When I decided to return to school to get my MBA, 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! It was dawning on me that I couldn’t afford to continue giving away five hours a week! Going back to school was a big time commitment and when I realized this, my mind-set began to shift. I recognized it was not a good idea for me to continue working 8 hours for 3 hours of pay.
But wait. I counted on that income. It paid my mortgage. What if I didn’t replace it?
That’s the fear, both mine and yours. It’s the hurdle we need to overcome and overcome it we must. Here is my testimonial: When I quit working with the 8 hour a week client and opened up the space for something different to happen, better clients began filling my calendar!” Better clients meaning clients who were paying my full rate, which allowed me to work less and make more money. This was substantiated when I actually made more money the two years I was in school than I had the four years prior!
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 often resist making changes in our client base. Even when someone is not a good match, if we can count on them paying us a certain amount of money, we tend to stay committed to that relationship.
Start with the basics.
– If clients don’t pay, don’t pay on time, or always complain about the cost, these should be the first to go.
– Let go of the clients who don’t respond to you in a timely manner or your requests for information/participation are ignored.
– Evaluate how many clients you have paying a reduced fee and decide who you want to serve at that rate and who needs to pay your current rate or move on.
– Are you attracting better clients and charging higher rates but you have clients who aren’t moving forward with you? Consider how you might invite them into your current loop or move them towards the door.
– When we realize the value of our time, our time becomes more valuable to everyone. Consider letting go of the people and situations that hold you back—they aren’t serving your best interests.