Maybe we've all been there and had those clients who seemed super excited to begin working on their projects and in the midst of things, they disappear. In my entire four years of operating my own business, I've only had two clients who abandoned major projects. To this very day, I still couldn't tell you why
For starters, most people will give the impression that they are super serious about building their brands, online presence, and growing their businesses in the best way possible. On the receiving end of things, you're excited for them, right? I understand things happen in life but what's so hard about making a commitment to something and involve the time of someone else just to waste it? It's not only a huge waste of time, it's pretty dang inconsiderate.
In the beginning stages of starting my business, it took some adjusting my own schedule and work ethic to avoid as many issues as possible, Mostly, so I wouldn't lose the few clients I did have. I've had my share of disappointing my clients with being tardy with deadlines and sometimes crappy tech issues that once cost me a major project. I've since improved my consistency and continue to improve daily.
If you're dealing with clients who were all serious business and ready to dive into working with you but later abandoned ship - here are 3 things you can and should do to handle those situations.
1. HAVE A POLICY IN PLACE
This was one big mistake I had in the beginning. Not that I didn't have a policy, I just completely failed to enforce it. I was the "yes girl" back then because I wanted so bad to please everybody just to keep coins in my pocket. In return, my policies were unread, abused, and misused. One thing to note is that people will indeed be people- if you don't position yourself as an authority who values your time - others will take advantage of that.
Your policies or "terms" to working with you should be clear and concise. It should also outline the fine print where you set boundaries and expectations. At least this way, you would be protected should any issue arise. I quickly learned and implemented project fees or "ghost" fees in cases where abandonment is present.
2. GIVE FAIR WARNING
Remember those two clients I mentioned in the beginning of this post? Well one thing they both had in common was that they paid me $400+ in a project advance and literally bounced into thin air within weeks. Maybe they realized they weren't ready to grow within their business and just had money to blow. Maybe they just got "too busy" - Either way, follow ups are ideal. After a certain amount of time (via policy) or however, shoot your client an email letting them know 3 major points:
Below is an example of an email template I would use for clients if they fail to communicate with me after a certain time period. Keep it short, professional, and to the point. I tend to keep digital copies of agreements and will attach to email for convenience in this case.
3. FIRE THEM
I know this may seem harsh just by the looks but trust me when I say you don't have to mail them a pink slip. If you find that a client is often consistent with their own serious business- it may be time to let them go. Send off an email explaining why you may no longer be a good fit for the things they need. Most times, I find that referring them to others help. This varies though because I despise referring clients to others if I feel the client will waste their time as well.
Don't feel bad for taking matters into your own hands. I find it so uncommon for people to waste money like this for their own goals. Clients who don't value your time can cause great setbacks within your business. A token I've learned from my own experience. Do what you got to do in order to keep the "happy" in what you do.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH CLIENTS WHO ABANDON SHIP WITHOUT NOTICE?