When to Let That Client or Project Go

Saying no can move you forward in your writing pursuits.

I know it’s exciting when an opportunity pops up, or a client wants an ongoing relationship, but is it in your best interest? Does it move you closer to your goals? Are you enjoying what you’re working on?

Not always.

In December 2017, I wrote 4 Reasons to Fire Crappy Clients, with a nod to the unprofessional ways some publishers treat writers. I explain how some stop communicating part-way through a project; bait and switch aspects of the projects including pay or article requirements; disappear when it’s time to cut a check or simply don’t communicate in a professional, respectful way. Yes, it’s sad.

Today’s post looks the other direction. At you.

This list is meant to help you reflect on your current writing projects and partnerships to ensure that you’re getting the most enjoyment out of the work you do while hitting your writing goals, which may be related to finances, project completion or personal growth.

If you sigh each time a certain name pops into your email, or you dread the hours blocked out to work on a specific project, pause and reassess the situation. Ask yourself these questions.

Am I moving closer to my writing goals?

In the beginning, it’s tempting to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. I did that in my first few years as a full-time content marketing writer and actually enjoyed the experience. I ended up researching topics that expanded my views and interests — which was a goal at that time.

Now, after establishing a solid client list and recurring projects, I’m more selective. The projects I pursue need to help me reach my income goals, align with my interests or help me grow in my writing and business skills.

Before this realization, I was working far too many hours without a clear direction for my business, which took a toll on my health.

Identify your goals and stick to them.

Do I have a life beyond my keyboard?

Setting boundaries is a critical daily practice when growing a business. If you don’t, there are some clients or personal projects who will take every hour you give them. This leads to mental and physical burnout, exhaustion and upset over the work you do.

Then, you can’t work well. Your writing suffers.

Know your boundaries, and guard them with all you’ve got. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How will you spend yours? Can you find a balance among writing work, time for the ones you love, hobbies, daily responsibilities and self-care?

Am I enjoying what I’m working on?

When you’re dependent on paid writing work to put food on the table, it’s easy to say yes to opportunities with great rates and overlook the other aspects that make a project worth doing.

Do you genuinely enjoy the topic enough to do your best work? Is your contact helpful and professional? Do you have the time to do the work without sacrificing other commitments? Is the pay rate realistically compensating you for the actual time invested, including pitching, revisions, outlines, emails and calls to discuss the project?

I hope these questions shifted your mindset. You are your number one business asset. Without a healthy, happy you, your best words and ideas won’t flow. Always take your goals, commitments beyond the keyboard and personal growth into consideration.

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