Find out the right way to “fire” a freelance client — without feeling guilty about it. And without harming your reputation in your industry, too.
Have you ever had to “fire” a freelance client?
Well first, I don’t like the word “fire.” It has a negative tone.
And you should look to build positive relationships with your clients.
But I will say that “letting go” of old clients is usually a good thing.
Because it’s a sign your business is growing.
And if every year or two, you don’t feel like you need to move on from your oldest clients — or at least renegotiate with them — that’s a concern. Since it means your business may be stuck.
But at the same time, letting go of clients is hard.
First, it’s scary to lose that income. Especially if it’s a steady retainer.
Plus for a lot of us, we like our clients. And we feel guilty about letting them go. Even at the expense of our own workload, sanity, stress, and health.
And on top of that, our clients talk with each other. So you don’t want to damage your reputation in your field by ending an engagement on bad terms.
Worst of all, you could wind up in serious legal trouble if you don’t fulfill your obligations under the contract.
Which is why you need to have the right terms in your cancellation policy to protect you before you let go of a client.
So today, I want to share how you can let go of clients in the right way…
In a way that leaves them with a positive affinity for you after you’re gone. While also making sure you do what’s right for your own growth.
Now the first thing you should do when letting go of a client is…
Start by trying to see if you can come up with new terms that work for both of you.
(Unless the client has done something so out-of-line that you don’t want to work with them anymore — period.)
But for a lot of clients, they will be happy to increase your rates or adjust the scope of your work to continue receiving help from you.
And that’s the best win-win outcome of all.
Plus on top of that, it also gives your client control of the situation.
Because instead of just telling them you quit, you’re giving them options.
Either they can continue to work with you under the new terms. Or you can go your separate ways. (And I’ll show you how to manage that transition in a second.)
But whichever option they choose, the client gets to make the decision.
And simply giving them agency like that goes a long way to preserving your relationship and reputation.
Now if you do need to part ways with a client, do everything you can to provide a seamless transition.
Because as a Pro-Lancer, you want to provide an exceptional experience for your clients — from the very first day, to the very last.
Plus nothing will hurt your reputation faster than making a client feel like you left them “high and dry.” Or that you “ghosted” them at the end of your work together.
And it can also help you feel better about the decision to let go of a client if you know you’re going to leave them in a great place.
So for all those reasons, make sure you do everything you can to create a smooth transition.
(And this also goes for times when your clients decide to let you go, too.)
First, assuming the client could still use a freelancer like you…
Then the best thing you can do is refer them to another freelancer who can replace you.
And then help train that person to take over for you if time allows.
That way, the client continues to get all the support they need.
Plus you also build up some goodwill in your industry by referring a client to one of your colleagues.
And that too can help you feel better about the decision to let go of a client.
But even if the client doesn’t need a replacement, then make sure you do whatever you can to help your client continue without you.
Document any key processes you follow.
Put together some short trainings that can help them make up for the absence of your expertise.
And whatever else you think can help make sure they continue to have success.
That way, you can feel good about your decision to let the client go.
And more important, the client will feel good about how you managed the end of the engagement. Which will help preserve your reputation in your field, too.
Now let me show you how to make freelance clients come to you — like clockwork — using a simple, 30-second conversation…
All the details are inside my free business blueprint 30-Second Referrals.
With this free PDF, you’ll discover how to use a simple, 30-second conversation to get two referrals from every single client you sign. (I’ll even show you exactly what to say during this conversation with my word-for-word script on page 13.)
That way, you can make clients come to you like clockwork. And you can fill your pipeline with more new business than you can handle.
But there is a small catch…
30-Second Referrals is only available to members The Freelance Like A Pro email list.
So enter your best email below to join us and claim your free copy of 30-Second Referrals now. (And you’ll get my members-only emails to help you run a more profitable and stress-free freelance business, too.)
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Thanks for the freelancing guide and the emails that you've been sending out — the 30-second referral method is so stupidly simple, that it's genius!Connor Inch, Freelance Copywriter