I Fired 17 Clients That Made Me Want To Vomit And I’ll Never Ever Look Back


 Greedy clients are rats. They always want more. They bite the hand that feeds them. They spread their fleas. They take everything we have.

Our time. Our energy. Our lives.

In my early days as a marketing consultant, my eyes started to sparkle every time a new client wanted to work with me. Just the thought that someone was willing to pay me for my work gave me butterflies.

I was young. I was innocent. I was naive.

Apparently, word of my work quickly spread, and the more I said yes, the more clients came knocking on my door. I remember telling my grandma about it — she told me I was the “smartest grandson” in the family.

It all felt so good — until it didn’t.

Before I could see it, I was (secretly) the most miserable grandson in the family. All the colors in my head departed. I felt like a dimmed light.

And it was my fault. I just couldn’t get myself to say no.

Toxic gambling company? Yes. Toxic petroleum company? Yes. A toxic company that owns the company? Yes.

It just didn’t feel good anymore.

It felt like I was enabling greedy people to make the world a worse place while the same greedy people made my world a worse place.

The painful 2:17 am phone calls. The world-destroying campaigns.The “yesterday” deadlines. The manipulative corporate email battles.

The miserable, miserable 2:17 am phone calls.

All because I didn’t know the power of a tiny two-letter word:

No.

Before I knew it, it felt like 17 toxic vampires had sucked the energy out of my soul — each in their own uniquely fucked up way.

One day I dragged my miserable ass down Market Street at 3:25 am after working a twenty-hour workday for a bunch of shitty clients that — thanks to a bunch of shitty NDAs — will forever remain nameless.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I was burned out.

I got into my car and made an emergency plan to change my life.

An escape button.

I categorized my 17 toxic clients into six sinful categories:

  1. Constant late payers
  2. Manipulative cockroaches
  3. Time wasting mosquitoes
  4. Control freaks
  5. World destroyers
  6. Cheap sheep

My frustrated fingers keyed out the six most relieving email templates they’ve ever written.

The next morning 17 emails went out and I got my freedom back.

Here they are for you to copy and paste to get rid of the toxic rats in your life.

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Email templates to save in case you need them

To make it as easy as possible to remove clients that don’t deserve you, I’ve broken the templates into three sections.

  • Intro
  • Reasoning
  • Outro

The templates will work whether you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, designer, or if you work in any other service-related profession.

Intro

Hi [client name],

I have an announcement that will most likely leave you in an awkwardly uncomfortable position.

After thoughtful consideration, I am no longer able to work on [project].

This intro has been carefully crafted after the FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss’ principals.

Prepare the client for the bad news, by intentionally labeling the feeling before delivering the bad news.

Why?

Humans need to brace themselves for the bad news.

Reasoning

For each category of toxic client, I build a specific reason that helped cure their toxins in your system.

If a client commits multiple sins. Run. And feel free to combine the reasons.

1. Constant late payers

Due to the repeated history of late payments, it has made continuing future projects financially infeasible at this time.

2. Manipulative cockroaches

After working together for [time period], I recognize that due to incompatible work processes, we’re simply not in the best position to help you reach your goals.

3. Time wasting mosquitoes

Due to the expansion of my business, I am no longer able to provide you with the time expected on this project.

4. Control freaks

After helping you make progress towards your goal of [goal], I have come to realize that due to the expansion of my business I am no longer able to provide the level of attention this delicate project requires.

5. World destroyers

Due to the nature of the project, I have come to realize that my values don’t morally align with [project]. For that reason I can no longer provide you with the services you need without negatively impacting my moral compass.

6. Cheap sheep

Due to the expansion of my business; it would be financially unrealistic to give the attention, time, and effort needed to continue working on this project.

Outro

Always keep your side clean by ending on a good note.

Kindly find all the resources we’ve worked on organized in the link below:

[link]

I wish you all the best going forward.

Warmly,

[Your name]

After I sent the 17 emails, I was scared. I committed my worst fear:

Saying no.

I turned off my phone and curled up in an emotional ball of tears.

All the rats were gone.

It felt like everything I worked so hard for fell apart — little did I know that 2 years later I would write an article deeming it one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I expected my world to fall apart. But it didn’t. Instead, the colors I once lost grew back into my head.

Not long thereafter new clients came knocking on the door, and instead of them qualifying me, I used my lessons learned to qualify them.

Sending these emails taught me to stop fearing taught me the most valuable lesson of my life.

A future with no fear starts when you don’t fear “no”.

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