Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Firing the Client

I never blog about work. Sure, I'll blog about what's ailing my vagina, my marital problems and solutions, all manner of inane things, but never my work. I guess I'm just not that into talking about it. This may also stem from the fact that, in general, I don't like to spend more emotional/mental time on work than is ever absolutely necessary. My blog is my fun, personal time - separate from work. That's how I like it. I also value my privacy and don't wish to ever be outed IRL (not that that would ever happen), hence few specifics about my jobbity job jobs.

But I will say this about my work. The good (and sometimes really bad) news is I'm my own boss. I have the luxury of picking and choosing the people with whom I do business. Today I fired a client who has been a pain in my ass for the last 6 months.

It felt goooooood.

Firing a client is not something I've ever done before. I had this epiphany at 3am this morning: I honestly never want to see or hear from this client again. There is no amount of money this person could pay me that would make me want to interact with them ever. I know that saying, "everyone has a price." Not in this case. Not for me. Honestly. No. Fucking. Way.

What did this client do to piss me off and make me realize I'm done with them, you ask?

Long story short: after a shitstorm, the client told me I was supposed to have known they wanted me to tell them A Certain Thing orally as opposed to me telling them A Certain Thing via letter and email. Therefore my failure to tell them orally is their reason (excuse) they failed to complete Big Task they had committed to completing.

Or in other words, the client would like to blame me for their own failure to complete Big Task.

Um, no client, I deal in the written word. It's called CYA.

So I told them orally, and by letter, and by email that I'm letting them go. I feel better already.

Ever break up with a client? How did it go down?


Jac. said...

I love firing clients, I do it regularly. At least quarterly I review all my client files to find out who is sucking up all my time and energy without the payoff. They say that 20% of your clients take up 80% of your time so I am always looking at which clients are time sucks and either not willing to pay for it, or are slowly sucking the life out of me/keeping me up at night/general jerks abusing my helpful nature.

I've actually gotten really good at firing clients. I recommend it to everyone. I think that keeping clients who don't fit for you creates a scarcity mindset (i.e. if I fire this client, how will I replace their work so I make the same income?). I find that freeing myself from burdensome clients always makes room for better, more appreciative clients who are happy to pay.

Anandi said...

I don't have clients at my job, but I'm very,very selective on what custom projects I'll take on in my Etsy shop. I figured out early on, that the customers that hassle me about every last detail and try to haggle on the price, end up spending the least amount of $. And it just wasn't worth it.

Part of what I did to avoid this is raise all of my prices across the board. Which did decrease the # of sales, but increased the $ that came in, so win-win :) I also find that people willing to pay a bit more for a handmade item are not as nitpicky.

Now I don't do custom orders at all, but people email me and then I decide. If I needed to go back to it for the money, I'd be very selective about the projects I take on.

hush said...

@Jac - Delighted to see your name again in my comments! ;) Glad to hear elsewhere that your own firm is up and running. How old is your DD now?

Good for you for firing the shitty clients and making it a routine practice. I totally agree with you on the 80/20 rule - Pareto's principle applies to so many areas of life, it's totally amazing.

@Anandi - "the customers that hassle me about every last detail and try to haggle on the price, end up spending the least amount of $" - yes, yes, yes. Same deal in my business. See the 80/20 rule @Jac mentioned yet again.