At a cafe in Kyiv, 2017

Firing a client is not easy. While the emotional weight of such a decision can be heavy, toxic client relationships could affect your growth. You have to learn how to fire a client without any consequences to your future.

Here’s what not to do:

• Never blame the client. Even though they might be at fault, try to push the blame somewhere else. Cite other circumstances, personal or business, instead. Take a different approach. You won’t burn bridges this way, and the client will be less likely to shatter your reputation in return.

• Do not fire a client without ending their project first. Or at least without reaching the end of a phase of the project. This way, you can charge them up to this phase and hand the rest of the project over to someone else. However, if you are fine with refunding all advances or forgoing the money, feel free to drop the client at any time.

Don’t ever get into any discussions about your decision. Make it final. Don’t let the client sway you their way.

Do not write too many emails. You don’t have to justify or explain your reasons over multiple emails. Just send one email that sounds very definite and final. You will find many sample/draft texts online to help you frame your last mail.

And here’s what you should do:

• Create the final task list for you and the client. Include all things each side would have to do before ending the relationship. On your side, it could include the final tasks on a project and preparing documentation to hand it over; or making a list of assets, other documents they need to sign-off on, remaining payments, etc.

• Suggest your replacement. While you are not honor bound to do so, it’s always worth helping the client look for another agency. Recommend another business or freelancer who, you think, could take over their business.

All the best!

Sudhir Sharma, Editor-in-Chief

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