Don’t Fire Your Client Just Yet.

I had an editing client that I was considering getting rid of. (Don’t worry, not mafia style.)

She was very particular about her writing and was only letting me make the smallest of edits. I honestly felt like my talents were being wasted because she didn’t really listen to any of the things I had to say.

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to let her go as my client.

I wasn’t doing the work I was meant to do, and more importantly, I wasn’t happy.

I could have fired her any number of times, but I kept holding on.

At first I wasn’t sure why I kept going. Then it dawned on me; I never actually told her why I wanted to make certain edits, or how it could benefit her business in the long run.

I just did the editing and bitched about it.

Until I finally spoke to her.

I told her the reasons behind certain choices I made, and how it would affect her business, and make her a better writer.

And y’know what?

She fucking listened.

Because I communicated to her.

Because I didn’t hold back.

Because I made a list of every thing that I thought could be made better, and I went through them with her one by one.

There was a reason why she hired me to edit her work, and if I was frustrated because she wouldn’t listen, maybe it was because I wasn’t actually clear about why I wanted to change certain aspects of her writing in the first place.

In the end, she and I both want the exact same thing; for her to be able to take her business to the next fucking level.

So let’s do that, you and I.

Let’s be clear in our client communication. Let’s be clear about what we want, and what we need from our clients so they know what to expect.

You’re the boss. You’re the expert that your client hired. And if you can’t make recommendations because you’re afraid they won’t listen, or if you’re impotent with frustration because your client likes things a certain way? (Heh. I just said impotent.)

Maybe it’s because you’re not being clear enough. Specific enough.

Maybe they need to know exactly why this specific change you want to make to their writing, or their business model, or their blog will make it bigger and better in the long run.

Who is your client than someone you have been hired to help?

Let’s help our clients by being more clear in our communication, shall we?

So I spoke to my client. I told her why I wanted to change certain things. I explained to her why tightening up certain phrases in her blog would be better for her business.

I made suggestions, and told her that I’m on board with her vision, the message she is trying to convey to her people, and that I want to help be a part of it.

And she listened.

Because we both want her business to be the best her business can be.

When your client feels like you’re completely on board with their vision, when you’re behind them one thousand fucking percent, they’ll respect the changes you want to make to their vision so that their business can thrive.

And if they don’t? Well, maybe then you can consider firing them.

Are you contemplating firing your client? Have you ever fired someone?

I’d love to hear in the comments if maybe it had something to do with a communication breakdown.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Nat, Website Superhero

    “Let’s be clear in our client communication” — YES. Such a key. Wrote about this in at least 2 blog posts. Breakdowns in communication are what wreak havoc in pro-client relationships. Great post.

    • nathalie poulin

      Thanks so much! It’s tough because people get frustrated and really all you have to do is be honest!

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