I just wanted to share an experience that I had this week. I've been doing online work for local businesses now fulltime for about 7 months, and up until this week I have been struggling with a rough issue.
When I took the leap from part-time internet marketer to full time, I did a big push to get as many offline clients as I could to help stabilize my income. This led to me bending over backwards for a few clients and agreeing to a few deals that I otherwise should have let go.
Most of my business focuses on internet marketing for local businesses, but back then I was also taking on some web design work.
Anyway, I've had this client with whom I agreed to redesign a website for them. They paid me $500. I should have asked for much more basd on what they wanted, but I was stupid and wanted another client (they were reluctant to pay that much).
So I figured that no matter how much work it was, I could push through it and be done in a month or two, like we agreed. Wrong!
Six months later the website is only 1/5 done! They send me 1 to 2 pages a week. It is ridiculous. And they keep requesting redesigns on the site which are taking up my time like crazy. It is incredibly frustrating to deal with them. They will send content with mistakes in it, and if I correct them, sometimes they wanted it the wrong way, while other times they don't understand why I didn't correct them. Ugh!
In the meantime, my business has evolved and I'm now charging clients 5x what I was when I started, and totally focusing on marketing.
This client was killing me, and sucking my time out!
I didn't see a way out, I figured that this was just going to be a problem for me until it was resolved. Then I talked to a few peers and was surprised to learn that it is actually okay to "fire" a client.
Fire is a strong word, this was more a termination of our agreement. I refunded my client 100% of what they paid me.
Yeah, that part sucked, because I've already put so much work into their site, but I didn't deliver the end result. I could blame them for that, but I didn't. I just want to move on.
Yes, I know I could have went in and asked for more money, laid down ground rules, etc., etc. But the point is I don't want to do this work anymore.
Also, let's say if this took another three months, I could either continue to be pulled down by them or continue my focus on pushing my business forward.
I have learned a lot from this lesson, and certainly won't be getting into those types of situations again. My strengths are marketing, and I will stay far away from taking major web design projects. I don't know how to price things, I don't know how to limit clients to redesign ideas, and so forth.
I screwed up, I didn't play to my strengths. I should have had a firmer contract. All things I see now.
Anyway, I just wanted to share. I feel a bit bad that things didn't work out with my client, but I am so relieved to have it off my shoulders.