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“Don’t Call Me No Mo and Don’t Text Me No Mo.”:  How to break up professionally

When you’re working with clients, you’ll likely run into a situation where you’re no longer on the same page, which is fine.

These situations come and go and you just have to navigate them with as much grace as possible. In the case that you feel the need to “break up” with someone professionally, you shouldn’t feel bad about it, instead, you should prepare yourself for it and here’s how you do it. 

Weigh the Pro’s & Con’s 

Ok, here we go. When you’re thinking about breaking up with someone professionally, it’s necessary to think it through for a minute. What are the pros and cons of you letting this client go? Can you handle the financial consequences (ie, losing income)? Will it benefit you to stop working with them or will you miss out on any partnerships or benefits? Weighing the pros and cons should be your first mode of action to determine whether or not this is a good move for you. If you determine that it is, then move to step 2. 

Fulfill Outstanding Obligations 

If there is anything you owe your client, be sure to deliver on it before you terminate the relationship. Making sure that all obligations have been met on your end will make for a smoother transition. If for some reason you aren’t able to deliver, make sure to properly document why you won’t or cannot deliver on anything contractually or mutually agreed upon. 

Be Forward 

Let’s not beat around the bush here, you need to be up front about why you’re breaking up with your client. That isn’t to say that you should tell them every single detail but you should be honest. Clients need to know what you expect of them the same way they’d want you to know what they expect from you. It’s okay to be forward and honest about why you think this business relationship should end, you just have to find the right words. Make sure that in doing so, you take full responsibility for any part that you played in the relationship ending. 

Remain cordial (don’t burn bridges) 

Be as kind as possible when ending a business relationship. You want to be able to leave the agreement without burning any bridges. While the reason you’re ending the relationship may not be of any malpractice of yours, it’s best practice to make sure you aren’t ruining any future business opportunities. Even if this client never works with you again, you never know who they may refer in the future based on how you handle this relationship. 

Overall, work break ups happen and it’s not alway because something went wrong, it could be that you and that client are just not a good fit for each other. It happens and it’s okay. Just know you have options as a business owner and you’re allowed to let a client know that your business relationship has come to an end. 

ifie Brandon

Ifie Natasha Brandon is an Atlanta native writer, author, and content strategist who believes in the power of authenticity and creative storytelling. She graduated from Kennesaw State University with a bachelors in Human Services and received her Masters in Creative Business Leadership from Savannah College of Art and Design.

With ten years of experience as a multi medium storyteller, she helps entrepreneurs and organizations tell stories that build and impact their community through her company, The Write Pieces. She is a newly certified yoga instructor with a passion for connecting with creative women and when she isn't working, she's watching shows, taking long walks in nature or hanging with her husband and two kids.