Boss Responses

#22: How to End Client Contracts with Amy Ragland

December 19, 2023 Treasa Edmond Episode 22
#22: How to End Client Contracts with Amy Ragland
Boss Responses
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Boss Responses
#22: How to End Client Contracts with Amy Ragland
Dec 19, 2023 Episode 22
Treasa Edmond

Ending a relationship with a client is not always an easy thing. In this episode, host Treasa Edmond and guest co-host Amy Ragland talk through the sometimes necessity of ending those relationships, and how to do it professionally.

About the Hosts

Treasa Edmond is a content strategist and consultant, best-selling ghostwriter, and podcast host. On Boss Responses, Treasa and her weekly guest hosts explore how freelancers and small business owners can navigate the sometimes tricky path of client management and communication. She also teaches content professionals and small businesses how to create SEO-optimized content strategies so they can grow their businesses by connecting with their audiences.
Connect with Treasa on LinkedIn
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Amy Ragland started freelancing in 2002, when digital marketing wasn’t a thing yet. She started her freelance journey writing copy and content for old-school hard copy materials like brochures, magazines and physical newsletters. Over the next 15 years, she freelanced part-time on the side while working and raising her young daughters. She decided to make the jump to full-time freelance in 2017 and hasn’t looked back. Today, she writes content and copy for the financial services industry, crafting content for wealth management firms, banks and WealthTech providers through her company, Luminary Financial Content LLC.
Subscribe to the How I Freelance Newsletter
Buy your copy of the 2024 Planning Guide for Freelancers, Coaches & Consultants 
Connect  with Amy on LinkedIn
Find Amy on Threads 

Support the Show.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to listen to Boss Responses. Have a question you'd like answered? Send it to info@bossresponses.com

Show Notes Transcript

Ending a relationship with a client is not always an easy thing. In this episode, host Treasa Edmond and guest co-host Amy Ragland talk through the sometimes necessity of ending those relationships, and how to do it professionally.

About the Hosts

Treasa Edmond is a content strategist and consultant, best-selling ghostwriter, and podcast host. On Boss Responses, Treasa and her weekly guest hosts explore how freelancers and small business owners can navigate the sometimes tricky path of client management and communication. She also teaches content professionals and small businesses how to create SEO-optimized content strategies so they can grow their businesses by connecting with their audiences.
Connect with Treasa on LinkedIn
Follow Boss Responses on Instagram

Amy Ragland started freelancing in 2002, when digital marketing wasn’t a thing yet. She started her freelance journey writing copy and content for old-school hard copy materials like brochures, magazines and physical newsletters. Over the next 15 years, she freelanced part-time on the side while working and raising her young daughters. She decided to make the jump to full-time freelance in 2017 and hasn’t looked back. Today, she writes content and copy for the financial services industry, crafting content for wealth management firms, banks and WealthTech providers through her company, Luminary Financial Content LLC.
Subscribe to the How I Freelance Newsletter
Buy your copy of the 2024 Planning Guide for Freelancers, Coaches & Consultants 
Connect  with Amy on LinkedIn
Find Amy on Threads 

Support the Show.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to listen to Boss Responses. Have a question you'd like answered? Send it to info@bossresponses.com

Treasa Edmond:

Welcome back to the Boss Responses podcast and day two with our guest co-host, Amy Ragland. Today we're talking about one of those more difficult topics how do you let a long-term client go when it's time for the relationship to be over? Let's just jump right into the question. If you're a freelancer, business owner or anyone who deals with clients, you're in the right place. I'm your host, Treasa Edmond. I've been dealing with clients and running my business for nearly two decades and in that time I've dealt with my share of doubt, imposter syndrome and not knowing what to say when a client asks a question I wasn't ready for. I created this podcast to empower you with the Boss Responses you need to grow your business. Each week, my guest co-host and I will bring you five episodes packed with practical insights. Monday through Thursday, we answer your questions, and Fridays, we dive deep to explore how our co-host embraced their role as the boss of their business. Welcome to Boss Responses. We are back for day two with Amy Ragland. Amy, what's the question for today?

Amy Ragland:

So today's question comes from somebody who has a long-term retainer client and they need to let them go and they're thinking about that because the client pays lower rates than their other clients. They're always asking for changes and, frankly, they just take up too much of their time. I've thought about just telling them I'm raising my rates, but I don't think that would solve all the other problems and I don't want to burn any bridges because they've referred a couple of my higher paying clients to me and I appreciate them taking a chance on me because they were with me when I first started my freelancing journey. How can I break up with them without hurting any feelings?

Treasa Edmond:

I love this question and I hate it all at the same time because, every person is different.

Treasa Edmond:

The way I do it is, I take feelings out of it completely. It's a business decision. It's not about me. It's not about me getting along with them or not appreciating them. And actually when I break up with a client, the first thing I do is tell them how much I've appreciated working with them. I always start with the positive and then I say, unfortunately, I'm taking my business in a new direction and I'm not going to be able to work on your projects anymore. Would you like me to refer you to another contractor? So I'm not leaving them high and dry, I'm not making it about me or them, and then I'm giving them options If they come back and say well, why, what can we do?

Treasa Edmond:

Is there a way we can still work with you and just say this isn't what I'm doing with my business right now. My rates have increased, blah, blah, blah. I require these specific things from my clients and if they are willing to step up and meet all of that, then you have to make the decision on do you really want to break up with them? And I've had a few clients step up and more than double my rate with them and change the way they worked with me because I had evolved my style. That's rare, so most of the time I just make it a business decision. What about you?

Amy Ragland:

You know, I think it's not uncommon to outgrow a client or if you shift directions and you're no longer aligned with those projects and what they're doing. I try to remember that if I was in an employment situation, if I was a full-time or part-time employee, people leave those positions all the time for different opportunities or different career paths, and it's a very similar situation to that. So I tend to work with people I like and so I develop friendships and relationships with those people. So, like you, I want to leave them with a sense of I haven't left them high and dry. I've left them well-prepared to just go to someone else and work with them. So a lot of times if I am breaking up with somebody, I also give referrals to another contractor. I also try to make sure that they have any operational processes that I've used that are unique to them, or any files that they may need. Just make sure that they're well-prepared to easily transition to another contractor.

Treasa Edmond:

Yeah, and for me and the way I've built it in my business and the way I teach it is, client management starts from that very first communication you have with a client and it goes all the way through off-boarding and you need to have an off-boarding or separation process. So it can't just be okay, I'm breaking up with you by bye. You need to say I'm ending our relationship, or however you word it, and then say I'll finish this project if you're in the middle of a project, or this is my one month notice on the retainer, if you have a retainer. However that goes. But I also make sure that I'm closing the loop with them.

Treasa Edmond:

Do I have any files that they need? If I have kept a copy of all of the files I've ever sent them on writing projects, then I will offer to send all of those to them in a zip file. So I go a little bit above and beyond to make sure they have what they need and they're not one going to have to reconnect with me for some reason, unless it's an emergency situation. I think that just helps all the way across the board. And then I do those referrals, and I love referring people to clients that I've grown out of.

Amy Ragland:

Absolutely. What about testimonials? Do you ever ask for those? If you're leaving a client, if it's you initiating the leaving, do you ask for testimonials as you're going?

Treasa Edmond:

I don't wait until I leave. I ask for a testimonial after the first or second project or after the first or second month on a retainer.

Amy Ragland:

That's a good point. I mean, I think that's a great reminder to be asking for not even so much testimonials, just feedback throughout the relationship and make sure that you're still on the same page with your client as the relationship progresses. That's such a great reminder of that.

Treasa Edmond:

It absolutely is, and clients who have referred other clients to me will often continue to refer clients to me after we break up. That keeps happening until they form a really solid relationship with another writer, and then it's absolutely their due at that point for them to refer the clients to the new writer, unless it's something I specialize in, like ghostwriting, and then they'll still send people to me. So it's an interesting situation. But yeah, make it about your business, not about yourself and not about your client. Don't tell someone I'm severing this relationship because you pay peanuts. That's just rude.

Amy Ragland:

Exactly.

Treasa Edmond:

Just say this no longer fits my business goals or I no longer have availability in my schedule. So that's easy way to do it Blame it on your business every time.

Amy Ragland:

Love it. That's the exact approach I would take too.

Treasa Edmond:

Alright, join us tomorrow for day three with Amy.

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