The beginning of a freelance work relationship is similar to the start of a budding love affair.
You and the client are very much interested in the prospect of working together and seeing this project blossom. There’s excitement, a flourishing of ideas, a determination to make things work between you two.
Depending on how the relationship goes, things can become successful between the two of you. The client achieves his goals, you gain valuable experience, and the project becomes a big hit in the market. In the midst of it all, you realize that you don’t have to leave and find someone else anymore.
You’ve found your soul mate.
But then, you noticed that the romance isn’t as sizzling as it once was.
You check your email and noticed that the client hasn’t emailed or messaged you back since the big product launch last week. You only receive his message three days after emailing him about the next steps to take. Vague with only a couple of minor tasks to do, the client tells you to continue on with your great work and he’ll speak with you in a couple of weeks.
It’s Not Meant to Be After All
What just happened?
Months pass by and you’re still hanging on to the client’s words. Every email notification from him gets you all giddy and excited, making you jump on your seat and open your inbox in a flash.
A few sentences, some stuff about updates and improvements to the existing project, and a heads-up that he’s hiring a new freelancer to join the team. He believes she can bring in great ideas to the project, and that you will be working alongside her in the next couple of weeks.
The outcome could be otherwise, of course. It could be that there’s tension between you and the client because of a conflict of ideas, or the client isn’t as responsive or serious with the work as he once was.
Once these things happen, you need to sit back and think about what your next step should be. As much as you want to dedicate your entire time and effort into this relationship, you’re less productive, determined to work, and most importantly happy with what you’re doing.
And that’s not a good sign.
It’s Time to Let Go
No one wants give up on a freelance project. Personally, I’m all up for fighting for the working relationship by setting things straight and talking it out with the client—especially when I believe in the potential of the project at hand.
But there are instances when one feels that it’s time to let go. A breakup is never easy, but it may be the next best move to make if you want to grow and develop as a freelancer.
Here are seven (7) signs that will tell you that it’s time to let go of the project (and the client), and to move on to other opportunities:
- Being assigned tasks not included in your project proposal. The client says he doesn’t want to lose you as a member of his team, but he starts making you work on tasks that aren’t agreed upon in the initial project proposal. For instance, you’re a writer/designer/developer, but he’s making you do administrative work—without paying extra.
- Disrespect. This is a no-brainer. Make it known that you won’t tolerate people who disrespects you and your work.
- Constant tension between you and the client. The conflicts are difficult to solve, despite the number of Skype calls and emails that go by between you two. Because of this, it leaves you unhappy and less determined to put out your best effort for the project.
- The project becomes a nuisance to you. This is a huge warning sign that you must take into consideration. When you feel that the project is now a pain on the back to you, it may be time to let go and move on to projects that are more worthy of your time.
- Your client becomes too strict or unreasonable. Despite the fact that you’re the person with the solutions, the client still insists on his own and only wants you to follow orders.
- You feel that you’re wasting time and energy. Similar to point #4, you feel that you’re simply wasting your time and energy on the project. It may be best to make that one final call to end things and finally move on to new projects.
- You’ve lost interest and passion in your work. What’s the point? It’s time to move on.
As much as you loved working on this project or with the client, you have to put you and your freelance business at the top of your priorities.
If you feel that you are less productive, unhappy, and spending too much time arguing and ranting about how the project has turned out to be a total bust, let go. If the client isn’t being professional or is going over the boundaries of your contract—without realizing or apologizing for it—it may be best to move on to projects and clients who are much more worthy of your time and effort.
With that said, take action if you feel or notice any of these seven signs. Sit down with the client, talk about the issues, and let him or her know that you’d like to step down from the team. And lastly, do so in a professional manner so as to not leave things on a bad note.
Have you ever experienced or felt any of these seven signs? Have you ever decided to let go of the project and your client? Why and how did you do it?