I fired a client, a tale of time management

“I will never catch up, not until I’m dead”. – former employer of mine.

“Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few”- Robert A. Heinlein

Today will be our last meeting.

Last week, I fired a client. Later, discussing my decision with a friend and trusted adviser, she asked me if it was wise to walk away from someone that provided steady revenue for my company. It does seem counter intuitive for any business owner to walk away from a customer and revenue, doesn’t it? Prior to having the meeting with my client where I told them I would no longer be their coach, I had spent a lot of time analyzing my reasoning for wanting to make the break. “There’s a lot of reasons why firing this client was the right decision, but what it really comes down to is one thing: time management.”, I told her.

When I originally formed my company, I laid out my financial, personal and professional goals. Based on those goals, I came up with the strategy that I felt would best help me achieve them. I knew I wanted to work with companies and independent professionals who were growing their businesses and truly wanted help with the challenges and hurdles they would face. I knew I wanted to make a certain amount of money, and made my quarterly revenue goals, tracking them carefully. I wanted to have more time to spend with my family AND I wanted the time I spent working with clients to be as enjoyable as possible.

While working with this former client was helping my revenue goal, it was falling very short on my other goals. I found myself not happy to go there. They did not want to grow and learn, but continually found excuses to stifle change, ignore data, blame their employees and their customers for every bump in the road. I spent a considerable amount of time working with this client and their team, with very few measurable results. While working with this client, I had not been able to work with a different client because of the time I was investing into them!

Walking out that door, I felt elated. Free. Like I was walking away from an explosion without flinching or looking back. Yes, I was going to have to fill that spot in my client roster, but I knew that I would find a client that would truly benefit from what I had to offer.

I don’t just want a company that makes money. I want a company that makes money, helps people and is fun! I’m not using good time management skills if I’m working on things that only contribute to one of my goals. I started to look through my calendar to see what else I could say “no” to, so I could make some room for what is important.

The bottom line (tldr):

  • I fired a client because they weren’t benefiting from my coaching and it was no fun.
  • If I didn’t have clear goals and a strategy (measured regularly), I probably would still be working with them and hating it.
  • Hold your daily activities up against your goals and priority list once in a while.
  • Get rid of what doesn’t fit to make room for what does fit. Life is too short.
  • Time Management is more than just saying “no” to things that aren’t working, but it’s a good start.
  • Need help with refining your time management process? Let’s get started!