Daniel Lemire's blog

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Consulting: my experience on when to drop a client

8 thoughts on “Consulting: my experience on when to drop a client”

  1. I’m told that the first rule of project management is choosing the right project 😉
    Unfortunately, when consulting is your primary source of income, you can’t always be so picky. But you’re right Daniel, you have to know when you have a bad client, and get out as quickly as possible; however painful it may be.

  2. Daniel Lemire says:

    Choosing your projects is a luxury, choosing your clients is a necessity. An unreliable client or a client who doesn’t really need you, will end up hurting you in the long run if only because, whether you realize it or not, you will miss other potentially interesting clients.

    Actually, in my opinion, bad clients (as defined above) will lead you to tough times invariably and whether or not you depend on your consulting for a living is irrelevant. I wasted months with bad clients and I was very frustrated until I learned that I was doing it all wrong and I didn’t have to accept bad clients.

    You have to be very selective with clients… and this may mean you have to invest a lot in networking or even change business or drop out of consulting.

    However, I would be far more tolerant for bad projects. Sometimes, you have to do boring or uninteresting work, that’s life. Of course, if you have other revenue sources, then you can turn down bad projects, and that’s the big difference between depending on consulting for a living and not.

  3. Moebius Stripper says:

    Looking over your “How to recognize a client” list, I easily recognized similarities between those bad clients, and my more obnoxious students. I’m checking the online classlist for my intro algebra class; there’s one girl I flunked last term, and if she enlists in my section this term, I honestly don’t know what I’ll do.

    So, to your “why do consulting?” list, I’d add: if you have a bad client, you can drop them. Not so with bad students, alas.

  4. Yes Moebius, but fortunately, in most cases, the student is with you for only a term.

  5. Moebius Stripper says:

    Not if they never learn college algebra 😉

  6. Zac Mutrux says:

    Thanks for the article, Daniel. I have republished it on ConsultantCommons, a new open content space where IT consultants to nonprofit organizations can share their experiences and improve their practice.