How to Break Up with a Freelance Client

break up

There are times when you’ll have to break up with a freelance writing client. Sometimes it’s something you’re looking forward to because the client is difficult to work with or they pay very little. More often, breaking up with a freelance writing client is difficult and painful. You love your clients and it makes you sad to have to end things.

If it’s time to break up with a freelance client, follow these steps for a smooth transition.

1. Make Sure You Have to Break it Off

Don’t let anger at a recent incident cloud your judgment. Make sure you are 100% sure you want to break off before you do. Sometimes taking a short break from working with a client is all that you need.

2. Identify a Clear Break Up Point

You don’t want to break up with a client when they owe you money (as this may turn into a struggle to get them to pay you) or if you agreed to work on a project. Make sure you finish everything in progress before you end it. Sometimes, this won’t be possible because you have an ongoing working relationship with projects each week or the invoice times are way into the future. Figure out when the most appropriate time to break up would be.

3. Write a Break Up Email

Some people think it’s best to break up via phone. I disagree 100%. Even if you discuss the end of your working relationship on the phone, it’s important to have an email for your records and to make your expectations clear.

I personally always default to something like this:

Dear Client X,

It has been a pleasure getting to know you and your team. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take on additional projects going forward (or as of this date), due to other commitments. If I can be of service in any way during this transition, please let me know.


Sometimes this is true. I have a few clients that send over one or two projects a month. When things get too busy for me, especially if they pay the least, I do break up with the smaller clients. Often I refer them to another freelance writer.

However, even if this isn’t why I’m ending the working relationship, I do what I can to leave it at this. I don’t need to burn anyone in the process. If I’ve made the decision to leave, this is enough.

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