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Consulting Series: Dumping a Client

We've all bee on both ends of this...right?

I decided to start my own consulting business because I wanted to work for myself, to be my own boss etc.... It's such a great feeling to know I'm steering my own ship.

I also enjoy the feeling of being a problem solver for an organization. I like to know that when clients reached out to me, that I was able to make a positive difference and in the process cultivate a good working relationship with them.

Why would you drop an existing client?

Let me preface this by saying that as a consultant, my reputation is everything. I always make it a point to remain professional with all my clients and deliver everything as promised.

Through out the years I've worked with all different types of organizations and people. All with varying corporate cultures and personalities. Because of these experiences I've grown to understand the types of clients I enjoy working for...and the ones I don't.

The List.

I have a continually growing list of what I call "ideal traits for clients". This acts as kind of a filter when working with potential and new clients.

I won't reveal my list, because this is something that will differ from person to person. Someone's ideal client may turn out to be a nightmare for someone else. With that being said, once you have determined a client to be less than ideal, how do you go about dealing with them?

The breakup.

No need to be awkward.

First thing is to determine whether or not you have any promised deliverables that the client is waiting on. Do everything in your power to finish the project as promised.

If they call you back to do more work, or you have an ongoing support contract with them it's time to communicate that you will no longer be able to work for them. This doesn't have to be awkward (you're a professional after all!). Simply tell them that your plate is currently full and that you will be short changing them if you continued to do business with them.

Also have a list of referrals handy so that you can pass that a long with them. This way you're leaving them with something to work with rather than just cutting them off completely.

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