“Know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run.” I don’t often quote a Kenny Rogers song but lately this little ditty has been running through my head.

It was just last month that I was pondering the best way to “hook” a client but the past few weeks I have been wondering the opposite, how to tactfully and graciously walk away from one?

Sometimes the signs are obvious that it’s time to say “see ya”, yet sometimes it’s a bit more difficult to pull together, and tactfully explain, the reasons why you need to break-up with them. There are a few clear-cut warning signs that may signal it’s time to say “it’s the end of the road”.

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’: You are doing work for a client that you aren’t head over heels for anymore.  Most every minute spent on their business is making you cranky. Whether it is the product you are pitching, the actual task of pitching the product, or in the majority of the time the client themselves, if it doesn’t float your boat anymore, it’s time to reevaluate.

Forget You: Money, it’s the root of so many failed relationships. Though it’s not all about the money, if you’re running a business it’s pretty clear, you need to be paid for your effort. If time and time again you find yourself bulldogging the client to pay your monthly invoice or they keep asking you to do more with no additional budget allocation it’s time to move on. Your time and expertise are valuable; you need to be compensated for it.

Respect: If a client makes unreasonable demands too often, expects you to be available at all hours, doesn’t listen to your advice and/or always wanting something immediately with little or no advance communication, it’s time to say goodbye. A client that doesn’t respect your time, your talent, your contributions and your boundaries is a client that needs to be let go.

Say Something: You know from reading my blogs that I am all about common courtesies. Rudeness or lack of recognition can be a big downer. I, for one, like an occasional pat on the back. If you have a client that can’t even offer a simple ‘thank you” or “nice job” after you’ve done good work or have gone above and beyond the scope of your job then it’s time to look hard at that client and at what type of working environment you want and need.

I Will Survive: You did it; you let go of a paying client! But guess what, you will survive.  Once your stomach settles down, take some time to evaluate what type of client makes you a happy, fits with the brand you are trying to build, pays accordingly and leaves you wanting more.

See it isn’t that difficult to end a stressful client relationship and you won’t even need a box of tissues. Time to shake it off and change that playlist to something a little more upbeat.