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🎵Breaking up is hard to do 🎵

…but it doesn’t have to be a bad breakup.

Breaking up with a client is a lot like breaking up a relationship. However, much like Gloria Gaynor's classic hit, you can tell yourself 🎵I will survive 🎵

Deciding to wave goodbye to a client is never an easy process and will likely involve a lot of to-ing and fro-ing from you before you make the final decision. If you find yourself questioning what is best to do, or whether you should keep working with the client then you might find my recent blog helpful.

Decision made ✅

Now that you know you are going to part ways with your client, how can you do it without burning your bridges? It’s natural to feel a sense of obligation towards your client, regardless of how long you may have been supporting them and irrespective of the situation you now find yourself in.

Consider how you talk to your client about your departure - this can make a huge difference.

How have you mainly communicated with this client? If it is predominately email, you may feel that sending an email is the best option. However, if you regularly catch up in person or via video call, that might be a better route to take. Consider how you would want to receive the news yourself.

Should you be honest?

Chances are, you aren’t breaking up with this client because they have been a dream to work with - but should you tell them that?

As tempting as it might (briefly) feel to air grievances, this is where a little white lie will serve you and your business well.

Try and make your messaging as positive as possible with explanations such as:

“I’m no longer focusing on [client niche] and so from x date, will not be offering these services”

“I am actively reducing my workload to help me focus on X, Y and Z.”

“I don’t think we are the best fit to meet your needs, however I can recommend [alternative support]”.

Once you’ve done the hard part, follow up with an email reiterating the termination, plus all the other required information.

Being clear in how you communicate the breakup with the client can help make the process as smooth as possible.

Refer to your contract as a back-up for you- after all this is exactly why your client signed your contract in the first place. Make sure you clearly lay out what date you will be ending your services, how the work will continue between now and then, and what your offboarding process looks like.

Just as your onboarding process is vital to the success of your business, your offboarding process is equally as important. What information do they need to know, do they need to download anything before it’s deleted, will there be a handover call?

Post Break-Up

Now you have done the tricky, painful breakup, don’t just wipe your hands clean of the client and plan to never think of them again. When you feel comfortable to do so, spend some time looking at:

  • What worked well with this client? It might feel like you have to dig deep but trust me there *will* be positives.

  • Were there any red flags? If so, did you acknowledge them at the time? Why were they red flags for you?

  • What have you been able to learn to carry forward for future clients?

Recognise that everyone responds to a breakup in various ways, and you may be pleasantly surprised with how your client reacts. However, it might be worth bearing in mind that the client may feel initially disappointed, or even try to persuade you out of your decision.

If you are facing this situation and want to talk through the best ways to deal with it, then join my free Facebook group - I’m always in there giving advice!



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