When to Stop Working with a Client


I recently met up with a colleague who was having some challenges around a fantastic client she had been working with for the past year.

They were a great client, paid on time, were always incredibly happy with the work they did together, etc., etc.

At this point, I was wondering what the challenge could be when she blurted out, “I don’t want to continue to work with them, but I can’t say no.”

Confused, I asked her for more information. The more she spoke, the clearer it became: the completed original scope of work had gone as well as it could have, but now the client wanted to work on what they felt were the natural next steps. And, while my colleague sorta/kinda knew what that was, it was not what she specialized in (“But how can I say no to a paying client?”).

I totally got it. I understand the pressure to have a successful business.

And I advised her in no uncertain terms to say no and walk away.

Here’s why:


Creating a great client journey means that you also have to know when your journey with them comes to an end.


Because once you start creeping into what you don’t specialize in, here’s what happens:

  • YOU’RE NOT WORKING OPTIMALLY. Doing what you’re exceptional at means it takes less time, less energy, and you have your systems already set up and ready to go. Creating something new will inevitably mean slow, sub-par work, with a high opportunity cost.

  • THE COST IS HIGH. The belief that you can do everything as well as what you specialize in is just not realistic, and you want to leave your client walking away having had the best possible experience. As a result, the cost may not only be in your time but in referrals down the road if things don’t go as well.

  • YOU’RE NOT SERVING YOUR CLIENT. We all want to be a solution for our clients. If you’re genuinely standing in that commitment, that may mean that you will want to refer them onto another specialist so they have the best options.



There may be another opportunity here, however...


Scott Robson Coaching Branding New Funnel

If you are consistently hearing from clients that they want whatever the natural “next step” is after working with you, it may be time to create a sales funnel to take this opportunity in-house and to do it properly.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself.

  • How long will it take to create a new product/service and the infrastructure it will require?

  • Do I have the bandwidth to take this on?

  • What are the costs of doing this as well or better than the current services I am offering? (time, financial, emotional, opportunity costs, relationships, etc.)

  • How likely are my current clients to sign-on to this new service?

Knowing exactly when you start working with a client and when you stop is essential in creating a complete client experience. If you’re ready to take the leap to expand your offerings, do it carefully and thoughtfully so your clients will be as thrilled working with you in the future as they are today.


Scott Robson life coach for entrepreneurs and business coach and branding.


Scott Robson is a branding and entrepreneurial coach who helps business leaders focus on what matters.

Scott Robson