Coaching,  Communication,  Entrepreneurs,  Implementation,  Marketing

How Firing a Client Will Set You Free…

This blog may be a bit unorthodox and I might even get some negative comments about my headline… However this subject has come up in conversations, no lie, with at least 5 people in just the past 3 days!  What’s going on here?  I think what’s happening in this “new economy” business owners, coaches and consultants alike are just incredibly thankful to have work and have clients that they are just taking anyone who shows up.  Now I’m not saying this is a bad strategy, in fact I did this when I first started out. It actually helped me develop and shape my business into what it is today.  By just saying yes to everyone, I discovered quickly what were my strengths and weaknesses, who I wanted to work with and who I didn’t.

And I also figured out “WHO” my ideal client was, this is HUGE!  Being able to describe in intricate detail who your client is, this one thing is an incredibly valuable experience. And now I’m going off topic a little.  However this is REALLY important. So I’d encourage you to take 15 minutes and do this exercise:

  1. Write down all the qualities you want your ideal client to have
  2. Write down how you want your clients to see you (This will help you in your vision of who you want to work with and will help attract them to you.)

Here’s what I have written down for myself:

My ideal client is:

  • Incredibly successful
  • Mature, intelligent and caring
  • Humorous and light hearted
  • Full of integrity
  • Happily loves to hand over tons of  money to me to solve their problems
  • Creative, easy going and friendly

My clients see me as:

  • Their trusted friend, coach, mentor
  • Intelligent, Inventive, creative and enthusiastic to grow their business
  • An expert who’s driven to help them succeed in life

The goal for this exercise is to “know” who your ideal client is by visualizing them, writing down their traits and keep this list on your computer screen, or your wall, some place where you will see it every day.  Once you do this, then you can “spot” them a mile away.

Yet sometimes the Inevitable does happen, you start working with someone who you thought was your ideal client and things just don’t feel good and it’s just not working out how it’s supposed to. 

This is the main focus of my blog- “How firing a client will set you free.” I ought to know because I’ve done it only twice, yet it was just so worth it.  But it was really hard to do it.  I think the challenge in “firing” or letting a client go is the HUGE fear of “oh my gosh, I can’t let them go, where’s my money going to come from?” or “I can’t let them go because what if no one else shows up and my business goes under,” and on and on and on, the fears run rapid in the brain. 

Well I’m here to tell you as lovingly as possible, push through that fear.  TRUST me, it’s THE best thing to do.  AND, more clients will come! In fact, the clients that come after them are EVEN better. I know this because it’s happened to me, I speak from experience.  As soon as we parted ways, I got an email and had another amazing client walk through my proverbial door!

So please don’t sit there suffering with a client who’s driving you nuts, bringing you down, and making you not feel good about yourself and your business. Muster up the courage, tell them it’s not working, offer them another solution, refer them to someone else, or give them some tools or tips and simply sent them on their way.

This was a big lesson I learned from Dan Sullivan, . Life is way too short to work with people who don’t bring out the best in you and make you feel like the amazing, wonderful, gifted person that you truly are…

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  • Meredith Bell

    Great post, Shannon, and I agree with you 100%. This advice applies to all our relationships. If we allows people with negative energy/attitudes to be a regular part of our lives, it can really bring us down.

    I love the exercises with the two questions. I’ve been working to define our ideal clients for our new product and these additional questions helped me clarify my thinking. I appreciated your sharing your own criteria, too.

  • Stacey Hylen

    Hi Shannon,

    Great post. I have been having my clients identify their perfect clients for years and they are always scared to do it because they don’t want to turn business away but once they do it they always are happy they did when they get more clients and better clients than before.

    Sometimes even I get a not so perfect client as a reminder and I have to stick to my boundaries. I believe that there are clients out there for everybody and when we are clear about what we want we will attract the right ones for us.


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