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Why You Should Have Fired this Client Month Ago

This is something every project manager must deal with. It begins as a dull, gnawing pain within your brain. It becomes an epiphany, which is truly eye-popping. It explodes into a complete facial-palm. “We should have fired the client !!!!”
This client-firing attitude is not easy. Few people are brave enough to fire clients. It is difficult to find clients in today’s digital agency marketplace. Clients are wealth! Clients are wealth! They are your money! You must find them, be kind to them, and do what they request. Your clients are your lifeline!
Clients can take a lot out of your life. I am not the best at firing clients. I’m as reluctant to fire clients as anyone.
This article is possible because I learned, sometimes too late that I shouldn’t have fired the client a month before. Here are some reasons why you might want to fire your client.
Let’s begin with a story.
I used to keep clients as a bad habit. My first time firing clients was in a tech startup in Seattle. (I worked remote.)
We were able attract some very high-quality clients — companies with strong employees doing great things.
There are also other clients…but not so much.
As client manager, I was responsible to direct communication with the point of contact. These were often startups with only one or two employees. One of our clients demanded that we do something completely unethical. We shared a history with the client. It was a history filled with handholding, unreasonable demands, and spiteful emails. This should have been a warning sign.
He wanted me do something that was against the company’s ethics standards.
He asked me and I answered “no”.
He demanded, and I said “no”.
He raged, and I said “no.”
I had a conversation about the matter with my CEO. My CEO replied simply, “Fire him!”
I thought, “Fire he!” He only pays $X per month!
But I fired him.
In a matter of minutes, my life was transformed. It was amazing to witness the changes. My internal compass was reset, my priorities were established, the quality of my work improved, and the company gained solid footing. All because we fired an evil client.
This has happened many times over my time as a client manager. In just a few months, I had fired three more clients.
One client wanted us to create a website and check his email. Another client used to send us cuss-you emails when he was having bad days. It was almost every day.
It was hard at first to fire a client who was not paying you. It became easier as time went by. It was easy to see why firing clients was more profitable. Our productivity increased and morale rose because we were able to work closely with clients who mattered long-term.
Hello, Pareto. It’s great to meet you!
Pareto is a great man for math and economics. You may have heard of Pareto.
Pareto invented the Pareto principle (no surprise), also known by the 80-20 rule. The 80-20 rule states that 20% of your success is due to your efforts. This means that 20% of your efforts will result in 80% success.
If you have problems with clients, you won’t be in the Pareto Zone. You might be spending 20% of your time and effort on 20% of your clients, which could lead to you spending 20% more of your time with the troubled ones. This is not the way to build a business.
This chart will help you determine if this is true for you. Are 20% of your clients bringing you 80%? Is it even close?
But where are your most valuable customers? Most likely, you are wasting your time with unprofitable customers.
It doesn’t have be this way.
Keep your clients in your thoughts! (Or not.)
Keep true to your clien