If you are a home based business, a freelancer or a solo professional, you need to have a good reputation and great testimonials because this will bring you more work and more income. Then, when you find yourself unable to continue on going with a bad client you should immediately quit your cooperation in a professional manner. In this way you will prevent yourself from closing future doors or burning useful bridges.
If you are a home based business owner or a freelancer, chances are, you chose to play that way because you don’t want to work under a Big Boss’ orders. You love your freedom and the direct contact you have with your customers. Alas, sometimes clients act as if they own you. Later on a heap of thinking you decide to burn the ones that trouble you more than you can manage. Simply be careful: dare not to flip on your “bad client’s” face all your ghastly feelings, and here is why:
First of all, your clients spread reputation about your work. If your customers are happy, they will fetch you more work by generously giving you good recommendations. If a customer is not contented, he/she will attempt to prevent other people from doing business with you. Thus, you require to go on your rejected client’s disappointment as low as you displace. In accession to this, high temper and oral fights don’t do good to anyone. You need to remain calm in order to attend to your other clients right and lead a happy, satisfying life with your acquaintances and relatives. More or less “clever” language against your “enemy-client” can enhance your ego for a while, but in the end they will only damage your professional self-esteem. Last but not least, it is all about respect. That you can’t cope with a person doesn’t stand, for it is solely this person’s fault. By giving up your cooperation with style, you show that you do not keep hard feelings. This permits an open door to your former customer who might fare to you later with a more reasonable request. You should never close doors and never burn bridges.
I have been acting as a freelancer for more than 10 years and – depending on the site or the “bad client’s” personality – I have applied four different schemes that guarantee professionalism and fair communication. Check them below and try the one that seems more convenient to your case.
Strategy #1: Give something free as a “thank you and I am sorry gift”
Explain that you will not work with them anymore, but you would like to give something as a “thank you and I am sorry” gift. For example, I was working as a wedding photographer and one bride was really difficult and extremely demanding. I realized that she would be even more difficult when the job was done, so I explained to her that I could not work with her. I didn’t just reject her, though; I told her I could shoot her portrait for free. She loved the idea and although I didn’t do her wedding photography she introduced me to all her friends because the portraits were great.
Strategy #2: Terminate the cooperation by introducing your client to another professional of your expertise.
You might be working on a project, such as web design and development, and you realize that you cannot communicate with your client properly. Quitting would be terrible for the client who expects from you a finished product. Your best choice is to ask a friend with the same expertise of yours to take the job and finish it from the point you left it. Of course, you must explain to your friend why you want to leave this particular client. Chances are your friend will not face the same problems as he/she is a different person with different style of communication and creativity. By doing this you keep your former client happy, you prove how professional you are, and at the same time you give work to a friend. Next time this friend hears about a job that cannot undertake will directly introduce… who else but you?
The next two strategies can be applied only for former “Bad Clients” who come to you with a new task request.
Strategy #3: Ask for an extraordinary big fee.
Your “bad” clients will run away, or pay you as much as ten good clients. It is not a bad deal. Let them decide whether they leave you or not and make it easy for you… You should also know that most “bad clients” respect you much more and treat you a lot better when you are well paid.
Strategy #4: State that you will do the work – when you will be free from o
ther tasks that have priority.
Check your calendar and name a very distant completion date. No client wants to wait. This is why most chances are that they will quit the idea of keep working with you. The great thing about this strategy is that by showing too busy, you also appear very successful.
As you can see, in all strategies there is one common challenge, which is, not to break your “bad client’s” heart. You should never act unprofessionally. Rudeness will only be used against you, and it can give you such big troubles as even sending you to the court. All you need as a solo professional is good reputation, raving testimonials and piece in mind and spirit. So, work for it cleverly and enjoy a fulfilling life.