What to Do When a Client Falls off the Face of the Earth
I’ve been freelancing for awhile now and most clients are fantastic. We get along, they pay on time… there’s mutual respect. I really do believe most clients are good.
With that said, some clients tend to use you for a quick time before dumping you to the curb. I’ve only had this happen twice but it is jarring. This is what you can do when a client falls off the the map.
Look at the Big Picture
When this first happened to me, I felt horrible. Like a kid whose parents just got divorced, I too thought I was the problem. Was my work sub par? Was my personality displeasing? Did my recommendations fail to meet their expectations? The answers… No. No. No. At least… that was my conclusion. Remember – I never heard from these clients again.
Remember that you have tons of other clients who sing your praises every chance they get. They talk you up to their industry friends, they write recommendations for you, heck, they even send you Christmas cards. Look at the big picture. Realize it’s the client who’s out of step, not you.
Understand That Not Everyone Is as Strong as You Are
The world of contracts, negotiations, deadlines, etc. is not for everyone. With that said, it’s understandable that some people fail at their ventures and are too embarrassed to admit it. For example, let’s say you were hired to create an eBook for someone who has a grand vision about making Americans eat healthy. It’s a noble cause. The money is right. You take the contract. You deliver the content. You’re paid. But afterwards, you don’t hear much back. Now, the child of a divorce inside you gets insecure. Though in reality, chances are that his big dream never took off. The client failed but she’s too embarrassed to admit it to you. Some people are just like this. Their grand plan has failed and they are too embarrassed or too broke to show their face. It takes a certain kind of person to run a business. Not everyone will hang with you.
Curious about why exactly they left you? Reach out to your network. Find other people who knew the client. See what’s going on. Google information about them. Check whois information to see if they’ve sold the site. Look over social media profiles to see if the business is still going in any form – maybe you can just find a new contact at the company. If you want to get super creepy, see if they are working with a different freelancer. They have the right to do this of course.
Use It to Motivate You
Very early on I had a client fall off the face of the Earth. What did I do? I used it as motivation to be so freaking good that they would regret turning their back on me. I decided I would grow more powerful than their brand.
He who laughs last laughs loudest.
Okay. That may be a little intense. But it’s mostly true. I decided to keep kicking butt in such a way that I overshadow their work/the freelancers they hire. Then who cares that they ignored me? I wouldn’t still be working with them anyway.
Keep Communication Open
Losing touch with a client is never a good thing. Make sure getting in touch with you is easy. You never know. Maybe the reason they aren’t speaking to you is they lost your phone number and that’s all you gave them!