How to Move Past Customers Who Don’t Serve You Well
“I hate working with this client”, said one of the agency owners I’m consulting said to me the other day. “Being around them just drains us of energy. They make my teams feel miserable. This isn’t what I want for my business!”
“So, why do you keep doing this?”, I asked.
“Well, they pay us well, Sonya”.
And I get it! I’ve been there too. They pay so well, they keep us safe. This financial security leaves us feeling warm and fuzzy month after month.
But! (there is always a but) Have you ever considered that what keeps you safe in your business actually keeps you stuck?
Think about this one thing. What is it that makes you and your team hate this relationship?
Let’s dig deeper here. What are your client’s expectations? Do they need status reports every morning to make sure you are busy and fully utilized? Do they want you to estimate each and every piece of work to make sure you deliver on time!? Do they micromanage every single person in your team killing every opportunity to build a self-managed, highly motivated and engaged workforce?
Now, I want you to remember your why. Why did you start this company? Did you want to trade time for dollars? Or maybe, you wanted to improve time by having more headcounts? Is this your purpose? Is this what your business is all about?
Now, if the answer to any of these questions is no, you my friend are in the right place.
Today, we’re going to talk about why you feel stuck with the customers that don’t serve you well and how to move past that feeling of unfulfillment. We’re going to talk about moving the needle in your business, to a point where you’re inspired and excited to keep driving forward.
Getting Uncomfortable Is The Key To Success
Let me tell you something I wish someone had told me years ago. If you don’t get uncomfortable, you won’t ever move to the next level. I full-heartedly believe this. If you do not get uncomfortable, you will not move forward in your business.
Let me give you an example of what I personally experienced a few months ago.
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know that we created our Sustainable Predictability program. Back in September 2021, I decided that I wanted to prerecord the content. So I brought in a video crew to my house for five days to record all the modules and lessons in the program direct-to-camera.
I would be on camera. I would teach the lessons. I would make the workbooks more substantial, robust and action-oriented. With this program, everything in my business was being taken to a new level.
I knew that I could serve hundreds of thousands of managers with it. This business model allowed me to provide immense help to leaders who are struggling to deliver on their commitments. And that wouldn’t be possible with our initial one-on-one value proposition. I knew that it would get people amazing results, I saw the opportunity here.
Now, I got to record the whole thing. I brought the film crew in. I got really uncomfortable because it was very expensive, very time-consuming, and it took over my house.
My poor family. I’m glad that the kids were occupied playing with our new puppy Vigor (he is amazing!)
Poor Hristo! He had nowhere to go for these five days. And he could tell I was stressed! I had never done that much direct-to-camera video recording before. Still, even though it felt uncomfortable, I knew I had to show up every day because I knew I was ready to take my business to the next level.
So here is my question to you. What is it that you want for your business? Are you bold enough to move away from what you’re doing now? Do you want to say no to this client who slows you down, and so free up space to onboard other clients who would respect and appreciate everything you are doing? Or maybe you want to take the next step and transition to a different value proposition? Whatever it is, you’ll have to get uncomfortable.
What’s Keeping You Safe is What’s Keeping You Stuck
What does getting uncomfortable actually look like? Well, it often looks like letting go of what is keeping you safe. What kept me safe were a bunch of one-on-one clients that were generating over $100,000 a month.
Here is the kicker. We no longer provide one-on-one services!
There is a limit on my time and ability to serve people one-on-one. And I know that I can bring more value and serve hundreds of thousands of managers who are struggling to deliver on their commitments using this new strategy.
I can take the business to the next level by moving from one-on-one coaching to providing a digital course that exposes literally everything I know when it comes to building predictable workflows.
Are we going to achieve the same revenue goals? I’m confident that we can even exceed them. Yes, it will take some time but it will certainly happen.
I know my why! I know that I can deliver immense value and help managers optimize their processes, build a culture of trust, support and appreciation, and deliver on their commitments without working 24/7. In fact, you can achieve these results by only working 4 days per week, 6 hours per day. And if I can do this, so can you!
My point is, the one-on-one service we were selling, I had to retire it. I couldn’t do our digital program and provide one-on-one support at the same time. I would stretch myself too thinly. I would never commit to this new vision all-in.
So, are you ready to retire from this draining relationship and take your business to the next level?
If You Want to Take the Island, Burn the Boats
If you want your business to thrive, if you want your team to be happy, motivated and engaged, if you want your company to be a great place to work in, you should ask yourself: is it worth continuing to force the relationship with this client only to receive that paycheck at the end of the month? Is it worth the sacrifice?
You have to burn the boats and storm the island.
I’m not saying that you have to fire the customers that don’t suit you well today. I’m suggesting that you find a date on your calendar, even if it’s a year from now and you say, “This is the day that I let go of this client because I want to create a business that fits my values!”.
So, here is your action item: Set a date on your calendar when you’ll burn the boats and storm this island. Set a date on your calendar when you’ll no longer work with this client.
That means you won’t look back. And you won’t be tempted to still keep that client on part-time. You fire them on the date you set on your calendar. Full stop.
You have to let go of the things that keep you safe but no longer serve you well. You have to get uncomfortable! Burn the boats and storm the island!
I get very passionate about this because I’ve lived it. I took baby steps and I’ve come out on the other side and you, my friend, can do it as well.
If you’re feeling like you’re not where you want to be, you need to have a plan to let it go. So how do you get there?
You need a roadmap that will help you stay resilient regardless of who you work with. It will help you build the systems that you need to deliver results in a consistent predictable manner.
And if you want to take this one step further, join me in our masterclass the 3 Little-Known Mistakes Most Managers Make When Building Predictable Workflows (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, I will show you how to get started on building your systems and how to avoid the most common pitfalls you’ll come across. I hope to see you there!
And, if you have an entrepreneurial friend who’s struggling to let go of the clients who don’t serve them well, please share this article with them! My goal is to help leaders hit their targets consistently. So, I’d be forever grateful if you spread the word.
And with that, I want to thank you for your time. I’ll see you next week, same time, same place, for more managerial goodness. Have a wonderful week!
Meet the Author
Sonya Siderova is a passionate product manager and a driving force behind Nave, a Kanban analytics suite that helps teams improve their delivery speed through data-driven decision making. When she's not catering to her two little ones, you might find Sonya absorbed in a good heavyweight boxing match or behind a screen crafting a new blog post.