Every freelancer has had that client.
You know the one I mean — the client all your friends hear about over drinks, whose name you dread seeing in your email inbox or your phone’s caller ID.
You know working with that client makes your life harder, but you can’t shake the feeling there’s something wrong with ending a client relationship.
That’d mean less money in the bank each month. You’re supposed to be grateful for any work you get, right?
One of the great (and often underused) privileges of working for yourself is the ability to walk away when something’s not working. Your time is valuable, so don’t feel obligated to spend it on a client that isn’t worth it to you.
There are many valid reasons to dump a client. You already know the most obvious: too little pay.
Even when that’s not an issue, there can be other problems. Here are seven more solid reasons to feel good about dumping that client.
1) Bad clients require more energy than good ones
Unnecessary drama, requests for endless re-writes, and chasing down late checks are all a waste of time and energy when you should be, you know, blogging.
To make a good living as a freelance blogger, you have to be productive.
A client who causes extra stress is bad for productivity, which means they’re bad for your bottom line.
Dumping a stressful client might mean you make less this month, but you’ll get your energy back to apply to productive work. That’ll pay off in the long term.
2) You want to keep moving up
This is your career. A client who pays too little, doesn’t respect you, or otherwise has a negative influence on your life and work isn’t helping you build a better career.
There are better clients out there. Always be on the lookout for them and never feel bad about leaving behind those that don’t value you as highly.
3) The client is not always right
Sometimes clients are insistent on work that goes against blogging best practices. Is your client pushing tactics that feel a bit too spammy? Or insisting on something you know wouldn’t be right for the blog’s audience?
Writers should always be open to feedback from clients and happy to educate them. But only up to a point. You know what you’re doing; if your client won’t listen to your expertise and insists on moving in a direction you don’t believe in, you might be better off without them.
4) Sometimes you’re just not a good fit
Do you prefer everything in writing, but find yourself stuck with a client that insists on long, aimless phone calls? Do you need a calendar of assignments in advance, but they expect you to drop everything for rush assignments regularly?
Every freelance blogger is different in our habits and preferences, but recognizing how we work well is an important part of the job. A client can be perfectly respectable and pleasant, but have a work or communication style that makes your job harder.
5) Bad clients prevent you finding better clients
Every freelance blogger is familiar with the persistent challenge of balancing your marketing efforts with your client work. Every hour spent working for a bad client is an hour that could have been spent pitching a guest post, networking, cold calling or whatever form of marketing you prefer.
Remember those better clients I mentioned? You’re missing out on chances to find (and be found by) them if you’re bogged down in work for a client you don’t want anymore.
6) It’s OK to need more time for you
Gaining more time and energy to spend on your business is important, but what about the time you need for YOU? When you’re running your own business, it gets easy to forget about how important taking time for the (non-work) things you love is.
Take time to go for hikes, read good books, or do whatever your go-to hobby for relaxing and enjoying life is. If you don’t take that time for yourself, you won’t be “on” in the hours you devote to work.
7) You’ll be free (at last!) to enjoy freelancing again
Any guilt you may feel about the idea of ending a client relationship is unnecessary. Trade it in for the sense of liberation that comes with knowing you decide who’s worthy of your time.
Stay professional when you quit working with clients who make you feel not-so-liberated. Dumping a client doesn’t have to mean losing a potentially valuable contact, so keep your tone civil and help your client move on — offer a referral to another blogger you know will find the project more fulfilling, or suggestions on where the client might find a suitable new blogger.
It only takes one simple email or call to dump your problem client, and then you can get back to days that are less stressful and more productive. #WORTHIT. [Tweet this!]
Now, it’s time.
Speak up and let that problem client know it’s over.