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Back Off. You’re Not My Client!

Categories: Uncategorized

So it’s a matter of record that I do things a little bit differently. I’m a little… edgy is probably the best word. Someone recently referred to me as the “Bad Girl of Marketing,” which I thought was adorable, if not entirely accurate. I’ve been called a “Brat,” which I thought was rad and hence the Marketing Brat moniker. I’ve also been called a lot of less complimentary things that even I wouldn’t put into print (and that, my friends, is saying something).

And being so openly strange and different, I attract a more focused level of “feedback” than many other, more “corporate” marketers. Which makes for some interesting (and intense) experiences.

One of my favourites of late, has been the gleeful berating that begins,

“I would have bought from you … BUT.”

The overall message being:

“You’ve lost a sale, because if you were someone different I’d buy from you.”

And I think the reaction they expect from this comment is very different to the one they get

There are two things that are wrong with this statement:

#1 – It’s a Lie

And it’s the same lie you always hear from people who want to attempt to exert some form of control over you, whether it’s societal, bosses in corporate, your peer group when you were a kid:

“If you behave in a way I approve of, you will be accepted.”

And of course, it’s never really true … it requires compromise after compromise after compromise … to make one person happy. Someone who – frankly – is the kind of person who requires everyone else to change to suit their view of the world.

What a joy they’ll be to work with! Perhaps you can get REALLY lucky and find five or six people exactly like that!

(“In case you couldn’t tell, I was being sarcastic.” Homer J Simpson)

I call these people: Demandor the Clienator. And their goal is to devour your soul by capturing you in their neon grips …

My belief is that they’re working from their own values – they’re so desperate themselves, that if a “potential client” told them they were wrong, they’d bend over backwards to change.

#2 – I Choose My Clients

I started my business for freedom.

The freedom to never answer to a boss. The freedom to say what I like with no filters. The freedom to go “tatts out” – to be who I am without conforming to anyone else’s idea of who that should be.

I saw someone write the other day that when you start your own business, you’re not really your own boss – because your clients become your boss.

I was like – dude. If you believe that, you’re doing it wrong.

Clients are important and of course, you should over-deliver constantly.

But that doesn’t mean letting them call you when you’re supposed to be at dinner with your family (“I’d be your client, if only you’d take my calls in your sleep … “); it doesn’t mean letting them dictate to you when you take holidays (“I’d be your client, if only you worked 365 days a year …”); and it certainly doesn’t mean changing your values and behavior to please other people (“I’d be your client, if only you were someone else …”).

For no amount of money on the face of this planet can you own me.

Changing the way you market or run your business to please someone who isn’t even a client is a zero sum game. Hell, changing your business to please a CLIENT is a zero sum game!

My game – my field – my rules.

And contrary to what the lack-focused desperados so want you to believe – this has a phenomenally positive impact on your business. More (and better) clients. More money. And probably most important, more fun and less Demandor the Clienators.

About Leela Cosgrove

Leela Cosgrove (AKA the Marketing Brat), is the founder of Strategic Anarchy and AustraliaÂ’s top Identity Marketing Consultant. Tattooed roller derby queen, punk rocker and Internet Marketing Geek, she swears sheÂ’s not nearly as scary as she looks.
View all posts by Leela Cosgrove ➞


  • George says:

    Now that is a refreshing piece in which I agree with and can relate to 100%. You are spot in with the appaulling attitude of ALOT of ‘unqualified’ prospective clients.

    Stand firm in YOUR terms and conditions of trading… They are YOUR terms, not theirs! And remind them when the vocal pitch changes like the bullying spoilt brats they become…

    “This is not personal – is how YOU do business”…

  • Anna says:

    LOVE IT!!! Completely agree with it!

  • Kelly says:

    weird that I read this today after yesterday reading about someone who was interested in what I “have to offer” but was “turned off ” by the word badass in my marketing as it gives such a “negative connotation.” I went by her Facebook fan page to take a peek and was turned off by the horrid marketing I found there. Suffice it to say she’s not my market, yet she desperately needs help. I’ll happily step aside to allow someone else to have this dream client.

  • Leela says:

    Ahhh – I guess, David, one of my hard and fast rules is that your ideal client should probably be someone who likes you the way you are … same rule as in ANY relationship! If you have to be “what they expect” to be attractive, are they really ideal??

  • David says:

    I accept that we are different. I wonder whether appearing more as my potential clients expect is really a ‘sellout’ of myself and my true identity or just a reasonable accomodation to find a bridge to their true selves, reasonable both commercially and sociall

  • Thor says:

    The golden rule:

    Who has the goal, rules.

    If you’re making more than you need to survive the great pleasure is choosing.

    Choice, freedom, this is why we do it, not for money but for LIBERTY!


    Love it.

  • Grant Honeman says:

    Way to hit the nail on the head! Or pin it through the lip in this case.

    I love this business BECAUSE of who you choose to work with. So many people can bring different qualities into your business.

    It sure beats kissing up to customers because you HAVE to! Screw that!

    Keep being you, Leela!

  • Heather Cottrell says:

    Hells yes! Thanks for speaking Truth: “for no amount of money on the face of this planet can you own me”.

    I love the point you made that you’re the boss, not the client. When I got that, my business changed for the better. It still kills me to see how hard that concept is for some of my clients to learn (I’m a biz coach, among other things).

    I’ll share this post!


  • Leela says:

    Love it Aslana – YEEEEES! Get your tatts out. And send photos!

  • Kimberley says:

    Brava! For over 30 years I have been the only woman in the room where the decisions are made. Why, because I brought to the table what no one else did…me. It took years but I learned not to apologies for my power and my gifts. Now I am authentic and have more power. Most of your audience would not want a place at the power table, after all look at the shape of the world. If that is what the people in power do then its time the power came from some place else.
    Exactly. The world is rebirthing itself. Freedom is the siren’s call but so is responsibility. Be responsible to be yourself. Be responsible to have fun and add happiness and job to the world. Be responsible to love and support mother earth. See responsibility doesn’t hurt. The most responsible person in the room is the person with the most freedom because that person is authentic, courageous and brings hope. You are now the woman in the room with power because you dared to be yourself. Thanks. Once again, Brava

  • Greg says:

    And just incase you were wondering..I was being sarcastic!

    I think the way you and Thor do business is totally rockin – you attract the clients you want to work with – and there are loads of us out there who want to work with real people, not fake lets be nice and sweet because its expected

  • Greg says:

    I was going to be your client until I read this article…

  • R4i says:

    It`s really useful! Looking through the Internet you can mostly observe watered down information, something like bla bla bla, but not here to my deep surprise. It makes me happy..!

  • Thor says:

    You guys are all so awesome :)

  • Jim Durbin says:

    “For no amount of money on the face of this planet can you own me.”


  • aslana says:

    effin AY! and i thought i had to look “marketabley” nice to attract people. Leela thanks for the permission for us to be who we really are., and thats why people are attracted to us and might buy from us! simply put, I am therefore, i am! good, i can roll out my tats from underneath my navy suit!

  • Acekard 2i says:

    I loved your post.Thanks Again. Really Great. Acekard 2i

  • Nicole says:

    Very refreshing, Leela.

    So many people spend so much time and energy on contorting themselves into being something they are not for people who are unwilling to BE who they truly are.

    What a complex world some people create.

    It’s simple. Be who you are and change the world.

    I’m so borrowing ‘Demandor the Clienators’. Lol.

  • Leela says:

    Oh wow, go away for 5 seconds – come back to a million comments! Thanks for the yays everyone! I appreciate your awesomeness. Therefore you may all be my clients – mwah ha ha! ;)

  • Thor says:

    “WAAAAH I would have bought from you if you weren’t YOU” No you wouldn’t have you’re NOT MY CLIENT! RAHHHH!

  • Brisbane Wedding Photographer | Matilda Beezley says:

    Once again Leela delivers the TRUTH. I’d much rather work for likeminded people, not narrow minded people. :)

  • marty says:

    ps ps – Digital Marketer just up their level in my eyes by getting someone like you on their blog. Two Thumbs up for Digital Marketer.

  • marty says:


    Couldn’t agree with you more. The whole point of starting a business is living your life, your way. The most powerful thing you have control over in your business is who you take as clients.

    I am just starting out and I have already fired 1 of my first 5 clients. It’s not worth the headache. The truth is….there is only 1 of me and there are millions of potential clients.

    You are awesome, I love your outlook on business and more importantly life.

    Keep being awesome!

    ps – What is the secret to being able to filter through all the B.S. comments without it getting under your skin? Cause no matter what we are all human

  • Leela says:

    Thanks Jake! :)

  • N says:

    Very encouraging perspective and outlook!

  • Lara says:

    Rock on! stand in your truth – awesome!

  • Ainsley says:

    Seriously an amazingly profound piece! Up to this point in your course I’ve been questioning who I am, arguing with imaginary haters in my head and wondering how I’ll deal with it when things start to happen.

    It’s reading this that gives me the fuel to keep going and believing that who I am is not wrong – what is wrong is allowing others to question it.

  • Phillipa Kiripatea says:

    Oh. My. Good. Goshness.

    Love this so much.

    Love how you write Leela, you make it all seem so simple and real.

    This will be a post I think I’ll be referring back to often, when I get Demandor the Clienators.

  • Jake says:


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