Fire your client? You’ve gotta be kidding! If you’re like most freelance ESL teachers, you’re 100% focussed on attracting and keeping students. Firing a student or firing a client seems like the last thing you’d ever do, after all – you’ve busted your butt to get them in your door, right? But not all clients are worth hanging on to, no matter how hard you’ve worked to get them. Find out if it’s time to fire your client below!
It’s time to fire your client if they always pay late.
As a freelance teacher, there’s likely nothing more frustrating than trying to deal with a client who doesn’t pay when they say they will. We’ve all had them! I sure did – multiple times! They went from a student who only once didn’t pay me on the day he said he would, and I had to wait until the next class for my money, to a huge corporate client who delayed paying me for close to 45 days, when they had agreed to pay after 30. Then there was the time I was freelancing for a language school, and they didn’t pay our entire team of teachers for over a month and a half. Terrible! With the first example, though his one time payment mistake sent me home basically broke and feeling pretty down, was not a reason to stop working with him. Look for patterns. You’ll know when you encounter them! That big corporate client that pushed me out 45 days made a habit out of it! In fact, it was their standard payment practice – delay, delay, and delay some more. They also willingly buried me in their ‘customer service’ department – sending me from one department to another without anyone able to give me answers. They NEVER paid me on time. If you work with large companies – usually those with over 300 employees, you’ll be more likely to encounter slow payments. Walk away. I promise you that there are more and better fish in the sea, though you’re likely feeling like you’ll never catch another one!
Fire Your Client If they Hog Your Time
A steady stream of calls, e-mails, meeting requests, excessive reporting requests – you find yourself being sucked into your client’s needs a little more each day – sometimes a lot more each day! You’ll find yourself overwhelmed with these clients to the point of not having time to effectively serve your other ones. Drop needy clients!
Fire Your Client if You Don’t Have Chemistry
You need to enjoy working with your students – I would even dare to say you must love it in order to really succeed with them! Working with a client you can’t stand just to get their payment will not last long. Eventually you’ll find yourself or them not wanting to continue. When there is no ‘spark’ or ‘energy’ in the class, when you find you just can’t make a great connection with them – you’ll find your interactions with them to be draining and hard. It’s time to say goodbye!
Fire Your Client If They Never Show Up
Even if you have a pay in advance policy in place, you don’t want to ever stay too long with a student who cancels too much. While having ‘free money’ come in is great, you need to read the writing on the wall: this student is going to wake up one day and figure out they are giving away their money, and it’s time to cut the class -leaving you, the faithful teacher, with a loss. Walk away from students who cancel too much – even if they are paying you right now. They WILL eventually stop, so you should do it on your terms. Besides – you love teaching, right? There are prospects out there HUNGRY for your awesomeness! Find them! Leave the cancel junkies behind!
Fire Your Client If They’re Too Far Away
You take more time to get to them than you actually spend teaching them. I had once class that was clear on the other side of Mexico City. It many times took me 2 hours or more to get there, and an hour and a half to return. I did this for WAY…WAY too long. Look at your schedule: how much time do you use commuting each day? Is the class worth that time? Are you making enough from it to cover your transport costs AND your teaching time? Good rule: don’t take classes that will require more travel time than teaching time. You’ll hate it, and it’s not worth it….unless they really pay you a lot of money for it…and maybe if you really enjoy working with them. But other than that….don’t do it.
There you have it. You should seriously consider walking away from clients who pay you late as a habit, who suck up all your time, who don’t ‘click’ with you, who never show up, and who are just too far away!
Get your very own ‘Is it time to fire my client’ checklist now! Just fill in your name and e-mail, and I’ll get it right to you!