I spend ample time talking about finding, impressing and growing relationships with your writing clients. But, what about ending a relationship? Sometimes partnerships go south, or you realize the grass never was greener, and you need to move on.
When should you say enough is enough?
Over the years I’d worked with my fair share of incredibly gracious and inspiring publishers and agencies. And then there were a few that had no business relationship skills at all.
I’m one to push on, give second chances and express my concerns. But sometimes the person on the other end of a deal just doesn’t care about their job and the negativity flows downhill to you. So, here’s when I pull the plug, and move on.
1. They stop communicating.
When your emails, phone calls, Skype requests, Tweets and knocks on their office doors go unanswered, it’s time to part ways. If they don’t respect your outreach, why are you wasting time on them? Use your energy to pitch a new publisher and fill that gap.
2. They bait and switch.
Are they asking for edits or work based on information shared after signing a contract? Revisions are part of the writing process, and some clients need multiple rounds on each piece. That’s not uncommon.
However, when they increase the word count, ask for original quotes and command pictures you took yourself after initially agreeing on a different set of parameters and pay rate (and they won’t adjust their contract to accommodate their new needs) be done. Clients like this will string you along and get extra work out of you for as long as you allow it.
3. They don’t pay.
When you sign a contract, part of the terms include the payment cycle and how they prefer to be invoiced. If you don’t get paid for your first contribution, and they promise it’s coming while they encourage you start on your second article, that’s a big, bold red flag.
I’m humbled to say that I once tried to chase down a payment from an agency for two years. The amount owed wasn’t worth the time and money to seek legal intervention. No, I never got the cash.
4. They are rude.
This idea is subjective, but when a client starts to use inappropriate language or disrespecting professional boundaries, it’s not worth trying to save the relationship.
An editor shouldn’t call you at 9pm on a Sunday with edits needed by Monday morning, unless you both knew that would be the timeline prior to accepting the assignment.
If a client doesn’t uphold their end of a contract, you have every right (and should!)discuss your concerns with them. If they don’t make a change, it’s time to move on. Have you had to part ways with a client? What finally made you say goodbye? Comment below!
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