Wondering if it’s time to let go of a client? We’ve been there, and we’re here to guide you through this difficult question.
If you’re reading this it most likely means you’ve reached a certain point of growth in your business. You can let go of a client without being afraid of what comes next. Congratulations! To have been resilient, gained clients you love, and be in a place where you’re asking yourself, “what’s next?” is a huge accomplishment. We’re so proud of you!
As you’ve grown your business, chances are your values have shifted, your brand has evolved, and your ideal client isn’t the same as what it was when you first started out. That’s okay. In fact, that’s great! Moving forward and evolving along the way is a sign of a successful business.
So now the awkward part. Your business has grown and changed and one of your long-term clients no longer feels like a good fit. You may be on the fence as to whether or not you should let go of a client. We’re here to help. We’ve been in your shoes, and we know how difficult it can be to even consider letting go of a client you have loved working with over the years.
8 Signs it’s Time to Let Go of a Client
To help you make this big decision, we’ve compiled 8 signs it’s time to let go of a client.
1. Your Client Won’t Pay Your New Rate
One of the first signs it’s time to let go of a client is if your rates are going up and your client can no longer afford you. It’s completely natural that your rates go up, and they should over time.
If your client can afford your new rate, ask yourself whether or not they value you enough to pay this new rate. It’s important to own your worth and ask to be paid accordingly for it. If your client does not value your time or expertise, then it’s time to end the relationship. You’ve got to own your worth, girl!
2. Your Client Doesn’t Respect You
Is your client always contacting you on weeknights and weekends? While this is acceptable from time to time, if you have a client who doesn’t respect your time then it may be a sign you need to let that client go.
Perhaps your client is always asking you to do things that are really outside of your scope of practice. Or they may not respect your team and treat them as subordinates.
Whatever the reason for a lack of respect may be, it’s vital that your client respects and values you, your business, and your team.
3. Your Client Doesn’t Value Your Expertise
Have a client who micromanages you? Yep, you know the one. While your client is the expert in their industry, you are the expert in doing what you do. Your clients should value your knowledge and expertise by listening to your advice, especially when it comes to strategy.
If you offer recommendations and your client doesn’t listen, but then they blame you for poor results, then it’s a telltale sign that it’s time to let that client go.
4. Your Client’s Values Don’t Align
When you first started your business and were eager for clients, you may not have known who your ideal client was, or you may have had some sort of idea, but needed any client who would hire you at the time. By now you’ve narrowed in on exactly who your dream client is, and chances are, some of your long-term clients may no longer fit that mold.
It’s important to work with your ideal client who shares the same values as your business. Doing so will lessen the chance of landing a problem client.
5. Your Client isn’t Enjoyable to Work With
Oftentimes we see businesses just power through and continue to work with a client they don’t particularly enjoy working with. Usually it’s because this client can pay their higher rate, or perhaps the client looks good on their portfolio. Maybe the client even shares the same values, but they are just difficult to deal with.
Regardless of why you’ve been keeping this client around, remember that you didn’t start your business to be unhappy doing what you’re doing. All the more reason to cut ties and find clients who reignite your passion for doing what you do.
6. Your Client Doesn’t Pay You on Time
While every once in a while things just come up and payments don’t arrive on time, if your client consistently sends in late payments—or even worse—threatens to not pay if something isn’t done a certain way or by a certain time, then it’s time to let them go.
You are running a business and managing a team. Not only are late payments stressful for you, but they are unacceptable from clients, especially from those who question every invoice.
7. Your Client is a Bit High Maintenance
We know you have a handful of clients and always do your best to deliver your work in a timely manner. But if you have a client who demands immediate responses and is blowing up your phone every single day, this could be a red flag that you’ve got a high maintenance client.
Other signs of a high maintenance client may include requiring revision after revision or needing updates on a daily basis on how things are going. High maintenance clients usually take up more time than you can realistically give them, and you end up spending that time typing messages or reassuring them on phone calls. It’s not worth your time, and they likely don’t value you or your business. Better to cut ties and find a more trustworthy client who lets you take the reins on what you do best.
8. Your Client has a Negative Mindset
You may have overlooked this sign, or not have even noticed this about your client. If your client has a scarcity mindset, often has negative remarks, or is generally small-minded, this may be affecting your mindset too. If you feel down after speaking with a client, or if you feel worse about your business, it may be time to let them go. No client should leave you questioning whether or not you are good at what you do.
Letting go of a client is one of the toughest challenges you will face as a business owner, but doing so for any of the reasons listed above will be the right choice. You will be freed up to accept new clients who are a better fit for your business, and you will grow personally and professionally from this experience. We are cheering you on, and we know you can do this!
Interested in discovering more ways to grow personally and professionally? Check out these words of wisdom from our Founder Keisha in 5 Tips to Becoming a Better Version of Yourself.