Dear Freelance Client,
There’s no easy way to say this.
I put this off as long as I could, tossing and turning in bed, arguing with myself as to whether or not I should write this email.
I know this Friday was supposed to be the most romantic day of the year, the day that we looked into each other’s virtual eyes and imagined a lifetime of happiness together. But instead of snacking on heart-shaped chocolate and dreaming of your email address, I have to tell you…
I’m leaving you.
I remember when we started our relationship, when you replied to my email saying yes, you wanted to hire me! My heart leapt, and I had butterflies in my chest at the sight of every email you sent me.
But now, things have changed. Instead of feeling happy when I think of you, I have other, less positive emotions. Stress, sadness, and anger run through me at the mere mention of your name.
When we first started out, I dreamt of the perfect relationship.
In my crazy daydreams, I imagined that I would provide you with quality content that would make your business grow. We’d enjoy the success together as my content helped to engage more readers, attract new leads and convert current readers to customers.
In return I hoped you would pay me a decent wage, one that would allow me to make a dent in my student loans and put food on the table.
But things haven’t turned out as planned. The competitive rate you promised turned out to be $5 per 500 word article.
Even though I was dismayed, I tried to suck it up at first, but it’s all getting to be too frustrating. I want someone who gives as much as she takes, someone who’s willing to pay me a decent wage for the hard work that I put in, someone who’s willing to invest as much in the relationship as I am.
In addition, I wanted someone who was willing to take things to the next level. You kept telling me how great my content was, and how much you and your readers enjoyed my writing. But when I asked for better rates for the excellent work I was doing, you told me that it “wasn’t in the budget”!
I can hardly believe that after all this time in our freelance relationship, I’m still no better off than when I started out — and you seem to have no interest in making a change.
I also don’t like the way you’ve been treating me. Too often, after I hand in my writing assignments, you disappear for days or even weeks at a time. My calls, emails and messages go unanswered, even though I know that you get them when you come online.
This seems to happen especially often when you’re supposed to pay me, leaving me frustrated and wondering if I’m being used. Not only that, the last time I suggested a pay raise, you told me that there were many others that would be happy to write at a lower rate!
Whereas I had thought we were both important to each other, I now realise that I’m disposable — just another name and number on your list of freelance writers.
It’s not me; it’s definitely you.
I’ve found someone else. After putting up with you for so long, I decided to take charge of my freelance career to find someone who recognises my true worth. Now, I’ve found someone who actually respects me. Someone willing to pay a much better rate, and who responds quickly to every single message I send. I feel valued and important, and I think this is the start of the relationship I should have had all along.
So this is goodbye. Please don’t call or text — I won’t be available. Instead, I’ll be working with my new freelance client, one that leaves me satisfied and happy!
How to Avoid Messy Client Breakups
Maybe you’re in the above situation and you want to know how to get out, or maybe you want to avoid getting into this negative relationship in the first place. Either way, here are five survival tips to help you move on from crappy clients to business love:
1. Sharpen your skills
Some freelance writers get passed over for the higher-paying gigs because their writing skills simply aren’t up to par. Thankfully, there are many ways to improve your writing, from websites that offer hundreds of free training courses to online communities like Reedsy and Freelance Writers Den where you can get personal assistance and support. By improving your writing skills, you will be able to show freelance clients why you deserve a decent pay rate.
2. Take a course on how to secure high paying clients
Sometimes freelance writers need to look specifically at how to attract high-paying clients. Courses such as Sophie’s Client Hunting Masterclass are a great way to improve your skills in locating and securing those big-budget clients and lucrative gigs.
3. Demand more thanks to your expertise
Many freelance writers don’t realise it, but you can make more money by pitching yourself as an expert in your particular field. By selecting an area or niche that you’re extremely knowledgeable or experienced in, you’ll be able to justify the higher wage.
4. Avoid low-paying content mills and bidding sites
There are lots of low-paying content mills and bidding sites where clients are looking for the writer with the lowest price as opposed to the writer with the best skills. Ignore sites that only offer low-budget jobs, to avoid being locked into a long-term low-paying relationship.
5. Charge what you’re worth
Don’t be afraid to ask for the price that you deserve. Too often freelancers underbid or undersell themselves in an effort to get a gig. Instead, they only position themselves for difficult and cheap clients. Be confident in your skills and charge the price you’re worth.
Have you made the transition from a toxic freelance writing relationship to a successful and enjoyable one? I’d love to hear about it — share your story in the comments!