December 27, 2021

Success story from reader Lisa Barfield

Fellow list member Lisa Barfield replied to a recent message with a success story related to firing bad clients (shared with permission, lightly edited for clarity):

Hi Jonathan,

I’m an email stalker of yours and don’t often respond but am compelled to tell you I just loved your suggestions on how to find more time--firing your worst client being my favorite.

I did that this past year and I cannot believe how much of my perceived “business” was really catering to their whims. Shame on me!

Happy holidays and thanks for the regular gems!


Here’s the thing...

You and I and everyone else on this mailing list are in the service business.

As such, we can have a tendency to bend over backwards to please a client, even when it is unreasonable.

If you do this for long enough for a particular client, you can find yourself in a dysfunctional relationship that is bad for both parties.

In a situation like this, the right thing to do is to end the relationship.

Break ups are never easy, but there is almost always a humane way to do it that doesn’t leave them high and dry.

BTW - Even if your “worst” client is actually not that bad, it still makes sense to let them go to free up time to get a “way-better-than-not-that-bad” client who will gladly pay your new (and higher) fees :-)