A part of running a successful business is knowing when it’s time to fire a client. After all, clients who no longer work for us only get in the way of our productivity. If the client is really bad then they keep us from making money and stress us out.
Lately, I’ve helped several students and coaching clients move through to process of firing bad clients. Here are some of the common signs that it was time for them to fire a client.
They don’t respect you.
One of my students was dealing with an overbearing client that really didn’t respect her. This client did not respect my student’s time and had very unrealistic expectations for their work together. The client also wasn’t compensating my student appropriately. It took some time, but eventually, my student fired this client for good.
If a client is not respecting your boundaries, they need to go. If a client is not paying you enough and they are a headache on top of that, then they really need to go. These types of projects are not worth the stress and are taking up valuable time.
Here’s what has happened since this student learned to fire a client. She got offered more money than ever for similar work from another client. In fact, three projects from this client and she’s almost earning what she would earn in a year from the former clients. Now she actually has the time to take it on.
You don’t have the time.
I had to fire a client this morning. It wasn’t because they were disrespectful in any way, it’s just they no longer fit into my business model or schedule. I simply sent an email saying that due to my workload and travel schedule, I am no longer able to continue on with this project.
The truth is, although this client is awesome, they aren’t paying enough for me to continue with the project. At least not when I have other projects that take less time and pay me far more.
Now, if I did have the time, I would not fire this client. In fact, I’d gladly do the work because they have been amazing to me. It’s just that right now I have too much on my plate and need to respect that.
You’ve outgrown them.
Sometimes, the need to fire a client is based on the fact that you’ve outgrown them. I remember many years ago when I fired all of my career coaching and health writing clients. This is because I began to focus more on personal finance and entrepreneurship.
It wasn’t anything personal, it just no longer made sense to keep them because the subjects were distracting to my business goals. Even this morning I turned down a partnership opportunity because it’s better suited for someone who covers more traditional forms of employment.
Every business owner will need to fire a client at some point. This is something we should rejoice about because we can more easily take stress off our hands. With time, you’ll learn how to spot problem clients early on so you don’t even waste your energy.
Amanda is a best-selling author of "Make Money Your Honey", a book that helps freelancers and business owners understand their relationship with money and how to make it more productive. She's driven by helping others live the most productive and fruitful way possible.