Trust Your Gut. Fire the Client.
I realize that title sounded a little harsh, but I know someone out there needed to hear it.
If you've been in business for yourself for any length of time, you've likely learned a lot about who you like to work with and who makes your life miserable.
I know I've learned this lesson myself. In the beginning, it was painful. Now, I'm starting to recognize the traits that will make my professional life (and, therefore, life in general) a living hell. And I'm quick to walk away.
A few months ago, I came close to not trusting my intuition. I took on a client that I immediately regretted. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind (and confidence in my business) to walk away within a week. I knew that I would never win with this person. I knew he was not who I wanted to work with.
In stark contrast, I happened to take on someone who WAS my ideal client that same week. That helped me make that decision quicker.
Here's what I've learned about walking away from a toxic client relationship:
I usually know even before the contract is signed that this person is not for me. If I find myself stalling on creating the contract...it's likely my gut is telling me not to take them on.
Self-awareness is key. I know that I'm a sensitive, creative person who likes to collaborate. I believe in ENJOYING my work. I don't want a client to be the main thing I talk about in therapy.
I'm borrowing this from a client of mine:
In other words...is the client worth YOUR time??? Trust your gut.
If I find myself dreading every scheduled phone call with this person or if I feel like I'm having a panic attack when I see an email from them...it might be time to walk away.
I got in trouble for saying this in a Mastermind group, but I'm living my truth on this one. I LOVE The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. I'm a full-on Obliger and I've realized that working with a Questioner is not a good fit for me. I don't mind answering questions, but I don't feel comfortable with being questioned every step of the way.
As I write this blog, I'm thinking about a proposal I sent out just this morning. Do I really want to work with this person? The fact that I'm already wondering this makes me think I might not. And it's MUCH EASIER to recognize this from the beginning rather than try to extricate yourself from the relationship in six months.