Is It Time to Say Goodbye to Your Current Client?


Running a business is an act of faith, especially when you think it might be time to say goodbye to a current client you’ve outgrown.

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Successful business owners are like trapeze artists. We reach out across the void, making leaps from one place to another, with complete faith that we’re going to make it to the other side.

Here’s the thing:

As much as we may feel beholden to our clients, I want you to remember that you are running the show. You’re in charge of carving out creative time for your business. And you have an obligation to yourself to ensure that your business works for you.

This means that every so often, it’s important to review your current client list and think about releasing the clients who aren’t serving you anymore.

How do you know when it’s time to say goodbye to a client? 

Whether or not it’s time to say goodbye to a client depends on whether you offer services or products.

Let’s take a look at each.

If you offer services

Writers with service-based businesses should continually upgrade the quality of the clients they serve.

In the early days of your business, you take whatever work you can.

But as your skills and results improve, you’ll enjoy your work more if you find clients who challenge you.

Plus, you can charge more for challenging work, so upgrading the quality of your clients leads to an upgrade in revenue, too.

At least once a year, take a look at your client roster and watch for the red flags below.

  • They don’t respect your time.
  • They minimize your efforts.
  • Their work isn’t challenging anymore.
  • They’re paying your old rate — and won’t pay more.

Any client who falls into these categories is someone you should consider replacing as you build a better money-making online offer. (More on how to do that later in this article.)

If you offer products

Writers with product-based businesses may need to serve different audiences as their skills grow.

In the early days of your business, you may have created products that solved simple challenges.

But as your skills grow, your products can solve more complex challenges.

The more complex and valuable your solution, the more you can charge for your product. Upgrading the quality of your clients leads to an upgrade in revenue, too.

At least once a year, take a look at your client roster and watch for the red flags below.

  • Your clients like your product because it’s inexpensive.
  • Your clients buy your product — but they don’t use it or get results.
  • Your clients ask you for discounts — even though your product is reasonably priced.
  • Your clients default on the payment plans they committed to.

Any client who falls into these categories is someone you should consider replacing. (More on how to do that later in this article.)

You’re worth it, so make magic

It’s not easy to think about saying goodbye to a client, especially one you’ve worked hard to acquire.

But letting go makes magic happen.

Here’s a story that illustrates this.

Yolanda is a copywriter who got her start writing product descriptions for ecommerce businesses in the beauty industry.

In the early days, she charged $50 an hour. In one hour, she could research, draft, and polish three product descriptions.

$50 for 3 descriptions = $16.66/description

By her second year, she was writing six product descriptions in the same amount of time.

To ensure she was compensated fairly as her skills and output increased, Yolanda raised her hourly rate to $100 an hour.

$100 for 6 descriptions = $16.66/description

She explained to her clients that they would pay the exact same amount per description, but they’d get their copy back in half the time.

She also shared that she’d invested in additional training and was now able to offer copywriting help for sales pages and email promotions.

(Go, Yolanda — way to sell it!)

Her clients understood and were thrilled for her, except for the owner of AloeFace. 

Ben nearly coughed up his bullet coffee when he saw Yolanda’s email.

He wrote her back:

“Yolanda, I’m disappointed.

When we first met 18 months ago, I took a chance on you. I gave you paid work, even though you didn’t have much experience.

Now, you want to double your prices — why should I pay that?”

Bye, Ben

Ben doesn’t appreciate Yolanda’s skills. He wants her to stay in her “beginner” box, even when she’s gained experience.

Yolanda realizes that Ben is no longer a good fit. But the revenue his work brings in? That will leave a void.

Still, Yolanda knows she’s worth more. 

She knows she needs to create a vacuum. She needs to create space so a better client can come along to fill it.

Yolanda takes a deep breath and responds to Ben’s email.

“Ben, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

You’re right — you took a chance on me. I will always appreciate that.

I won’t be able to work with you after our current project, which I’ll invoice at my old rate.

Many thanks for your trust.

All the best,

Yolanda”

This is where the magic happens

Running a business is an act of faith — faith in yourself, your abilities, and your future.

When you act as your own best advocate, releasing clients who are no longer a good fit on a regular basis, something amazing happens.

Here’s how it plays out:

  • You muster up the courage to let your client go — and it feels terrible.
  • You worry and wonder about your future for hours, days, and sometimes weeks.
  • You meet — as if by magic — a much better client.
  • It dawns on you that if you’d never let your old client go, you wouldn’t have been able to serve your new, better client.

I can’t explain this — sorry.

But this “make space for something better” is such a reliable phenomenon, I encourage my own clients to do this for themselves on a regular basis.

If you’re feeling underappreciated and underpaid, review the red flags listed above. If the source of the discomfort is a specific client, it might mean you’ve outgrown that client.

If that’s the case, have faith and reach out across the void.

It’s scary, yes. 

The only way to find a new, better prospect is to take a deep breath and say goodbye to your current client.

Make the leap and you’ll see that on the other side there’s a better client waiting. 

That client will love your work, pay your full price, and fully appreciate everything you’ve invested in building your skills.



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