E109: How to Overcome the Loss of a Whale Client with Jonathan Martin

We’re excited to announce that SEOMonitor has partnered with UGURUS as a sponsor of our show.

Jonathan is the founder of coolblueweb, a WooCommerce Expert Agency; as well as Little Rhino, an SMB-focused WordPress shop; and most importantly VerifyWP.com, a pre-employment WordPress developer assessment platform. He believes the hiring process for agencies is broken and is working with one agency at a time to fix it.

Episode highlights:

  • How Jonathan took his agency from a do-it-all-for-everyone model to a more focused business.
  • What happened when a million-dollar-a-year customer parted ways with Jonathan’s agency.
  • Get advice on how to get through losing a whale customer.
  • Why Jonathan is now picky about who he works with.
  • Find out how Jonathan tests applicants for skills before culture.
  • Run time: 40:40
  • Best advice ever received: It doesn’t matter where you are in life, you shouldn’t let that stop you from building better relationships or growing your family.
  • Habit that contributes to success: Exercise
  • Recommended book: Crucial Accountability by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, and David Maxfield 
  • Recommended tools: Slack and Teamwork



  • “That’s a painful experience. That’s an ego hit, that’s a culture hit.”
  • “We were aware that it was a risk for the business, and I think it’s a risk worth taking.”
  • “We took our eyes off the rest of our clients….we weren’t giving them great attention.”
  • “It was like you get punched in the gut, and then punched in the nose right after.”
  • “Whales always go away.”
  • “We still only work with right-fit clients.”
  • “They didn’t represent themselves well.”
  • “We’re leaving great candidates on the table.”


  • Consider major cuts if facing the loss of a major client.
  • When taking on clients, remember that bad customers could cost you money and you may not make each other happy.
  • When hiring, consider testing for skill first and then interviewing for culture second.