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Micro Management

9 Signs That it is Time to Fire a Client

Carlana Charles asked:

As Virtual Assistants or any professional for that matter, at some point in time you are likely to experience the need to end ties with a particular client.  You may feel this way for a myriad of reasons, especially if it gets to the point when the client does not seem to be worth the time, energy, and money or trouble anymore.

Letting a client go is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be a necessary step if your business is to ever get to the point that you would have envisioned it. When ending a relationship with a client, the key is to wrap up the relationship properly and professionally. However, depending on the reason for ending the relationship, this may prove challenging.  As best as possible, avoid burning bridges. You may want to ensure that all unfinished work is wrapped up, possibly assist in finding a suitable replacement and just generally doing things that will demonstrate that there are no ill feelings. Again, this may be difficult, particularly if the relationship did not end amicably. Here are my top 9 signs that it is time to let a client go. 

1- Payment issues. Client consistently pays late and probably never paid an invoice on time, payment is always short and off course, the client consistently dissects and queries each and every detail of the invoice. Need I say more? 

  2- Client can be considered a ‘buzz-kill’. Talking to the client or checking your inbox and seeing an email from them fills you with dread and saps your energy. There is no joy in working for and communicating with the client. Why stay in a joyless, unhappy relationship? 

 3- Client is disrespectful and prone to abusive and foul language. The client tends to have no qualms swearing like a sailor and lack basic communication and problem solving skills. And for the doubters, yes, there are ‘professionals’ who behave like this. I used to have a client like that once. 

 4- Client cannot seem to understand that you are a business person and not their employee and consistently attempts to treat you like a staff member and not an independent professional. This is the client that expects you to be at their beck and call and fails to consider that you do have other clients to take care of and a life that does not feature them. 

5-Client’s work and or behavior restrict you from taking on new work. This client always needs something done ASAP or ‘as of yesterday’ or will send work at the last moment and will expect you to make a miracle. Their projects always tend to go haywire and you spend more time on their work trying to fix and sort through things due to their failure to properly communicate their needs or for some other matter. 

6-Client seems to lack honesty. I’m sure you know this client. You know, the one that says he never read the email despite you having received a read receipt from him. Perhaps he’s the client that swears that your last invoice was paid on time, yet you bank balance tells a different story. 

 7-Client is an expert micro-manager and needs to be involved in every step of every process, sometimes down to the minutest details, despite them hiring you do the job and make decisions. I’m not against a certain level of micro-management. Some clients find it challenging to totally relinquish responsibility. The problem comes when their constant involvement actually impedes progress. 

8- Your business has taken a different direction from when you would have originally started working with the client and as such, you would have outgrown the client. You may have also streamlined your business or just discovered your niche and it is not in the area the client needs support. Maybe you started your business providing telemarketing services, but overtime, you’ve come to realize that you would rather provide answer phone services instead. You may just decide that you do not want to keep the relationship with clients who need telemarketing support.  

9- You’ve lost your passion for providing the service the client requires. This is definitely a valid reason to move on. Always give your best to each client. Why continue offering a service you are no longer excited or passionate about?  It would make better sense to let the client on a good note, when they can only say positive things about you and your service as opposed to continuing with the service and the lack of passion and interest show through the quality of work you produce or the level of service you give.

 

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