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Clients — And how to let them go?

how to let clients go

I am seriously not the one to think clients are the worst. I’ve had great experiences, I’ve had those I don’t remember anymore and I’ve had those that will stay with me for the rest of my life (while trying to forget). Come to think of it, clients are something like lovers.

Listening to my colleagues and friends at the office recently and overhearing their conversations with clients, I’ve noticed a pattern in behavior. I can guarantee that only 5% of people we work with are realistic, respectful, know how to say „thank you“ and ask for something in a polite and civilized manner.

The other 95% though…

„We are aware that we didn’t send you the pictures of the product, but why are they not on the website? “

„I know your estimate was five days, but could you possibly make it in two? “

“I know we haven’t given you feedback for two weeks but the deadline must stay the same. “

I am constantly killing myself trying to educate my clients and explain to them that time and space cannot bend and that if we said that something can’t be done in two days, it just can’t. And in the process, I become bitter and angry, always asking myself how it came to that. It’s like at some point your short-term memory disappears and you forget that the stove is hot, so you must put your hand on it, just to make sure.

I’ve been burned a lot of times. I’ve got grey hairs to prove it and I probably won’t live to see my 65th birthday, but just the other day, while observing my colleagues fighting the same battle over and over again, it occurred to me.

Like everything else in life — you need to let them go.

Clients, I mean, not your colleagues.

Like friends who make you uncomfortable, like your husbands and partners who you argue with most of the time. Why should it be different with clients? I know, I know… you can’t quit your job just like that or simply ditch a client. It’s not a breakup but a rather different mindset.

Don’t get me wrong, I love hard work and I don’t mind working 12 hours a day, it’s not about that. It’s about learning to let go of things in your life and making peace with your decision. We are so afraid of saying ‘no’ that we sometimes forget it can open new opportunities and bring change.

It means you shouldn’t get angry with a client who always calls you while you’re in a meeting. You shouldn’t lose it when someone sends you 25 e-mails about the same topic because they don’t give a rat’s ass about threads and organization. You should simply — let them go.

Let’s get one thing straight: you will never find the perfect client. The one who texts you before calling to check if it’s OK, the one who doesn’t text you at 11 PM on a Friday, or the one who sends e-mails in threads, with clear subjects. But you can find decent people who you enjoy working with, you can focus on them and cherish them as your clients.

Just remember — be yourself. Ask for tasks to be specified and don’t allow to be bullied just because they’re the ones who pay you. Ask for things to be done properly and make peace with the fact that they probably won’t change much, but you can.

Work on yourself.

This doesn’t mean you don’t need to work with them. It just means you don’t have to be angry when they call you at an improper time or when they send you an e-mail without a subject again. Don’t let it bother you. Because they are going to call you tomorrow and the day after and all you can do for your own sake is accept it.

And make a note to choose your clients more wisely next time.