We fired a client this week. This is unusual, so I thought I‘d spell out why we did so. “The Client” was referred to us by a friend and liked our experience, so we went live in short order, adhering to our 90-day plan (all new clients get a three month plan of deliverables, goals, and expected results). Within 30 days, they decided to stop advertising and re-group. 60 days later we went live again… for about 5 days. After another 60 days where the client rejiggered the site, we went live again… for about five days. After one more 60-days-offline, 5-days-on cycle, I called them and told them we could no longer work with them.
Rather than offer generalities about mismatched expectations or clients getting what they deserve, I thought I’d list the specific reasons we made this call: We didn’t make any money. We get paid to run a client’s advertising. When they’re not advertising, we don’t make any money. Because they kept stopping and starting, our total billing for them over the last 90 days was $350. Which is fine except… They didn’t spend enough to learn. Not hitting an ROI target isn’t bad news, if you’re learning things that will help you hit it next month. Being live for 5 out of every 60 days? Not going to get any learnings there. They were a time drain. They wanted to talk weekly while they were offline. This is also conceptually fine, but… They went in circles.
At first, the site was product focused. A revision zeroed in on the service aspect of the business. The third re-do was back to focusing on product. The fourth re-design was back to service. They wanted us to solve problems that we had nothing to do with, but didn’t give us the tools to do so. When they rebuilt their shopping cart in Shopify, there was a problem tracking sales in Analytics. Fine, this happens. They demanded that we fix this – we didn’t develop their Shopify integration, but fine, we can do that – but wouldn’t give us access to the system. So, between money, time concerns, not listening, circling back to old directions, unrealistic tech help expectations, and condescension, I think we made the right choice.