Week 4 and a reminder that the economy is changing. More and more Americans are choosing to strike out on their own and be freelancers. According to the Freelancing in America 2015 Report, 54 million people are freelancers, working independently of traditional employment arrangements. While freelancers are redefining the way this country works, they are also experiencing a host of issues foreign to their cubicle counterparts. My final week addressing questions especially for freelancers, to arm them with the knowledge they need to succeed. I hope you have enjoyed the series.
Question: How do I end a client relationship? Sometimes everything is going well, but I feel like I have outgrown the project and I want to move on. Other times, the project isn’t what I signed up for, and I just want OUT. What do I do?
Answer: Let me answer your last question first. Taking on a project that spirals out of control is never fun. You had such high hopes for the work, and when it doesn’t go as planned, you feel like you failed. Emotions are most likely running high, so take a deep breath and don’t say or do anything hasty that you might later regret.
Now, if you are ending a client relationship because it’s the project from hell, first try to finish your part. Please don’t back out unless you truly cannot execute what you agreed to do. If that is the case, have a conversation with the client and explain your situation. Perhaps all is not lost and the project can still be salvaged. If it can’t, point to exact reasons you are unable to deliver what you promised. If the client wants something you can’t or won’t do, say that. If you are not getting the information or support you need, talk about that, too. I can’t stress transparency enough.
If you want to end a client relationship because the project has grown stale or you’re seeking new challenges, be honest with yourself and your client. Would you want someone holding on when they aren’t fully engaged with you? Of course not, and neither does the client. Talk with the client about the agreement, review the milestones, and have a colleague you can refer them to at the ready. A professional conversation will do wonders to bring about a smooth transition and continued working relationship. Who knows, they may just be your greatest source of referrals in the future.
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