Today I am on a new adventure. After freelancing for almost three years with a client; we have chosen to break up. Losing a client is the hardest part of the online gig economy. No matter how difficult the client, breaking up in any other fashion besides class just won’t do.
If you handle the breakup with the right attitude; the client will view the experience in high regard even offering up fantastic professional reviews that you can share with future clients. Even a client who frustrates you to no end deserves a professional send off.
Anything less than professional would potentially be suicidal for your freelance career. In fact, according to Small Business Trends, “more than a fourth of the U.S. is now officially part of the freelance gig economy” not to mention the international competition that is already in full force. In this situation choose your battles wisely; take the higher ground, because the competition is fierce in the gig economy.
Tips for the classiest way to break up with a client:
- Remain positive
- Avoid criticism
- Ask how you can be of help during the transition
- Offer to stay for a minimum of 2 weeks
- Convey responsibilities that need to be covered
- Help find workaround solutions if necessary
- Remove yourself from documents and accounts
- Ask for a positive review or referral; client will feel valued
- Ultimately be friendly and helpful to the end
Keep in mind that your opinion regarding a client may be caused more by incompatible personalities; this will naturally cloud your viewpoint regarding professionalism or intentions. Perspective isn’t always right. Doing the right thing in adversity shows your true grit.
Eventually, this client may realize what they’ve lost. Moreover, they might come back with a better offer. I have clients who have tried to re-hire me or offered up short-term projects. These short-term gigs end up being more flexible and have higher upfront profit margins.
Breaking up is hard to do, but sometimes it’s a necessary means of moving up in your freelance career. If you have mixed feelings analyze the situation; try to work it out with the client first. If it’s not happening, kill them with kindness as you step out onto the road for the next big challenge.