When’s the Last Time You “Fired” a Client?

(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — I had a realization not too long ago that I am focusing way too much of my time on stuff I don’t particularly enjoy but just happen to be good at, and it’s taking me away from the things I really love to do, which are both more enjoyable for me and more lucrative.

Last week, I decided to do something about it.

But before that, I allowed myself to get burned out and to have those whistful, “One day, when I ______…” thoughts for ages. What’s been holding me back from pursuing those passions wholeheartedly? Fear.

  • Fear that I won’t be good at them.
  • Fear that saying goodbye to a regular client will be the first in a series of poor decisions that will mean the untimely and unpleasant end of my career.
  • Fear that “firing” a client whose work I no longer enjoy is tantamount to quitting, and thus I will be a quitter for the rest of my life.

Last week, I decided to stop letting the fear control me and my business: I put in my notice with a regular client for whom I’ve been freelancing for more than 2 years — one of my first clients, in fact. Why? The work I am doing for them, although I do it competently and with not much effort, is not what I want to be doing. And the time committment I allow for it has prevented me from being able to take on more work in my target area. So, no more.

All week, I’ve been remembering Christine Kane’s great performance on the cruise at SOBCon08, and the lines from “Right Outta Nowhere” that have stuck with me and played over and over in my head since May: “Some choices hold you down, some chances set you free” and “Leap, and the net will appear.”

So far, so good: Just signed a new consulting client today. Let’s hope the trend continues.

When’s the last time you fired a client?

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8 comments… add one
  • Leigh Sep 17, 2008

    I haven’t fired any clients lately, but I did turn one down this morning. He found me through my profile on a Webmaster forum, and asked me to write one 500-word article for him – for $3.50. Um, no.

    Leighs last blog post..Freelance Negotiations

  • Kristen King Sep 17, 2008

    Maybe he had a small seizure when he hit the decimal? Yikes!


  • Kristen King Sep 17, 2008

    Something went screwy and this post went up twice, so here are the comments from the other version to simplify things:

    From LORI (www.loriwidmer.blogspot.com) — 9/17/08
    The trend WILL continue. It’s interesting how the moment you make a good business decision, the world gives you the message that yea, you’re on the right track.

    I fired one not too long ago myself. The work is somewhat interesting, but it’s too much work for the compensation involved. When they wouldn’t budge on price, I had to bid them a fond farewell.

    Loris last blog post.. http://tinyurl.com/3sgfb8

    From ME – 9/17
    Thanks, Lori. Appreciate the encouragement. :) And also that your last blog post was about me! ;)


  • Debbi Sep 17, 2008

    Early this year, I “fired” a client. Highly enjoyable work–writing articles for a local newspaper on some fascinating topics–but the pay was dirt. I’m way beyond the point of doing work for anything less than what I’m worth.

    Debbis last blog post..Writers Unplug From Net

  • Kristen King Sep 17, 2008

    You go, girl! No need to work for peanuts, none at all. :)


  • Lori Sep 18, 2008

    Thinking about it a bit more, I’ve actually fired a few of them. One brought in a third party to go over my work and then I was to write to please him – bye bye! Another wouldn’t sign a contract, but insisted I could trust him – see ya!

    Yet another made arbitrary contract changes without telling their stable of freelancers (a conglomerate), then expected us to approve the contract in order to continue working with them. Since the rate was half what I’d made previously, ta ta!

    Loris last blog post..Giving What’s Expected

  • Kristen King Sep 18, 2008

    Ohh, I remember that one with the third party, and also the crazy new contract people. Ick, ick, ick! Man, Lori, we go way back! LOL


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