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Freelancer, Fire that Client!

We’ve all had them. That client who seemed great at first and then either suddenly or over time became a nightmare. You see an email notification come through from them and you cringe, or a Skype text message that makes you take a long, deep sigh. They are literally sucking the creativity out of you and making your workday miserable.

Have someone like that as a client now?

It’s time to fire them and here’s why…

You are running a business…act like it!

Your clients are not your friends. Yes, we are always friendly to them and inquire about their family, their health, etc. but make no mistake, they are your clients! So, when you consider firing one of them, don’t act like it’s a personal matter. Yes, it might feel like a breakup but its business. They may take it personally but that is on them.

They are taking the place of a great client.

I know I just said it’s not personal but allow me to illustrate this via a romantic relationship. If you are dating or living with someone who makes you miserable and the thought of them coming home makes you want to leave the house, you should dump them. And here’s the main reason why…they are in the place of someone who could make you happy. You won’t know how happy you could be with someone else if you have filled that space beside you. Same with freelancing because you can’t take on a new client unless you fire your current one. We only have so many hours in the day that we can fill with work. Choose clients who make those hours enjoyable.

You are not a charity.

We’ve all had that client who pays late and/or not at all. Fire them! I know, this is obvious but sometimes we as freelancers let this slide by. However, as the famous Dr. Phil likes to say: “You teach people how to treat you”. So, be firm about late fees. It should be in your contract that you do charge late fees, what amount, and at what time. I fired a client a couple of years ago who was always late paying and high in demanding my time. Within 1 day, I had a new client who ended up paying on time and gave me a $250 bonus!

Your emotional health is important.

As I mentioned before, we’ve all had that client that makes us cringe when they reach out. As creative people, we must protect our creative and emotional energy at all costs. When we are angry or depressed, our work suffers. We start to dread starting work each day. It spills over into our personal relationships. Is that client really worth it?

Don’t be Afraid!

We often find ourselves working out of fear of not having another job or client come in. This fear is completely understandable. It is one of the constant worries of being a freelancer that really never goes away. Fear can be just as draining to your energy as a terrible client.

So, it’s time. Fire that client. Make your work time happy again and be open to accepting a new client that will be better than the last one!


Here is a great blog from the Freelancers Union about firing a client.

Here is a great blog along with sample letters/scripts on what to say to the client when firing them.


M. Page Jones is a published author and award-winning graphic designer who has been in the business for over 30 years primarily as a freelancer. She runs MPJ Creative Services ( that has clients from all over the world.



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