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Here’s my break-up email…

Posted by Deidre Rienzo on


In honor of Valentine’s Day and because I believe we should all be aiming to have the strongest and most respectful relationships possible, I love Deidre Rienzo’s latest post, an update on her stand-off with a nonpaying client and how she broke up with him. SPECIAL BONUS: an excellent example of a break up email message you are welcome to “steal” and adapt for your own purposes. (One of my clients already has!)

You may remember my December blog post about the client I made an exception for, did the work without a deposit but had to put my foot down to finally get paid.

Even though he got the payment situation together, he still continued to be a less-than-ideal client. Changing deadlines at the last minute, missing our scheduled phone call and then calling 5 other times during the day urgently needing to talk to me, etc.

I left corporate America to get away from this panic-driven mentality, and while I’m glad I gave the relationship a chance, it just wasn’t sustainable.

So here’s the email I wrote him:

I’m really sorry but I have some bad news. I was expecting your call at 11 and you didn’t call until much later. My day was booked. Now you’re trying to change the deadline and tell me you need this today? I work from a much more scheduled perspective. I’m sure there is a writer who can accommodate this but it’s really not my style and doesn’t let me do my best work.

I do apologize, but this is not a good fit for me. 

Of course I don’t want to leave you in the lurch — I’ll send a few ideas tomorrow like we previously discussed, but moving forward, I won’t be able to help.

Then he apologized again. And the next day, after I sent a few concepts over, he tried to get me to do some more work like none of this had ever happened, and I had to say no again. His level of persistence surprised me, actually!

During this experience, I learned a few things:

-People can still be nice-ish and be terrible clients
-We are the only ones who can stop clients from treating us badly
-You might have to be super-persistent during the breaking up part!
-You can still end things in a way you feel good about

The truth is, I’m so grateful to have amazing clients whom I love. Eight years ago, I might have thought this (bad client) was the norm—but it’s not. It doesn’t have to be. So, this Valentine’s Day, I say: Celebrate the clients you love and set the other ones free! There’s a lid for every pot…so by setting those pots, they will have a better chance of finding their lid (or becoming a better pot).

And of course, if you need help identifying and finding those better clients, come to the “Get Better Clients Bootcamp” in Chicago, May 2, 2017 and/or take advantage of Ilise’s free mentoring session. She can really help with this!

*Pot with lid photo, courtesy, Shutterstock.

Hi, I’m Deidre. In my posts, I talk about my voyage down the road of self-employment as a web copywriter, my achievements and roadblocks along the way, and what I’m learning as I go (with Marketing Mentor as my guide). To keep in touch, sign up for my un-newsletter here and get my freebie download, 12 Sparks to Write Sizzling, Audience-Attracting Website Words.


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