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I Cancelled a Six-Figure Contract

Written By: Lauren Howard

I canceled a six-figure contract.


The client was a dick to my team.

You can yell at me all you want. I can take it. You won’t do it a second time, but you can have the outburst once and we can move on in a positive direction once you have been redirected to things-we're-not-gonna-do-anymore.

Abuse my staff? Bye boy, bye.

I don’t care what we did wrong. I don’t care how far we missed the mark. I really don’t. You could have paid for a Ferrari and got a Pinto. No amount of in-the-right gives you permission to treat my staff (or any staff) like lower life forms.

There is more business out there, but the institutional knowledge that my people have is irreplaceable. They do great work, and I see it all the time.

I will protect them first, always.

You can be mad. We allow mad. You can use forceful and direct language to communicate that. That's fine too. You can share your concerns colorfully, and we will absolutely address them promptly.

But when you cross the line from colorful and frustrated to outright verbal abuse? In that case, not only are we not addressing it, but we’re giving you your money back if you're entitled to it and telling you not to let the door hit you on your way out.

The customer is not always right when the customer is being a dick.

Sure, I’ll sit down with my team and talk to them about what we could have done differently. People and processes aren’t perfect, and if there is any amount of right in what started the issue, then we need to be willing to adjust. We’ll have an honest discussion on where we missed the mark and create the processes necessary to not let it happen again.

Our missteps aren’t erased by bad behavior, but we won’t be fixing them on you.

You can be upset without being abusive. You have concerns without having outbursts. You can give negative feedback without devolving into tantrums.

And if you can’t, then you can’t work with us.

Does that limit our client pool? Sure. I'm fine with people self-selecting out if that’s their communication style.

A culture of actionable empathy starts with expecting that everyone, internal and external, will treat your employees like humans with inherent value. Bye to anyone who can’t manage to do that.

We good here.

Stars and Kittens,



Founder & CEO at elletwo


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