Self-employed and ghosted my client - wwyd?(5 Posts)
This is a WWYD, and I'm grateful for any thoughts or advice on this situation of my own making. Long, sorry!
I am self-employed as a professional consultant providing specialised services within a fairly niche area. I used to be employed full time in this area, and for the last 18 months have worked from home and part time doing short term pieces of consultancy, largely relying on word of mouth recommendations through old colleagues/network. So far I've been lucky to have made this work, working for three different organisations to date.
Throughout last year I had a few contracts with an organisation, the last of which finished in October. I had a good working relationship with them, and they liked me and were pleased with my work. When I finished my last contract I agreed to provide a few extra bits of handover - this would have taken me about a days work, and I agreed largely to keep the goodwill and because they told me they would need my services again in the first quarter of this year.
I then just didn't do it. I didn't provide the requested handover, and apart from one (friendly) Skype conversation in December when I told them I had been unwell and again promised to provide the notes, I haven't had any contact with them. They didn't contact me for more work.
At the time I was feeling overwhelmed from various things, my DD and DH were ill at different points (although not seriously), and now the clocks have changed and the weather has improved and I feel about 3000% more positive, I realise I was probably a bit depressed. The days work to complete the requested handover just seemed insurmountable. In spite of that I have managed to do few small pieces of work for other organisations in the last couple of months.
Now time has passed, the handover will have become fairly redundant, and the work they wanted me to help with is time dependent and will have passed. I now just think what the hell was I thinking, and is there anything I can do now? Should I contact the managers I worked for and apologise and explain, and if so what on earth is my explanation? Shall I claim I was ill, as in a way I was... I'm kicking myself because this client is likely to have led to more work and also more recommendations. I should add that they did pay me for my contract regardless.
I think the professional thing to do would be to now contact them but I've no idea what to say. I'm also terrified that I will somehow do this again, and scupper my chances of making a success of being self employed. Any advice very welcome!
I would put it behind you and move on. The very nature of freelancing is that many contracts are short term, you move from one client to the next and you have no loyalty to them (and they have no loyalty to you). This is SIX MONTHS ago we're talking about, the client has probably totally forgotten. Worst that can happen is that they just don't use you again. As for not letting it happen again, that's up to you. Don't take on more than you can realistically do, don't lie about timescales. Under promise and over deliver.
And don't take it personally when a client ghosts YOU.
I worked very successfully freelance writing for a lawyer for about a year. He would write a blog, I would then re-write a couple of versions of the same thing so he could post unique copy on various blogs. For some reason the lawyer thought I was a law student. No idea why he was under that impression, think he was possibly working with other writers who were students and got me muddled up. I got a bit confused when he emailed me asking when my exams were and when I would graduate - I replied saying I graduated a long time ago and not in law - and he never contacted me again. It's hard not to take it personally but you just have to pick yourself up and move on.
I agree with Tinfoil.
If the client had needed the work they would have chased you for it, and they didn't.
Don't refer to it next time you speak to them, unless they bring it up.
What is 'ghosting" in this context? I think it may have happened to me?
Ghosting just means cutting you dead - what you thought was a previously cordial relationship. They stop phoning, emailing, communicating. As if you don't exist.
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