ADVICE / 41
today’s question: “how do you end things with a repeating client?”
it is never fun to break up with someone. just be honest with your client and rip the bandaid off. if you let it linger you will only resent those weekly/monthly requests and it could start to show in your work. you don’t have to go into detail about what you don’t like about working with them. just explain that it’s not working in your current situation. you could say you’re taking your career in another direction or that you’re no longer offering those services. you could say you’re taking on full time work and you no longer have the time to work on side projects.
before you cut the cord make sure all your ducks are in a row. do they owe you payment for anything? will they continue to use your past work with their branding? do you want to charge them for rights or are you just ready to let go? hopefully when you started working for them you had all of this written up in a contract.
when you’re telling them that you’re moving on suggest other designers that you think would work nicely on their brand. list 2-3 people and try to provide links to their website or contact. i also suggest giving them a month or two weeks notice so they have time to find someone to replace you. if you usually communicate one way (email/skype/phone/in person) I think it’s okay to resign in that same form. just be nice. end on a good note. you never know when you’ll meet again or need their connection to something or someone.
it’s hard when you feel loyalty to someone or something to just throw in the towel. right? remember when i resigned from rue a few months ago? life shifted for me and it was just a time commitment i couldn’t take on anymore. i gave notice, did another issue so that they could find a new art director, and we cordially went our separate ways. it was a decision i was dreading because i felt like i was giving up and that i was letting people down. but people understand…that’s how life goes.
if you are anything like me, you will stay with a project even when it is time to be over. you stick it out. but that’s when resentment starts happening. and when you aren’t enjoying what you are doing or creating…it’s just not going to be the best it can be. you start to put it off…dread it…and then do a rushed design that just gets the job done. this has happened to me a couple of times, and finally i am starting to realize that in those situations it would be way better for both of us to just move on. they deserve someone who is putting their whole heart into the project, and you deserve to be working on something that inspires you. really think about how this relationship is helping you. is it money? good exposure? good experience? you should always feel like at least one of those is happening.
and sometimes! you don’t have to call it quits. maybe you switch it up and take your collaboration in a new direction? maybe you work together less often? think about what the ideal situation for you would be and just be up front about it. for example, let’s say you are a photographer and you are working with a blogger on a column…and you aren’t loving the content you are shooting anymore. you are bored and not really benefiting from it. instead of just quitting the gig, offer up some new ideas, think of a new column you could shoot for them. it couldn’t hurt, and the new ideas will probably be exciting for both of you.
but sometimes…it just has to end. they will find someone else and everything will be just fiiiiiiine. put your energy into something that you’re excited about!