Recently, I made one of the toughest business decisions to date.
What was it, you ask?
Let’s take a quiz:
1) Did I decide to open a facility called Globo Gym?
2) Did I design training t-shirts with “Winter is Coming” on the back?
3) Did I hire The Rock as my assistant?
4) Did I fire a client who I’ve had for 3 years?
If you guessed #4, you’re correct.
Now that I’m deep into my career, I’m lucky to have wiggle room to say goodbye to clients – people I no longer resonate with, or who downright suck my energy.
So yes, it’s okay to fire a client.
Of course, for the newbie trainer, it’s hard to decline, let alone, give away business. I mean, we all have to have a roof over our heads, put food on our tables, and take our significant others out to see the latest Star Wars.
We get caught up in the fitness grind, chase dollars, and hold onto people who make us feel icky.
Which is fine. If you’re broke, then by all means, keep hanging by a thread.
But also ask yourself: is holding onto this person helping me to grow the quality of my business and the quality of myself?
As Sohee Lee beautifully put it in a Facebook status, sometimes, it’s just not a fit.
Check out her insights:
It’s all about doing everyone involved a favor.
As an example, the client I recently fired constantly berated my methods, bashed strength training, didn’t believe in proper nutrition, and only wanted to do cardio. Eventually it got to a point he was running the workout.
“I’m going to go on the elliptical. I’m done with strength training, ” he said as he threw his dumbbells down in fury and marched to my most hated piece of equipment.
Refraining from punching a wall, I let him finish the session on the elliptical, only to call him later that day and tell him it was best we part ways.
Everything he was saying and doing went against who I was as a coach. Which is fine.
So I repeat: it’s totally OKAY to fire a client who is no longer in alignment with your expertise and core values. If you stay with someone like this, both parties will be pissed at each other, and no one will get better.
For me, I couldn’t evolve as a coach because he didn’t want to learn strength training. I wanted to teach things like deadlifts, squats, and lunge variations. I wanted to coach pressing, pushing, pulling – all things I believe are the best things we can do for our external and internal health.
But how could this happen if this was stuff he hated and stuff I LOVED?
And I know what you’re thinking. Did I tell him why strength training is God’s gift to the world? Did communicate with him enough? Yes, and in a language he could understand, in a way that was uplifting and from the heart space. For three years.
At the end of the day, though, people will be people. It’s a classic case of “you can’t control me and I can’t control you.”
And none of this is to say any of us were in the wrong, me nor my client.
As Sohee Lee says, it’s simply not a fit.
I urge you, if you can afford, fire the people who you can no longer help, and embrace the people who support, love, and rally behind your purpose. Invest in those who invest in you, then everyone will evolve to limitless heights.
That’s the good stuff right there. That’s what training is about: just good old-fashioned people helping people.