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Why Digital Marketer Dylan Ogline Isn’t Afraid to Fire Clients



Some entrepreneurs cling to toxic clients for the extra revenue. This under-40, seven-figure entrepreneur doesn’t hesitate to send them packing.

 “It must be nice to turn away money!”

 That’s the indignant paraphrase that Dylan Ogline, founder of Ogline Digital, hears whenever he tells clients or prospective clients that they aren’t a good fit for his digital marketing agency. 

In some cases, this means turning away clients who send up red flags. In other cases, it means ending client relationships — profitable client relationships — that have become toxic.

“It’s a passive-aggressive thing to say,” Dylan explains, “and if they’re trying to shame me into doing business with them, it’s not going to work. I value my peace of mind more than that.”

 So what can get an Ogline Digital client fired? “Demanding too many meetings,” Ogline said. “Calling me all the time. Treating me like I, or someone on the team is an underling. Lack of patience with the process that we clearly laid out to them. Looking at us wrong. Honestly, it doesn’t take much.”

 “I’m a ruthless optimizer,” Ogline continued. “I believe in the 80/20 Rule, and almost every decision I make is to 80/20-optimize the way we do business.”

Toxic Clients and the 80/20 Rule

You have probably heard of the “80/20 Rule,” which is all the rage. A mild bastardization of the Pareto Principle, it states that 80% of all outcomes arise from 20% of all inputs.

This proportionality (or something close to it) plays out all over society. 20% of the people control 80% of the wealth, 20% of patients account for 80% of medical expenses, 20% of criminals commit 80% of all crimes, and 20% of employees drive 80% of the revenue.

 “According to the 80/20 Rule,” Ogline said, “I accept that 20% of our clients will be responsible for 80% of my headaches, 80% of the annoying calls, pointless meetings, and backseat driving.”

“Now imagine if I can identify those two guys out of ten and then cut them out of the business. Yes, maybe we lose 20% of our revenue … but our operations get 80% better. I haven’t completely tanked my business, but I’ve made a priceless investment in morale, wellbeing, and peace-of-mind.”

 “And we can use that mental capital to develop new business — preferably clients that won’t be as big of a headache. But every client is always on the chopping block.”

Zero Tolerance in the Next Generation

Ogline’s approach typifies a new breed of entrepreneur, who wants to own a business rather than having a business that owns them — who puts lifestyle and personal fulfillment ahead of profit-at-any-cost.

He also must be doing something right. Ogline Digital went from zero to six figures in under six months, and to seven figures in just a few years. The agency only has few clients to deal with, and a lean team who know not to disturb Dylan unless something is on fire. He is the anti-micromanager.

This frees him up to travel, volunteer, play hockey, take his dogs to the park, and the million other possible passions that the business frees him to do. Most recently, that list of passions includes Agency 2.0, a coaching and educational program Ogline founded to teach aspiring entrepreneurs to follow in his footsteps and achieve their own personal and financial freedom from the rat race.

Even If You’re a Beginner with No Revenue

Ogline teaches his students to be equally ruthless in firing clients — even if they are flat broke and haven’t made their first sale.

 “I understand the temptation to accept an abusive client when you’re desperate for revenue and don’t have a dime to your name,” he said. “I’ve been there. But it’s not worth it. An impossible-to-please client won’t even leave you a good testimonial. They might even leave you a bad testimonial. They might withhold payment. There’s just nothing to be gained.”

 “Even if you’re a complete beginner, the standard you set from the outset is the standard you will have to live with going forward.”

 By setting a standard, and encouraging students to set a standard, Ogline hopes to create a bulwark against toxic business relationships that will elevate the level of comity in the marketplace at large.

 “If people learn that being an abusive jerk will get them cut off from the best vendors,” Ogline said, “we’ll all have fewer abusive jerks to deal with. The ones who survive will learn to control themselves and adopt healthy business practices. That helps everyone.

Vanessa Campbell has been a Senior Writer for more than a decade already. She has liaised closely with key members of the Marketing and Leadership team as well as key stakeholders, providing content support for concepts and ideas to take brands to the next level. She has been leading marketing campaign initiatives that have successfully thrived and prosper throughout the years.