Quitting any job can be a stressful task fraught with perceived peril. As a freelancer, you already work diligently to keep yourself booked with work, which is not an easy task. But what do you do when you need to quit a freelance job? Quitting just one job could easily lead to more lost work, it is a small world after all. Below are six simple steps that can help you quit a job and not end your career in the process.
1. Give Notice
At a typical day job, you would give your employer a minimum of a two-week notice that you are quitting. You should do the same for a freelance client. The amount of time needed can vary greatly depending on the type of work you do, and you should talk with your client about the length of time you will continue working. It should go without saying that you should continue to work on the project during that time.
2. Help Find Your Replacement
If your area of work is in high demand, considering directing your client to a freelancer that could take over the project, maybe even make the introduction. This simple gesture can go a long way to smoothing over any hard feelings or keeping your client from being left hanging.
3. Have a Turnover Package Ready
Just like at any job, if you aren’t going to complete a large project, you should take the time to compile all information necessary so that the individual who picks up the work can see where you were and what still needs to be done. It would also be in your interest to compile the turnover package for free of charge.
4. Keep in Mind Why You Quit
Maybe you didn’t have time for the project. Maybe the work was too tedious or the client too demanding. No matter your reason for deciding to quit the project, remember why and keep your eye out for similar situations in the future.
5. Be Nice
It is always a temptation to tell a client why you are leaving, and you should, professionally. If your reasoning is timing or ability, share your concerns. However, if you feel the project or client is too tedious, find a way to explain your decision without burning any bridges.
6. Rely on a Contract
One of the best things you can do for yourself as a freelancer is to have a standard contract that all new clients sign. In that contract, include a clause outlining the expectations if either of you decides to terminate the business transaction. This should include how you/the client will inform the other of the decision (in writing, in person, via email, etc.), how much advance notice must be given, and how fees will be handled (returns of partial payments, etc.) With a signed contract, both you and your clients will feel safeguarded.
Freelancing is a career path that allows for freedom in many aspects. However, with that freedom comes the responsibility to tread lightly with clients and build lasting relationships that will bring you more work.
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