Being a freelancer offers a lot of benefits. You have no boss to answer to, you can work the hours that suit you, you can take on the projects you want to take on and you have an unlimited e-learning potential.
It sounds amazing, but there is always a downside. Apart from the fact that everything stops with you (accounting, sales, marketing etc.), a major downside can be your clients.
Before you start shouting, yes, you love your clients (most of them) because they are keeping your business afloat, but every now and then things go wrong and you have to part company with them. Usually, this will be through no fault of your own, which makes it harder to deal with, but the way you handle the situation will say a lot about your business and help you stay on good terms with the client in question.
Even if the relationship with your client started well, over time cracks can appear. Perhaps they start taking you for granted and become more demanding. They take longer and longer to pay your invoices, they appeal over every little thing and nothing you do is right (in their eyes).
Before your sanity starts to suffer you realize it's time to part company with them. It's not an easy decision to make because your turnover will take a hit, but your sanity and well being has to take priority.
How to sack a client
One morning you realize you have no choice other than to sack the client in question. Your stomach will be knots as you consider what to do because you do not want to cause any animosity and you certainly do not want them bad mouthing you to other people behind your back.
The answer is simple: just follow these 3 steps.
You are a professional, so make sure you act like one.
Depending on the reasons behind the sacking, it may be tempting to tell them exactly what you think of them, but do not. Make sure your professional head is on and deal with it diplomatically, even if that means you are taking the blame for something that has nothing to do with you.
Tell them that, on reflection, you do not feel as though you're the right person for the job, or that you do not have the time to give the project that it really needs. Some people even tell their clients that they are having to put up their prices in the hope they will no longer be able to afford them. Of course, the problem with that one is that they might agree to them.
Whatever reason you give, make it sounds as though you are doing them a favor. Of course, none or slow payment of invoices is a different story all together and in that case it's best to be straight forward with them and simply tell them you no longer want to do business with them – politely.
Once you've terminated your relationship with them, if possible, suggest someone else who may be able to help them.
They'll think you're amazing – even though you can no longer help them, you've gone out of your way to find someone who can. You are amazing.
Before they leave you, make sure all the 'i's and dotted and the' t's crossed. Do not leave anything unfinished. Make sure the client has everything back that is theirs (if appropriate) and part on a handshake.
Ending a business relationship is never easy, but sometimes you have no choice. Do not get dispondent – you can not win them all and there are just some people out there just you can not help, no matter how many times you bend over backwards for them. Just remember you did everything you could to help, so hold your head high and get on with running your business.