Clients can be hard work, but it's important to know when it's time to cut them loose. As an entrepreneur, you can't afford to let toxic clients take up so much of your energy that it affects your business, your health, and your family.
The best way to handle difficult clients is to keep the lines of communication open and make sure they understand why you're ending the relationship. It's also important to end it in a professional and respectful manner, and never let emotions get in the way of your decision-making.
Ultimately, a good relationship is worth maintaining and can be a huge boost to your freelance business, so it's important to have the right mindset when deciding how to end the relationship with a client. But sometimes it's inevitable to lose a client - and in some cases, it's not an easy decision.
If the relationship has gone sour, here are some steps you can take to break it up in a way that's respectful and won't hurt your business or reputation:
Develop an evaluation system for your client’s behaviors (see one MSP leader’s example here) so that you can spot problems early on. You can also use your scorecard to help you decide whether or not it’s time to let a client go.
Create a task list for you and your client, listing everything that needs to happen before the project is over: What documents do you need to hand over, what do they need to pay, what assets are still in their possession?