Somebody That I Used To Know

Sometimes, you just have to say goodbye.

Cut a client loose, tell your backer you just don’t see it their way or change out a team member.

It can hurt.

But it can also liberate.

My hairstylist is a single mom. She travels an hour each way to work in a hip salon—every dollar counts. So when a marquee actress (who commands seven-figure movie deals) asked her for a $100 discount, she was flabbergasted. In the discomfort of the moment (there was a bevy of onlookers), she hastily agreed to a discount, immediately regretting it. As we rehashed, she realized that she is always free to say no. Her price is her price and she can fill her chair without accepting less than she is worth.

I’ve made my own deal with the devil. A wealthy curmudgeon convinced me to accept a cut of his revenue increase as part of my fee. I liked him and decided his crustiness was a safety device. But once the new money started rolling in, he reneged on his end of the deal. Kicking him to the curb was a no-brainer.

We teach people how to treat us. And when everything is a price negotiation, it means they aren’t valuing your service. Or you haven’t differentiated yourself enough to make them willingly, happily pay your fees.

Yes, there are such things as bad clients. But quite often it’s just that we have to put some starch in our spine and stand our ground.

Or make them just somebody that we used to know.


  • Fabulous advice, Rochelle. I’m going to forward this to everyone I know.

  • Great article, Rochelle. I just sent it to all of my daughters. Thank you.

  • Hard to believe I did not know a song viewed so many. Really offended me about the wealthy actress seeking such a discount; some people do things because they can. Having worked once (well several times but during the same period) as a waiter after busing tables, I maintain a strong aversion to stiffing folks who work so hard and often for so little. At the same time, very important to value what we do and not fear asking for fair value and also to refuse requests at freebees and comps. Most recently received an email asking if I would introduce a colleague to folks at a radio station because that person checked my contacts on LinkedIn. That person (wonder if the individual might read this) is a nice person but wanted the assistance gratis.

    I have my own song which makes the same point and sometimes I pair it with another. The second has some great lyrics but I like the first two phrases:
    “What does it matter to me
    Your memory is all in a dream”
    From the first,
    “It’s too late to turn back all the clocks in town,
    it’s too late to take the x from yesterday.
    Now the die is cast
    Nothin’s happened in the past.
    So I think I’ll take a walk out in the rain.”

    By the way this band belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

  • Peter Getoff

    Sage advice-sage message as always. Thank you Rochelle.

    We all are susceptible, vulnerable to attachments, to attaching to people and things that can drag us down, be toxic, be sabotaging, can’t we. Why so hard to let them go? A million reasons i.e. the new stuff is more scary than the familiar bad stuff.

    Rochelle, I find such inspiration in your messages. Right On!


  • A good blog. Far too often blogs are focused on how to say yes, how to build up a network, how to build a relationship. Sometimes the right decision is to not to spend anymore time on a relationship but cut the umbilical cord.

    In fact, we were only talking about this topic a month or so back, in my linkedin group – The FT Guide to Business Networking –

  • Frankie, Corey, Peter and Heather–Thanks for your adds and compliments (Frankie that is especially awesome)! The sage advice and links are great additions to this topic….

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.