These are the four tell-tale signs of knowing when to fire a client. If you are feeling one of these things, you know it’s time to break up and say goodbye.
We’ve all had that dream client – you know, the one who makes you think “Why can’t they all be like this?” They are always pleasant, appreciative, and seem to love virtually everything we do.
And conversely, we’ve all had that difficult client – you know, the one who makes you think “Really? Really?!?” on a daily basis. They feel impossible to please at times, no matter how hard we try.
But let’s face it, we’ve all got our quirks. None of us are perfect. When you’re an entrepreneur, dealing with people – all *kinds* people – is simply part of the gig. If we put a red velvet rope outside our business and only let the positively perfect clients come in, we might be sitting there waiting for quite some time.
But how do we decide how much is too much? How do we determine when tolerating a person’s quirks is the right thing to do, and when it’s better to simply “bless and release” them?
My hope is that the following four red flags can serve as your guide for when to fire a client.
Let these show you when to press on and when it’s just time to break up for the last time.
1) They Repeatedly Ignore Your Recommendations
You quite simply can’t help a client who won’t take your recommendations. When you keep on a client who constantly ignores the expertise which is the reason why people hire you in the first place – you risk them blaming you when the finished product doesn’t deliver results. You’re brilliant at what you do, and any hours you spend giving your energy to those who don’t see or utilize your brilliance is quite frankly unfair to the people for who you could be making a huge difference.
2) They Don’t Respect You
When it starts to feel as though respect has left the room? That’s when a relationship can become toxic. Bottom line: everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Your clients deserve to be treated with respect by you, and you deserve to be treated with respect by them. If this isn’t happening, it’s time to say goodbye.
3) They Are Causing You to Lose Money
Numbers are numbers: if you have a client who is paying you x amount of dollars for x amount of hours, and you are consistently spending more hours than they are compensating you before because of how difficult they are – it’s time to have a conversation with them to make sure that you’re being adequately compensated for the extra time they require. Some clients fully realize they have additional needs and are more than happy to pay for the extra time. Others expect special treatment for the same price, and those are the ones who you’ll most likely need to bless and release.
4) Things Don’t Improve After a Conversation
A client/provider relationship is just like any other relationship: it will require work at times. Communication is everything. If you’re having a problem with a client, don’t silently suffer – have a conversation with them. Very often you’ll find they had no idea they were affecting you in this way and they may be more perceptive moving forward. It’s when you have that conversation and then nothing changes, that it’s a sign you may not be a good fit to work with one another. For more on having tough conversations, check out this incredible video from Laura Khalil where she outlines the four steps.
5) BONUS: [Insert Your Reason Here]
Do you know what the beautiful thing is about owning your own business? YOU’RE THE BOSS. You don’t have to ask anyone for permission. If you’re feeling the need to bless and release a client for a reason not listed above then, by all means, do what feels right to you. (Now, that being said, if you’re firing one in every two clients, it might be time to consider that either your target market is way off base or you may not be well-suited to the entrepreneurial life.)
We’re each on a journey of our own, constantly figuring out what works for us and what doesn’t. Just remember to take care of yourself out there. At the end of the day, no matter how big or fancy a client is, it’s never worth killing the joy that is the reason you started your business in the first place.
Knowing when to fire a client is all about honoring that.
For more, check out Self Care for Entrepreneurs: Build a Business That Takes Care of YOU.