Those of you who’ve been following my adventures for a while now know that I’m usually on the receiving end of the firings. Not this time baby! That’s right – I fired a client. My first time and it felt damn good.
And I did it without burning bridges.
Oh, a little diplomacy. Winston Churchill is quoted as having said “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.” So yeah, I used a little tact.
And here’s the thing. The client wasn’t a jerk. It’s just we were bad at communicating with each other and I learned my lesson. Never assume anything about a client-relationship. Get everything in writing if you can so I know exactly what I will deliver and how much I will get paid.
In my defense, I was in love with his business model!
It prevented me from seeing straight. He had great intentions, wasn’t a snake oil salesman, and definitely had the technical and procedural know-how to get business owners organised and ready to scale. God knows small business owners need a little structure and order and this guy is just the ticket.
He was no marketer and didn’t understand how to value copywriting. He’d been paying someone to write articles for $5 and they were God awful. So he thought I could edit them to make them decent. Well, no. I couldn’t really because I didn’t know the subject matter to begin with and couldn’t simply breathe focus and structure into these sloppy pieces.
Oh and here’s the kicker. He wasn’t gonna pay me.
Instead, he offered me a contra. His time for mine.
I was like – OK fair.
Until I discovered it wasn’t really his time he was offering. He was only offering me a seat at his fortnightly training sessions he ran. Umm, so I was to be a rent-a-crowd and give up 3.25 hours of my precious time per month.
Sorry, I wasn’t born yesterday.
So I was up front with him. I told him straight up that he had no appreciation for high quality content, was not concerned with quality and as such he could never properly value me. I couldn’t build my copywriting practice with someone who placed absolutely no $ against my precious time.
So there you have it. Never work with people who don’t see the value of what you do.
I didn’t burn my bridges either because though he couldn’t see my value, I could see his. My heart went out to him and I featured him on my Instagram feed, writing a delicious piece of copy talking about his strengths and what he’s got to offer to the microbusinesses in the Lower North Shore.
A hint though – don’t take marketing advice from him.
Need business storytelling + strategy? Come to me instead. Get him to help you with your business processes and structuring your business.