I’m A Quitter And Darned Proud Of It!

Never give up. NEVER, EVER!
The Customer is ALWAYS right.
Remove Can’t From Your Vocabulary.

All three of the statements above? A bunch of hooey. Pretty and pretentious nonsense that has a negative impact on the way you do business and earn a living, as well as a sound and savvy reputation.

Do you have clients that:

  • Send you everything at the last possible second while still expecting you to meet a deadline?
  • Constantly tell you how busy “they” are in an attempt to excuse the fact that they dropped the ball?
  • Belittle your skills and expertise by repeatedly requesting discounts and price cuts?
  • Tell you the check is “in the mail” every month, without fail – but it still takes several weeks for the payment to travel across town?

busyIf you have clients that engage in any of the behaviors detailed above it’s time to create a plan to replace them with alacrity and fire them with the same speed. They certainly don’t appreciate you and they are not the types of clients that will refer you to others within their networks – unless it’s others as clueless and difficult to work with as themselves.

Is there anything worse than working on a project that takes up too much of your time for too little return on investment? In these situations, telling a potential client that you can’t take on the project is better for both of you. You don’t  feel pressured, rushed and overwrought and the client doesn’t get work completed with less than 100% care, commitment and zeal.

And, please, don’t get me started on the entrepreneur that says he or she CAN do ANYTHING. Design a custom WordPress theme and database? Absolutely! Ahem…never once mentioning that they’ve never designed a site in anything other than Microsoft Front Page. YIKES!

Fess up! We all have limitations, strengths and weaknesses and things we just flat out can’t do. Pithy platitudes don’t change that fact and the negative impact on your bottom line and your reputation can be nearly impossible to fix.

Honesty rules the day here, not ridiculous cheerleader chants. Be true to yourself by knowing and understanding your capabilities and your liabilities. Doing so ensures you are true to your clients.

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  1. billyraychitwood1 says:

    Works for me! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Randy Bowden says:

    Well said and bravo Mallie! Tough nut sometimes but a benefit as a small Independant is the ability to use “NO” when often warranted.

  3. Couldn't agree more, life is too short to work jerks. As Brian Buffini used to say, "Don't work with jerks, they will just refer you to their jerk friends" Ha ha. Reminds me of being a Realtor, you just weren't a seasoned Realtor until you fired a client. Kinda like a right of passage. Great job Mallie, always a pleasure to read your stuff.

    • Mallie Hart says:

      We've all dealt with them, Gerry. It's really nice when you can take the step and start pulling and discarding the "weeds" so to speak!

  4. Rich Cottle says:

    I can't tell you how much I love this post. You said what we all have been thinking and deal with on a daily basis.

    • Mallie Hart says:

      I still like your Twitter comment best, Rich. But thanks again. It's a hard road to take, but once you do and you're only working with clients that appreciate you, on tasks that excite you…well, it's awesome!

  5. Kittie Walker says:

    Spot on again, Mrs Hart :)

    I think we've all been there with the clients that we need to fire. Not an easy skill to acquire as you have to learn to do that the right way as well!

    • Mallie Hart says:

      It does take a certain skill set, Kittie. At some point we all need to take that step back and evaluate each client, each service, each product – and deduce whether they are truly valuable or have become a millstone around our neck dragging us into the muck!

  6. I chuckled and laughed :) This counts for online relationships, too, not just clients. Leave before they suck you dry!

    I am so glad you said it.

    • Mallie Hart says:

      It appeared to be a theme this week. The very next day another Steam Feeder had a much similar post. At least we know it's on target, huh!

      And quite true about the overall relationship, my dear!

  7. b2brookeballard says:

    Mallie, I'm wondering if you've read "The No A**hole Rule" by Robert Sutton. It talks about how A-Holes in the workplace are such a drain on our time, energy and resources – and cost companies more than they can afford. We try to do our best to filter out the A-Holes, and I'm certainly not afraid to let someone who slips past the gates go on their merry way when their agreement runs out. BUH-BYE, don't let the doorknob hit ya where the sun don't shine …. oh, and lose my number. :P

    • Mallie Hart says:

      No, I haven't read it. But it sounds like I'd enjoy it. Sometimes it's not necessarily someone acting like a horse's ass, though. Sometimes it's just an inability to meet in the middle on expectations and delivery method.

  8. Good one! The missing of deadlines is a killer with me. Whether it’s someone I employ or a coaching student. Deadlines are in place for a reason. On the non-payments? I get all fees up front.

    • Mallie Hart says:


      I enjoy being able to price so that someone who can't afford all at once pricing has options. But, yes, it can cause problems down the road! And the deadlines one is one of my biggest peeves, too. I'm one of those always early, always over-prepared types who expects the same from others.

  9. Judy Bowker says:

    Mallie, thank you for this! I think a lot of times professionals tend to drown themselves with a lot of different things and lose the meaning and purpose of what they are good at! Saying "no" is hard because you think you will lose the customer but in the end if you set them up with someone who can do it better than you, I truly believe it will lead to a longer lasting relationship!

    • Mallie Hart says:

      Absolutely, Judy. There's nothing wring with admitting to a weakness, especially when you can make a referral and make the client and a collaborator happy!

  10. Kerry Armour says:

    I hear ya! I've got one client that totally needs to be fired. I'm working my self up to it. They provide me a lot of referral biz, but yikes what a pain in the patooty to deal with!!!!!

  11. Mallie Hart says:

    If the referral business is good, you may have to weigh the pros and cons. However, if they refer people who act in the same "wrong" fashion, fire posthaste!

  12. Jen Walker says:

    I absolutely agree. I fired two clients last year after months of struggling with working with them. it took me a long time to realize it was okay to fire a client, but wow, it was amazing how my days felt better and more productive without those clients!

    • Mallie Hart says:

      It can be quite hard to make the decision to JUST DO IT and fire a client, but MAN oh MAN…it feels wonderful to let go and be able to direct that time and energy to something more enjoyable and profitable.

  13. Fantastic article, Mallie! I love how you tackle some tough subjects! I think we all have come across undesirable situations.

    • Mallie Hart says:

      Tough subjects allow my snark to shine, Robin. LOL. If no one tackles the tough subjects they remain taboo and then they gain a negative importance that can make it nearly impossible to discuss and change.

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