As a freelancer you’ll come across clients of all shapes, sizes, attitudes and temperaments. And if you’re just starting off, more often than not you may come across problem clients. If you are a freelancer, and you have not experienced a difficult client before, then you are still testing the waters. You become a pro, once you have come across these clients and have handled the issues appropriately, so brace yourself for impact.
Many of us are pushed into the world of self-employment or additional income, because we need to run our own business, make our own money, and follow our own path. Well, part and parcel of being your boss is to know when and how to sack a difficult client, learn we must!
I always knew I was going to run my own business. I was not cut out for the regular 9 – 5, and I couldn’t find a job that I really liked. I started seriously toying with idea of going self-employed during my prenatal days. I was pregnant with twins, with no way to afford childcare, I knew I just had to stay at home for some years, because there was no way around it. Well no other way I was comfortable with, I should add. Which led me to this point. And now, I won’t have it any other way.
Although it takes time before you start to get your foot in on the type of clients who are a perfect fit for you, even the best of us have moments when we have to face the problem client. Let me assure you that you don’t have to deal with the wrong clients all your life. You can learn how to identify who’s the right client for you and who you should stay away from.
In this article, I’ll let you in on my best tips on when you should let go of your client and how you can do that in a way that is painless keeping your freelance business intact.
When is the Right Time to Sack a Client?
Before you even start your freelance business, you should have a basic idea of the type of people you’d want to serve. Although your target audience will evolve and be streamlined as time goes by, your major focus must be on attracting such people to your business.
However, when you find yourself entertaining the wrong client, the best time to fire your client is the very minute you notice they were not your ideal client. For this you need to be extra vigilant and sensitive to the warning signs.
Never underestimate your intuition or gut feeling. When you feel that you and your client are not flowing on the same frequency, you need to step back. Likewise, when you notice an inadequate behavior from your client either during the briefing or at the preliminary stages you have to draw the line.
How Should You Sack Your Client?
Sacking your client is a lot more than just giving them the boot. Here are some things you should note:
1. Don’t be evasive. Be direct and honest.
It’s only natural for you to want to avoid a client you don’t like working with or be evasive in your approach. That’s a wrong move.
You have to firmly stand your ground and face your client. Be honest with your reasons for not wanting to continue working for your client.
2. Be polite.
It’s important to make sure that as you’re telling your client your reasons for not working with him or her, you remain polite at all times. Settling your differences amicably will help in keeping your integrity intact. The worst thing you can ask for is someone who will give you a bad name. It pays to be polite.
3. Be helpful as you’re letting your client go.
This is a good way of sacking your client on a good note. After telling your client you don’t want to work for them anymore advise them on the possible steps they can take.
You can even recommend your client to someone who you think will be in a better position to offer their services to your client. This way you do not leave your client hanging. They will appreciate your help and you’ll make a positive impression of your business. This way you keep the doors always open for new prospects and referrals.
Sacking a client can be difficult, but it is something most freelancers have to do every now and again. It’s not healthy to have to deal with someone you don’t enjoy working with. You should focus your time and energy on serving people who resonate with you.
As a freelancer you are your own boss. You have control over who you want to work with. And so long as you are clear on who your audience is, you will continue to have the clients who are a perfect fit for you.
Have you ever sacked a client before? How did it go? Do you have to deal with difficult clients regularly?