A couple of months ago, I fired a client.
Not in the ‘come into my office, I’ve got some bad news’ style of firing either.
No, it was short and to the point. I effectively said, ‘I’ll refund your money, don’t contact me again’.
I was paid to run a marketing campaign to generate new leads for the business, but the owner systematically undermined every decision I made. In doing so, I was backed into a corner where I wasn’t able to do my job, so I couldn’t get results.
More than once, the client approved marketing campaigns then a week later, decided she was no longer happy with them and wanted them re-written. She had us treading water at step one for the entire time we were working together. We were never going to get results.
But that’s not why I ended our working relationship.
Two days earlier, I emailed the client and indicated I was frustrated that I wasn’t being given the freedom to do my job. I explained, in detail, why I felt this way and made recommendations as to how we could progress.
In response, I received barrage of abuse. I didn’t even read the email in its entirety because it was clear I was on the receiving end of a data dump from a micromanager who couldn’t handle being questioned.
I replied stating I was terminating our contract, effective immediately.
You see, I don’t care who you are or how much you’ve paid me… I don’t put up with abuse.
I used to. In fact, in my previous job, I put up with being micromanaged, manipulated and stabbed in the back for 9 months. It wasn’t until I dreaded going to work the minute I opened my eyes, that I decided enough was enough and handed in my resignation. This time, I’m proud to say I actively worked with this client for just a few weeks.
I would have dealt with this situation a lot differently just 3 years ago. In the past I’d likely have read every word, then carefully crafted my own barrage of abuse in response.
But it would have fallen on deaf ears because you can’t force someone to change their views or their behaviour. Once I’d hit ‘send’, I would have been an anxious wreck, scared to check my email in fear of receiving another response, likely dripping with obnoxious hatred.
I’d have given my power away in pursuit of an unwinnable argument.
Now, I value ME too much.
I am proud to be the bigger person because it protects me from the stress, anxiety and worry that comes with reacting to the anger of others. I also maintain the power to implement consequences, like ending a working relationship if it’s the best decision for me.
So now, when I recognise my anxiety rising or steam coming out of my ears, I actively take my power back by removing the causes of the stress.
You see, to be a good business owner; in fact, to be a productive member of society, I need my sanity, my self-esteem and my sleep.
For those three things, you cannot pay me enough to have the right to take them away. I need all three of those things more than I will ever need anyone’s money, and I will not give them away no matter how much they offer, or how much I’m pressured to do so.
You need them too.
As for the money I had to refund, sure my bank balance took a hit. But emotionally, I am in a place where I know I can get results for current and future clients because I no longer have a cloud of anxiety hovering over my head. The minute I fired this client, I felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. That night, I slept like a log.
When you prioritise your mental health, you’ll be able to get more clients and do your best work.
While you can’t control the thoughts, feelings and actions of others, you do control the doors of your life. You know the door with a neon green exit sign atop it? You can ask anyone to leave at any time. Doing so for the people who deserve it, is treating yourself with dignity and respect.
So, if there are arrogant, disrespectful, rude or hateful people in your life…
When you fire disrespectful, rude, arrogant or nasty clients; you’ll feel better too.
Because it doesn’t matter how much you pay me, I will not trade my happiness for dollars.
You shouldn’t either.
In my mind, it just doesn’t make sense.