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How to Breakaway from a Difficult Freelance Writing Client

Just like any other business, as a freelance writer there are some clients that are good and some that are bad. For me, good clients are much more than those that pay a lot of money. They are also the ones that clearly communicate their goals, pay on time, and work with mutually agreed upon terms.

Breaking away from a difficult freelance writing client is never easy to do. There are two main reasons that this can be difficult. First off, breaking away means that you may upset the client. In turn, a battle of words could ensue, and your professionalism could be compromised. Another reason that makes this hard is that you may not want to give up a client because you do not have enough work. This is reasonable enough, but you should know that bad clients are not worth your time in the long run.

When you decide to sever ties with a freelance writing client you need to do so professionally. I have done this several times in the past, and each situation turned out differently. Most recently, I had to tell a fledgling magazine that I could no longer work for them. While I enjoyed the topic I was writing about each month, they were not paying on time due to financial issues on their end. I explained this as nicely as possible in an email, and the editor responded cordially. When the client knows that they are in the wrong it is always easier to breakaway.

On the other hand, a few months back I stopped working for a client and several crude emails were thrown my way. My reason for ending the work was simple: the client would change his mind halfway through a job, and then want me to redo the work for no additional charge. While I do not mind revisions, a total change of topic after I have started is not doable. The client thought that I should honor his request because I was not yet finished with the work. Of course, he had no idea how much time I put into the job in the first place. In the end relations were severed, but I was left with lost time and no money to show for it.

As you can see, sometimes breaking away from a freelance writing client is easy, but other times you will be up against some resistance. But no matter what, make sure that you stay professional. 

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5 Comments »Freelance WritingSeptember 17th, 2007

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