I passed by a store the other day. On the glass doors was a sheet of paper. Handwritten in large letters with a black marker pen was:
NO PETS ALLOWED.
NO FOOD AND DRINK INSIDE.
NO PICTURE TAKING.
I didn’t even try to see what was behind those glass doors. I have no idea what the store was selling. I couldn’t see beyond that unwelcoming note (even if I didn’t have a pet, food or camera with me). They might as well have written, “go away!” because that’s what I did. I didn’t see people flocking into the store either.
While it’s understandable – the shop owner may be allergic to animal fur or doesn’t have staff to clean up messes or doesn’t want her shop advertised (!) on Facebook – if the first thing the eye is drawn to is something that pushes people away, then it will push people away.
Have you checked your portfolio/website lately? You may have a section in it that’s meant to frighten away the clients/projects you don’t want (I subtly say this in “What I will not do for you”), which is perfectly okay. But if it’s the first and most obvious thing that potential clients see, they won’t care to look beyond that.