In today’s episode, I want to talk about when clients leave us, what this means, and how we can move past it constructively. I had a client recently lose a long-term contract and she was devastated. She didn’t understand why, and felt emotional and panicked.
I felt horrible for her. But I was able to give some tactical tips and advice that allowed her to walk away feeling level-headed. I want to share all this advice because I think a lot of us can relate to people moving on in both business and life.
If you’re ready to learn how to handle client departure and structure your business to support YOU, tune into The Next Level Social Podcast!
The Four Agreements
These tips can apply to multiple relationships with co-workers, friends, and loved ones because all relationships have seasons. I do want to give a reference to a book I’ll be using in this episode. A book that has changed my life and come back to time and time again for business and personal. The book is called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. In this book, Don walks his readers through the four lessons he believes will achieve personal freedom and happiness. All of the things.
I come back to these agreements all of the time. In almost every situation, I reflect on these four lessons. Today I am going to be leaning into two of the four agreements because they apply when it comes to people leaving (in whatever context that takes). I think these two agreements will serve you well. They’ve served me for years and continue to do so.
Make sure to read The Four Agreements if you haven’t, it is a total game changer!
Take Nothing Personal
The first agreement talks about Taking Nothing Personal. This concept is so-so-so freaking huge. As coaches, bosses, and people come into our lives, sometimes for life or seasons, when a chapter comes to a close it is not personal. People coming and going are not about you, it’s about them. When someone chooses to leave it’s about their life, time, finances, family, aspirations, or next journey. It’s not about you.
When we can start to take the “personal” out of the equations, we’re able to come from a much more grounded and stable place.
The emotion is no longer influencing our experience and the situation becomes factual.
I’ve used this agreement in my life and it has served me so much because it’s easy to think everything is a reflection of us. Thoughts like, “I’M not a good enough leader, MY content is no longer offering enough value, I’M not as qualified as so-in-so,” are easy to have.
But all of these statements are simply not true. You know that you’re amazing at what you do – someone no longer requiring your offer has nothing to do with you as a person, coach, boss, or friend. It’s about them and what’s going on in their life.
Take the personal out of it.
Sex & The City
I don’t know if you are a Sex In the City fan, but there’s an episode where Burger, Carry’s boyfriend, tells Miranda that a guy is “just not into her.” She goes, “he’s not into me”, and replies, “if he’s into you he’s coming upstairs.” Suffice it to say, he did not come upstairs.
What this taught Miranda was that a guy not being into her wasn’t personal, she’s an amazing lawyer and friend, and a guy not being into her does not diminish the value she brings to her business and life.
It can be as simple as that, they’re just not into you.
We don’t have to start going down the rabbit hole and think we need to change.
Never Make Assumptions
The next agreement I want to share is Never Make Assumptions. This concept goes hand-hand with not taking things personally because, at the end of the day, we have no idea what someone else has going on in their lives. We can’t assume.
When we eliminate assumptions on why someone might be leaving us or doing anything, it becomes a game changer. A great way to get over assumptions is to ask! It is amazing what a simple ask can do to free the mind from making assumptions and being consumed by self-blame.
The answer you receive might be completely unexpected, and it also has nothing to do with you. Again, never assume and take things personally.
I use this agreement all the time, even for simple things like going to the grocery store. If somebody looked at me with an angry look or was impolite before reading the Four Agreements, I probably would have assumed they didn’t like me, how I looked, or my energy, and I would have taken it personally.
Now, I know it has nothing to do with me, it’s not personal, and I come from a place of empathy for this person. Maybe they had a bad day and something is going on in their sphere that has nothing to do with me. I give them grace and give a little extra love, smile back, and hope for our brief interaction I can change their narrative.
It’s the same with our clients. We can’t assume why we know they’re leaving, so either ask them or let it go and know what is next for them and you are separate.
Boundaries and Expectations
Boundaries are something, both in life and business, I’ve had to work on and probably always will. If you know me, you’ll know I love to work, I always have. In this season of my life, I don’t have children, I want them in the future, but for now, my business is my baby. And I love it. I love to have conversations and offer value, and I love to give to all people in my life. It genuinely makes me feel good. And I know there are a lot of women in my sphere as mothers, bosses, wives, daughters, and friends we love to pour into the people around us. However, it can lead to burnout, overwhelm, and resentment. This can happen because when we pour and pour and pour into our clients, bosses, friends, and family and we don’t receive a similar amount of attention/energy back. And when they end up leaving us after we’ve dedicated our time and energy we end up feeling resentful in a way that does not serve us as entrepreneurs. It’s not a great feeling. That is why having boundaries and expectations is important.
When your expectations are clear you can stay consistent with them and hold firm when they’re tested. You know what you’re expected to give and your clients or bosses know what to expect from you in return. This can look like having firm office hours, have clear avenues of communication and your deliverables and compensation. This can take the form of a written outline or even contracts to ensure what you’re giving and what you’re receiving is defined.
I find when we hold true to what feels best for us and when we set our boundaries, there is a new level of respect on both sides of things. I know with my own mentor that she holds her time as her most valuable metric. I could only access her when she allowed, it was very clear, and I valued her and our time together more because of it.
I do this with my own clients. I am very very strong with my boundaries.
My phone is now signed off at 5 p.m, no ifs-ands-or-buts. Period. Dot.
And this took me some time because I love to work and support. I want my clients to be successful – their success is genuinely my success. When I start to hold my boundaries as sacred, I’m left feeling perfectly fine if and when a client receives what they needed and choose to leave.
If I was working evenings, weekends, round the clock, and then a client left, perhaps I may have felt hurt or resentful and upset. This was the scenario for my client and why she felt upset. She gave so much to a client and when they left there was all this emotion because there was too much giving and not enough receiving. It became personal. If a client does have to part ways, boundaries make it so much easier to keep a professional distance.
Also know that when someone leaves, it does not define you or your business. People are going to come into your life, into your business, in seasons, and it’s our job to meet them where they’re at by showing up in a way that feels good and respectful on both ends. Again, never assume or take it personally when they have to move on because people move forward and directions merge and converge all the time.
Revenue When a Client Leaves
The last point I wanted to touch on is money and revenue when it comes to a client leaving. I am very aware that there is a financial pain point when clients decide to move on. I know thoughts will arise like, “that money is gone, how am I going to replace it? I need someone new to hit my targets this month.”
I challenge you to do some mindset work around these thoughts. This takes practice and I understand 100% if this does not come naturally. Let’s talk about it.
For instance, let’s talk about my business. I have clients coming and going, revenue starting and stopping all the time. In my Mastermind for example, if a student is done with my program, it’s a three-month commitment and they always have the option to renew. Some of them have been with me since the beginning, some do the three months, and others want more support and sign up for my one-on-ones. Some people do one-on-one and then do the mastermind right after that. Everyone is different and I meet everyone where they are at.
I never, for one second, think or believe that my income will be affected by the actions of my current clients. I believe that I am in control of my business and income and never give that power to someone else. I know this isn’t easy or comes naturally to everyone, but I know people will come and go and that I can make money. I know because I have and I do time and time again. I don’t allow fear and anxiety to be given by somebody else. I am grateful for people coming into my sphere in the first place, and if they stay with me forever, leave, or come back we can’t take it personally or assume. We can’t know someone else’s financial situation, where their business is at, what they have going on in their family, or if they want to try a new mentor for a different expertise. It’s all good!
You as the boss need to know that, believe it, and show up that way. So don’t let the power of losing a client ever affect how you show up, create content or offers, or how you make money in your business. This is also why having a really solid offer suit is key. I always have cash flow coming in regardless if someone continues to work with me or not. That is a really great feeling as an entrepreneur. I encourage you to set up evergreen revenue and constantly push out content your audience is asking for.
In addition, I am always creating, promoting, and selling. Whether that’s a new offer, discover calls, you name it, I am always starting new conversations and generating.
Okay, My Loves!
Okay, my loves! Just know that when a client leaves it is not personal and you can’t assume their motivations. To protect yourself from becoming emotional set up boundaries with yourself and your clients. When you start to consider your peace of mind and boundaries as sacred, your clients will start to value your time and energy as the lucrative commodity that it is.
Like the seasons, people come and come and go from your life and business. It is your job to continue showing up for your clients wherever they are, not take things personally, and never assume.
If you found this episode valuable, I would love it if you could screenshot it and tag me on social! It means the world! xo
Connect with Ayla Sorochuk on Instagram and apply for 1:1 coaching HERE
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