Your time is worth a lot! Don’t waste it on clients who suck.

lemon-treeAnd by that I mean: suck your time, suck your energy, and suck the joy out of your work. When I decided to return to school, reality—in the form of needing large blocks of time—came flooding in. In trying to figure out where to get those blocks of time, I realized I had a client I spent a lot of time with every week—but that client didn’t pay my regular rate. I had spent 8 hours a week with this client for the past four years, making about the same as I did working 3 hours for my other clients.

That’s five hours! I can’t afford to give away five hours! My mind-set shifted and I recognized it was impossible for me to continue.

But wait. I count on that income. What if I don’t replace it?

That’s the fear, of course. What happened when I opened up that space was that something else—better clients—filled it. The proof is that I just had my best financial quarter since I started this business.

Here’s the lesson: When you realize the value of your time, your time becomes more valuable to everyone. Let go of the things and people that hold you back—they aren’t serving your best interests.

It’s really hard for us to let go of that which is known and comfortable, whether or not it’s a good fit. We tend to be resistant to making changes in our client base. Even if someone is not a good match, if we can count on a certain amount of money, we tend to be committed to that relationship.

How do you know if your client is not a good fit? One common scenario is that your business is shifting: bigger clients, higher rates, and yet you have a client who isn’t moving forward with you. You’re still giving them a discounted rate.

Can you differentiate between your ideal client and the client who isn’t right for you? The best way to do this is to define your ideal client. You can do that with this worksheet.

And then look at your list with honesty and commitment. Divide your list up into (1) perfect clients, (2) okay clients, and (3) clients to resign.

You know the next step. If you find yourself unable to take that step, give me a call at (707) 665-5410 or e-mail me at