When Should You Fire A Client?
It had been a tough process.
A new client in a business that I loved.
A lot of enthusiasm at the start.
Extra upfront time invested by both of us (to be expected).
Then things seemed to go south.
There was a litany of client problems including:
- Constantly changing his mind, resulting in my having to redo copy time after time
- Requesting changes without being able to articulate why – just wanting to see more options
- Second-guessing my advice, but expecting me to pick up the pieces when things went wrong
- Continually missing meetings, and not willing to extend deadlines
- Nitpicking my work and the work of the designer, thereby lowering morale
Contract renewal time arrived and – to my surprise –
he wanted to renew.
Let Me Step Back and Say –
I value my clients, dearly. They pay me money, give me interesting projects, and sometimes become friends. But ONCE, I fired a client, and this was it.
So during another difficult phone conversation, I let him know that I had decided not to continue with his work.
This is What I’ve Learned
There is a big difference between challenging projects and challenging clients.
Challenging projects help you grow, are immensely satisfying when brought to a happy conclusion, and can lead to more business.
Challenging clients are the ones who are never satisfied, never want to pay for their 22 revisions, never pleased with an idea unless its theirs, never stick to a deadline, and are unreasonably demanding. Challenging clients, in my experience, are also few and far between (thank heavens!)
When I worked for a big corporation, I had to suck it up. But as the head of my own copywriting service, I could see this client was going to continue to drive me crazy and drain my energy.
I decided to fire him.
What would you have done? I’d be interested in your thoughts.