Yes, you read that right. This is something that you will do at some point. You will fire a client. Bet that didn’t cross your mind, did it?
You have chosen to work for yourself because you want to design your life and your business in a way that makes you happy, right? This means your mental health comes first. In this article I’m going to show you how and when you should fire a client.
Realistically, in the beginning you may take on any client that comes your way, as you want the experience and to get paid. Sometimes this means you end up with a client who seemed dreamy at first and after a short while turns into a nightmare.
Early on I suffered through nightmare clients who would call and yell at me because they didn’t like a font I used. Sometime they would tell me I’m worthless purely because I was chasing them for being late paying my invoice!
To my surprise, the first client I fired was actually a lovely man. However, after working with him for a month, there was a lot of thumb twiddling and waiting. When the work did come in, it was terribly dull, soulless work. He loved his business but I could not connect with it and I felt guilty because I dreaded the work.
My neighbours at the time were two social media experts. My client was using their services and they had referred him to me for Virtual Assistant work. It was actually those two friends who took me aside one day and said ‘It’s ok to fire him.’
Honestly, I was so taken aback that this was something I had the power to do. They reminded me that this was my business and encouraged me to get rid of the weekly dread I had when it came to the calls with him. I was to let him down gently and not renew the contract.
There was a weight off my shoulders almost immediately.
After that experience, I hit troubling times with a very verbally abusive client. However, it took me a fraction of the time to fire them.
Firstly I re-set the boundaries and asked her to communicate in a professional manner and secondly, when that didn’t work, I terminated the relationship.
I’ll admit I cried, she was pretty awful. After that I knew how to set healthy boundaries, manage expectations from the very beginning and to identify my dream clients.
I’ve learnt that those people are kind, appreciative, driven and creative. They are the ones who now fill my working days and there is a huge difference in my work life. There is no stress, anxiety or worry, only gratitude and warmth.
Sometimes, you just have to pull the plug on what, or who no longer serves you to preserve your sanity. So in summary, it’s not just necessary, it’s vital to fire a client when you need to!
Mel Maw | The Lifestyle VA | www.thelifestyleva.net/make-a-start
Mel is the founder of The Lifestyle VA, with a team of Virtual Assistants that helps clients turn their chaos into calm.
The Lifestyle VA is founded on 15+ years working as a top Executive Assistant for some of the world’s most exceptional and fascinating C Suite execs, Entrepreneurs and businesses across London, New York and Asia.
Mel’s expert team of VAs will work their magic to change the way you work and give you a seriously, beautiful, organised life.
Puja McClymont is a certified Life Coach supporting ambitious women in senior-level roles, entrepreneurs and high profile individuals to be empowered by who they are and what they want from love, life & work.