I removed a difficult element from my business life today, but when my husband suggested we go out to dinner tonight to celebrate, I found I didn’t really feel like there was anything to get that excited about.

I kind of feel like I’ve barely survived drowning in the ocean and am now crawling back up the beach. There could still be some problems ahead.

You know how dead you feel after swimming in the ocean and being beaten by the sun all day? I feel like that.

I’m glad the project is over. I’m glad it’s going to launch under the direction of a friend who’s another developer, because I’d love to see the site live. But I don’t feel like I’ve begun to really feel free of all of it yet.

Deep breath. One more. Keep moving…

That’s a lesson I hope I’ve learned now: I’m firing one today.

I had no idea how much stress a single difficult client could bring into my life – but now I know. I hung onto the project for dear life because I really loved it, even though the client was so hard to deal with in just about every way. But now I know I should have listened to the small group of designers who told me to fire her six weeks ago. <Bangs head against desk again.>

I’m usually very good at catching a weird vibe from a potential client, but not in this case. Not until many weeks into the project.

Even so, I should have fired her. There were many opportunities since mid-July, but no – I just gritted my teeth and hung in there. But it really wasn’t worth it – I’m not going to get much out of it financially, and I doubt the site will still look like my design when it finally launches. It was really beautiful and that’s what I feel worst about – that and all the extra time I sunk into the work without being compensated.

I feel stupid for some of the mistakes I made in allowing this client and project to get out of hand – but I’ve started working on an overhaul of my business practices that will help to curb that in the future. So that’s a good result that will hopefully make my studio a better business all around.

Tomorrow I hope to hand over the finished product and get my little final payment. Then this client will be out of my life and I can start devoting more time to the clients with whom I really enjoy working. In the meantime, I’ll try to remember how I feel right now the next time a client like this one appears and nip it in the bud before it gets so bad.