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Copywriter Seeks Advice on Dropping a Difficult Client

freelance copywriter

Hey Susan,

I’m dealing with an issue as a copywriter that I never expected, and I’m not sure what to do. Hoping you can give me some advice.

A client contacted me through my website last month about writing articles for his beauty website. Beauty is one of my favorite subject areas so i was thrilled when he agreed to my rate and timeline.

The first few articles went great. Then he decided he’d rather have me outline the articles, farm them out to cheaper writers, and have me edit. Ugh! The cheaper writers were, in theory, supposed to specialize in beauty writing too. But it’s been a total nightmare.

I end up doing heavy editing and some rewriting. The client wants me to outline using MarketMuse, Answer the Public, Google, and Frase. Then he wants me to edit using Grammarly, Hemingway, Word, and Google Docs, none of which are particularly compatible with one another.

Those are just a few examples of the many, many issues I’m having completing assignments according to his specs. I haven’t broached these problems with him as I understand he wants to save money, and I figured, with practice I’d settle in sooner or later. But it’s just misery.

I don’t get to do any of the things I love, as editing most of these articles takes longer than writing them from scratch! I’m not sleeping because I’m stressing, all night, about battling these systems and analytic tools the next day.

I have an email drafted saying, basically, I quit. But I keep rereading it and it just doesn’t seem right. Maybe it’s just because I’m saying goodbye to what otherwise is a decent client who pays his bills.

I’m pasting what I have below. Could I ask for your thoughts on if I’m way out of line with this? Thank you so much. I never thought I’d have a problem like this, and with a beauty client of all people!

Michelle K.

“Hello Tony,

I’m so sorry, but I can’t continue working with you in this capacity. I’m incredibly grateful for your time and this opportunity. Unfortunately, the past few weeks have made it clear that outlining, editing, and trying to work with all these different tools just isn’t in my wheelhouse. Writing is what I love and what I do best. There isn’t really a place for me to do that in the process we’ve established.

The last thing I want to do is leave you in the lurch, so let me know what I can do to ease this transition between now and the end of this month.

Thank you, again, for this opportunity and all the time you’ve invested.”


Hi Michelle,

I understand your situation and think you’re making a smart decision to kiss this client goodbye. You explained it very well, and I can see why you want out of the arrangement. No client is worth mental misery.

I think your email is excellent. My only concern is that you’re leaving the door wide open for a rush of work with this sentence, “… so let me know what I can do to ease this transition between now and the end of this month.”

Consider being more specific, such as “I can finish this last article on skincare, but I won’t be able to take on any new work from here on.”

Other than that, your email sounds good. Let me know how it all works out.

Susan Greene, Copywriter

Hey Susan,

Thank you so, so much for this response. I figured I’d wait to update you until I heard back from the client, which I now have  🙂 

He was extremely understanding and respectful. I’m looking forward to my sleep schedule getting back on track, and I’m grateful to have learned about myself that I greatly prefer copywriting over copy editing. More importantly, I learned that it’s okay to put my mental health ahead of a difficult client’s needs.

Thank you again!


Hi Michelle,

I’m glad the client was understanding. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes back to you at some point asking you to write his articles again. I know how talented and conscientious you are. Let him see the lack of quality and reliability he gets from other freelance copywriters, and he may develop a new appreciation for you.


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Wow! Sounds great! I’d call that a wrap. Thank you so much for bearing with me. This was well worth the effort. Really sends the message home – POW!

Corey Hooper
Creators Bounty
Lighthouse Point, Florida

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