We’ve been talking about how to find new writing assignments here at Freelance Writing Jobs, and I wanted to take some time to talk about ending a working relationship. There will be times in your career when either a client will decide not to work with you any more or you will decide that it’s time to move on.
Sometimes, the end has nothing to do with your work at all. Your client’s needs may change due to economic factors or for personal reasons. A couple of months ago, one of my long-time clients had to tell me that he needed to end our professional relationship because he had been diagnosed with cancer and he needed to focus his attention on making choices about treatment options and trying to get well. Perfectly understandable in my book, and since we had become good online friends, we still keep in touch.
When someone has to tell you that they won’t be working with you anymore, the best thing to do is to stay professional and make it as easy as possible. Finish anything you are currently working on. If you have materials that belong to the client, return them promptly. Send your bill and get paid.
If the situation is one where you would be interested in working with that client again if circumstances were to change, then by all means let that person know that they can contact you at that point. Ask them to give your name and contact information to other people they know who may be hiring.
When you are the one who has decided that it’s time to move on, it’s important to behave professionally. Give some notice, if possible, that you will no longer be accepting assignments after a certain date. Finish up the work you have and submit your invoice for it.
In a situation where your reasons for moving on are that the client is difficult to work with – and I’m being very diplomatic here – resist the urge to bad mouth them. Things that are posted online can come to light long after the fact, and it really can be a very small world in cyberspace. Find another way to deal with your frustrations…..better yet, find a new client who you find easier to work with.
Have you ever had to break up with a client or has a client dumped you? How did you handle it? Please share your professional breakup experiences.