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How to Break Up With a Client

18 Feb, 2016 McKell Naegle

Breaking up is never easy, especially when your significant other is your client and pays you money on a regular basis. But sometimes, there’s just no way around it; something just isn’t working between you two, and someone has to end it.


Breakups can end in many ways, and while not all will end in lifelong friendships, there are certain rules to remember when the time comes to part ways—and these rules apply to both love and business.

 BreakupDon’t say what you’re thinking.

There are an infinite number of reasons why you may need to dump your client: they’re jerks, they haven’t paid you, they forgot you on their Christmas card, etc. Whatever the reason, it’s always best to break the news with kind words and no hard feelings present. You can shout what you wanted to into a pillow later. If you show your ex-clients dignity and respect, they’re more likely to recommend you to their friends.


Leave your photographic memory at the door.

You know what they did, and they know some of what they did. Only bring up the past wherever necessary. Not every frustrating thing your client has done merits a breakup. There is a statute of limitations to these types of things, and only relevant errors will be well received.


Remember, it’s not you, it’s them.

Don’t sell yourself short. If you’re not in the wrong, don’t apologize for how you conducted business. Stand by your performance and reputation. It’s okay to say you’re sorry that your collaboration was not more successful, but don’t give your client a reason to point their finger at you.


Your clients are most likely human.

Everybody makes mistakes, and odds are nobody wanted to hurt anybody’s feelings. Give your clients the benefit of the doubt and leave things on a good note. Both of you will learn from this experience, and that knowledge will stay with you as you go your separate ways looking for new relationships.

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