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It’s not me, it’s you. Everything you need to know about “breaking up”

Hands up if you’ve ever broken up with someone? Hands up if you ever been dumped, BEFORE you got a chance to end it? Good times….

Back in the day before email and text, I recall that breaking up happened one of a few ways.

  1. Face to face (sober or otherwise)
  2. Via phone
  3. Via a third party (abhorrent)
  4. What I like to call the Passive Aggressive Special….. Deafening silence i.e. you/they simply stop calling.

So what about when you have to “break up” with a client?

You know what it’s like. Things just aren’t working. You don’t talk the way you should. You don’t like the same things. You are going in different directions. It gets awkward. Awkward like asking a lady if she’s pregnant when she’s not.  Add to this mix that in business, it’s not just relationship that’s at stake, its revenue. Cash flow.  Bottom line.  Yeah…it’s complicated.

Well, here’s a quick breakup guide I’ve prepared with the aim of ensuring you won’t have to wrap up your dignity and wave it goodbye in the process.  It doesn’t have to be nasty.

When to break up

  • If they don’t share your DNA – your business’ and team’s heart and soul.  It will affect your ability to deliver and therefore your reputation.
  • If you don’t truly believe in what the client is asking you to do. That is dishonest and will only cost you in the end.
  • If the client is high maintenance and low yield. You KNOW the ones. They sap your energy and waste your time, generally lower billing, and very very demanding.
  • If there is a breaking of trust.  This one’s a no brainer
  • When your gut tells you to.

When to hang in there

  • When there is genuine honesty and authenticity in the relationship – with that foundation, you can solve most problems.
  • If OTHER things are clouding your vision – for example, never make these kinds of decisions if you’re sick, tired, hanging for a holiday, just had a car accident…you need a CLEAR head.
  • If it’s only ONE person that is causing the pain. Things change, and people move on. Deal with it.
  • If you can honestly see a long term future together.  Short term pain is sometimes worth it for the inevitable long term rewards. Don’t be short sighted and hot tempered.
  • When your gut tells you to.

And above all remember that the world in which we live is shrinking by the moment.  If you have to end it, do so gracefully and with gratitude lest the bridge you burn ends up being one you need to walk over in times to come.