Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How to Break Up with a Client

Deborah Ng over at FreelanceWritingGigs.Com talked about this a little bit ago, but some things are really worthy of repeating.

Sometimes, you've got to break up with a client. It's just gotta happen. Whether you're unhappy with the gig or you're changing your focus or you've got more work than you can handle sometimes you've got to send that email or make that phone call giving your client notice.

So how do you do it?

  1. Finish the work assigned. The gig may be agony - a very wrong fit for you, but the client selected and is depending on you to finish up before you move on.

  2. Give the client plenty of notice. Some gigs take the HR department time to fill, which if the gig has an HR department, bureaucracy states it will take time. Other gigs, like a daily blog, really need time to find your fill-in so that the blog itself isn't left in lurch.

  3. Put down the blowtorch. You may want to burn that bridge to smithereens, but it usually smarter to preserve that contact. You never know where or when you may need them.

  4. State plainly why you're leaving. A lot of us writers are semi-hermits. We want to be nice, maybe avoid confrontation, avoid the dirty subject of money or rights. Phooey. Grab your respective reproductive organs and talk about the issue:

    • "I feel I'm not a good fit for this position."

    • "I am pursuing a position in the same field that pays more."

    • "I'd like to pursue this subject in a venue in which I only give up First North American Serial Rights."

    • You're a stinky poo-poo face and I don't like your shoes."

I'm kidding about the poo-poo face. Never tell a client they just suck. It's tempting, but let's be professional people.

The funny thing is when you let people know you need more money, are too busy with other work, etc., if you're good, they will often try to meet your terms.

Everyone wants the "it girl" of blogging on their site. It's like the whole you're-never-more-popular-with-the-opposite-sex-until-you-get-into-a-long-term relationship phenomenon.

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