• wil

    Its done, we’re going to say no to the new project.

  • andrew wee

    Hi Wil,
    Do your contracts have a position about non-competes against former clients?

    It doesn’t sound wise to have moral ‘non competes’ that stretch to perpetuity, but I’d think 6mth – 1year would be fair game.

    If the client terminated the service, it’s an indication that they’re switching ships. As a responsible biz owner, you probably don’t want to go head-to-head on day 2 after the end of the engagement, but you still need to set limits IMO.

  • Kathy

    You made the right decision and it’s nice to see somebody who has high ethics:) Wish more had them.

    You’re doing a good thing for your company cos honesty and having ethics will matter to your current clients and will attract new clients in the future. Although I think most people think you’re the best in the business anyway.:) This just reinforces it more.

    pssst….you’ll sleep better at night now, too.:)

  • Mark Kennedy

    Some clients request a non-compete from me. Not all, but some.

    In this case, without a non-compete, you have an interesting dilemma, but I think this statement you made sums it up…deep down it doesn’t feel right.

    Trust your instincts.

  • wil

    @andrew – we do have non competes but only while we are contracted in the 12 months we are working with the client. In theory we should do 1 year afterwards to be fair if the contract ends, if a client jumps ship – then the non compete would be voided. I like that idea.

    @Kathy – I believe so, I believe that doing the right thing here is in the short term a little bit painful, but in the long term I think it will just be a blip on the radar. Sleeping easy at night with the decisions I make about this business is a MAJOR thing for me.

    @Mark – Going with the gut hasn’t gotten me in too much trouble yet, thanks for the support!

  • Seth Goldstein


    You did the right thing. Since you’re still “in bed” with your other client, even though it’s only maintenance, ethically you should run it by them first. Now if they jumped ship and didn’t want you to maintain their SEO/SEM then I’d say take the other gig because your former client obviously doesn’t see the need for your services so you owe it to your company to get new business even if it does conflict.


  • Jon Payne

    Very interesting :)

    This is certainly a dilemma, but as others have said if your gut says no than trust that. You can always refer to another company or something… I have a mutual understanding with a few firms that if I refer work to them, or they refer work to me we’ll send the referring company a small thank-you bonus should that prospect turn into a client.

    I’ve also seen a few firms that specialize in SEO for a certain industry. To that extent, most of their clients are competitors. The benefit is they can build a deeper understanding of the industry, and probably own a few web properties in that space that they can leverage for all of their clients. If two clients are competitors and both are ranking #33 and #34 neither is found. If they both work with an SEO company that makes them #1 and #2 than aren’t both better off? So long as this is clearly disclosed ahead of time… That said, we typically avoid direct competition for the same “doesn’t feel right” reason you have here. I do have definite concentrations of clients in various industries but each has their own spin. For example, we have two IT support companies but one does all private businesses and one does all government work. Not really competitors. Same industry though.

    The keys here are 1) trust your gut and 2) be straightforward with your clients.

    Good stuff though Wil.

  • greg

    i only promote one company per keyword/s. my clients like this (A LOT!!)

    loyalty counts.