “heavy lifting”? Or is this client able to take ownership of his/her own stuff and work on it?
- Overall, what am I getting out of working with this client? Here, we want to make sure that you’re doing work that fulfills you spiritually and makes you feel purposeful — not just work that brings in money. (Of course, the money’s important, but your professional and spiritual fulfillment are just as important.)
Toxic clients can drain your business and personal energy in many ways. If you choose to work with a toxic or overly needy client, KNOW in advance that you’ll have to spend extra time caring for their needs, answering their emails, trying to set boundaries, and reassuring them.
Ultimately, you have to protect your own sanity as well as the integrity, health, and productivity of your business.
Always look at the big picture and advocate for yourself and your business. Is the hassle and energetic drain of working with a toxic client worth it to you?
If your answer is a resounding “no”, here are a few different ways to deal with toxic clients in your business.
6 ways to deal with toxic clients
- Be as kind and respectful as you can while enforcing boundaries.
Remember that, as frustrating as it can be to deal with them, toxic clients are still human beings – and they’re in pain. They wouldn’t be acting out this way otherwise! So it’s really important to be kind and respectful WHILE enforcing clear boundaries. This might mean that you let these clients know, as per your business policy, that you don’t offer “emergency” sessions. Or that you respond to emails within 48 hours. Or that if they’re late to a session, you won’t make up the time. Sometimes, setting clear boundaries in this way can resolve the issue and help your clients meet you at a higher level. Other times, though, toxic clients will push against these boundaries or test your limits – it’s best to let those clients go.
- Clear and protect yourself.
If you find yourself working with a toxic client (sometimes we don’t realize this until halfway through a session… or even later than that!), make sure to clear and protect yourself regularly. As a healer or spiritual worker, you probably have established rituals of clearing and protection for yourself (like cutting cords, surrounding yourself in a bubble of light, invoking your Spirit Guides or Ascended Masters, the Record Keepers, etc). Make sure to do these rituals immediately before and after sessions with toxic clients. It’s especially important to cut any co-dependent cords or hooks between you and a needy client, so do this on the regular by invoking Archangel Michael and cutting those cords with his sword.
- Listen to your body, gut, and intuition.
Luckily, in my personal experience, I haven’t worked with toxic clients in a long time. But in the past, I would get physical symptoms like headaches, a sore throat, or dizziness right after and in between sessions with these types of clients. I could feel my personal energy field getting drained and “scrambled up”. Emotionally, I would go into anxiety or worry and it was very difficult for me to stop ruminating about the session. If you notice any of these signs, or if your intuition is telling you something’s wrong, PAY ATTENTION. These are important messages and you must act on them.
- Update your marketing.
Of course, there will always be toxic clients in the world – just as there are toxic people in every family and every community. But YOU don’t have to work with them! Your first line of defense is, in many ways, your marketing. Are your marketing and copy SUPER CLEAR about who your ideal client is? Your marketing should be designed and written to attract your soulmate clients and REPEL everyone else. If you’re getting a ton of mis-aligned, unprepared, or toxic clients, you need to review your messaging to make sure you’re clearly describing who you work with. If you prefer to work with ambitious, awake, high-level clients who are willing to take ownership of their lives, you MUST communicate this in your marketing.
- Implement an application form.
You can make your sessions only available by request (instead of having a BUY or BOOK button on your website) and implement an application form to help you identify your ideal clients and sift out everyone else. This can be really helpful to avoid working with people who aren’t a vibrational match to you. And it also frees those people to find another healer who will get them and be able to help them. In the end, it’s a win-win: you’re saving EVERYONE’s time and resources. If this strategy resonates with you, you can check out my application form for Akashic Records Sessions here. This will give you an example of the kinds of questions you can include in your form.
- Let toxic clients go.
Finally, if it’s time to let go of a toxic client, do so as gracefully and kindly as you can. First, clearly state the reason why you’re letting them go. This can be general, such as “I don’t think I can continue to help you”. Or it can be more specific, such as “I feel that you haven’t respected my boundaries so we won’t be able to continue working together”. The key is to use a professional, firm, and respectful tone. Don’t allow yourself to get triggered. Keep your own emotions in check. Also, as a matter of professional ethics, do NOT refer toxic clients to other healers without discussing it with those healers first!
I hope you’ll be able to use the information here to protect your business, attract clients who are powerfully aligned with you and ready to do the work, and let go of clients that are draining your energy and distracting you from the real work you’re meant to do.
Remember – you can consciously CHOOSE who to work with.
To your abundant success,
In my one-on-one coaching sessions, I help healers and spiritual entrepreneurs heal issues like imposter syndrome and fear of visibility so they can attract their soulmate clients consistently. If this article resonated with you, I invite you to connect with me via a free discovery call. Let’s explore how we can grow your business together.