By Amy Sept
Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s them. Whatever the situation, circumstances have changed and you have decided that you’d like to end an engagement with a freelancer you’ve been working with. What can you do to leave your relationship in a good place?
First, get over your guilt
Ending any relationship can be tough. But, as they say, business is business—and as a business owner, a freelancer can understand that change happens. Maybe the project’s scope changed and their expertise is no longer required. Maybe you can no longer afford them. Maybe they’ve breached the terms of your agreement, making too many mistakes.
Whatever the situation, ending things in a timely way may ultimately be the best move for both of you, perhaps for one of these reasons:
- Your business isn’t benefiting from the partnership anymore, and ending it can free resources for you to find someone with skills that are needed.
- The freelancer is wasting their talent when they could be pursuing other clients and projects where their work will have a more valuable impact.
That said, being timely doesn’t mean you should end things immediately. Where applicable, provide the amount of notice required within the governing agreement or wait until the contract is up for renewal.
SECOND, BE HONEST
Having a diplomatic but open conversation about why you’re ending the relationship can make it easier for a freelancer to understand where you’re coming from. It can also provide a good opportunity for them to learn—something that’s especially true if your primary issue is something like the quality of their work.
If that’s the case, be firm but discuss your concerns with them. “This is a benefit to you and the freelancer. They get to learn from the constructive feedback and you’ll get the type of work you need from them,” said personal finance writer Taylor Gordon in a blog post about delivering effective feedback. She offers several tips, such as:
- Focusing on the work rather than making it personal.
- Being careful that you don’t hit a condescending tone, especially if you’re communicating via email.
- Inviting them to provide you with feedback. Sometimes when a relationship isn’t working you’re both well aware of it, and there may be something you can change to be a more effective partner should both parties decide to contract again in future.
Finally, don’t forget that this is a business deal
Ending things with a freelancer can be a very stressful, emotional, and personal interaction—but remember that it’s still business. Here are a few things to consider:
Review your contract to ensure any requirements are met, particularly the termination clause. For example, there may be a requirement for you to provide a certain amount of notice or a fee for ending an engagement early.
Get everything in writing. Whether you discuss the situation via email or in conversation, be sure to share a written record that reflects your discussion including the timeline and any actions needed by you or the freelancer.
Have a plan to wrap things up. For example, are there deliverables …read more
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