When you start your own business there’s this feeling of excitement, euphoria and absolute fear all mixed together. On one hand you’re happy to get rid of the boss and the hard hours and on the other hand you’re petrified you’re not going to have enough at the end of the month.
So when you get clients, you’ll pretty much put up with any sort of abuse. Clients will ignore deadlines and your personal boundaries. If they find your private (home) number they’ll be quite happy to abuse it because “their emergency” is almost always more important than your life or your family. And because you’re petrified of losing the client (because they always threaten to do so) you’ll break your rules and do it anyway…and once you break the rule once, your peace and quiet is over for good.
About a month ago I had a client who became verbally abusive to my staff. We had done nothing wrong. In fact he had not paid his monthly retainer with us for 6 months but was still insisting on the service. When I finally pulled the plug on his service, he first got abusive, then paid up his account, and then got abusive again because his service had not been restored to immediately – even though our contract clearly states a 48 hour waiting time if there is a disruption in service.
And so I fired the client.
Most entrepreneurs will gasp and think I’m mad – you can’t fire a client. “The client is always right”. Nonsense.
I can’t even explain the relief that comes with getting rid of a difficult client, so they I can focus on my paying, happy clients – and I also have my Self-Respect back. I have value, not only as a person, but as a business owner. So please show me some respect and common courtesy.
Of course, if I’m in the wrong, point it out – I want to learn and grow and deliver the best results I can – but please don’t expect me to take your abuse.
So, my encouragement to you today: Find the most horrible client you have (you’ll see they also pay you very little but take up most of your time) and fire them. Just fire off an email saying that due to internal re-structuring in the office you will not be able to manage them from X-Date.