Signs It’s Time to Find Someone New
I’ve been working directly with clients since I left my newspaper job (it kinda left everybody in the newsroom, really) and my dairy farm at the end of 2011. More on the goats some other time. But one of the early lessons I had to learn when working with clients was, in the immortal words of Kenny Rogers, “when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em, when to walk away and when to run.”
“’Em” being clients, of course.
I won’t insult you or them with cutesy caricatures describing the issues I’ve seen because, frankly, they all had different problems that were eventually lethal to the working relationship. But Eagle Eye, our editor, thought a piece on ending professional relationships without resorting to a nuclear option would be useful.
I Quit a Client This Week, the Timely Edition
I hate it when I can’t connect with a client. It drives me nuts. Deep down, I’m a people pleaser… but if you let that get out, I’ll deny it until the end of time.
Anyway, this week marked the first time we’ve let a client go as In The Cloud Copy. I probably should send them a cake. The client was nice enough, but we just weren’t connecting professionally. They would submit a request for material, I would interpret it and brief the team, someone would do the writing, and the client would tell me we had whiffed (as in “swing an’a miss!”).
Whiffing happens. But, unless we’re just too far apart, it doesn’t happen consistently. Usually we work through the process and learn what it is the client needs within the first few pieces. But, with this one, we just couldn’t get on the same page. It was time for all of us (including the client) to stop fighting that losing battle. The client deserved better, and so did we.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a friend and fellow copywriter had started hunting for new Enterprise-level clients to mix things up a bit and let her drop a few problematic clients herself. So, breaking up was kind of the theme of the week.
Again, it was no one’s fault. These things happen. But there are always warning signs.
How to Tell the Relationship Is Over
For me, it was pretty clear. The client and I were both frustrated and just weren’t creating great content together. But my friend and her client, and even Past Me, didn’t always have such cut-and-dried situations. Let’s look at some red flags.
- Your content orders seem uninspired. Sure, your client needs what they need, but when they do their own content strategy and it’s been rolling downhill pretty hard, it’s time for a talk. Dear client, what’s wrong? Can we talk? This can also be a problem for the client in regard to writers. Everybody has bad days, for sure, but if every day is a bad day, it’s time to have a sit-down.
- Communication is breaking down. Remember when you’d shoot a question to your client or creative and they’d respond within minutes? Sure, they’re busy, but it shouldn’t take days to get an answer to a very simple question, like when they think they’ll have that thing ready or where your cashola happens to be. A slowdown in communication may mean that as far as your professional relationship goes, they’re more out than in.
- Payments or invoices are showing up late. Believe it or not, creatives like to be paid in a timely manner, and most clients don’t mind complying. When your creatives or clients stop prioritizing billing, they’re probably focused elsewhere. Like UpWork…
- Dead. Silence. One of the most frustrating parts of working with freelancers is that it’s not a question of “if” they flake out; it’s really a matter of “when.” Life is complicated, but you can make your marketing less so with reliable content firms and copywriting agencies that have your back and a proper business license. If you insist on working with freelancers, especially those from overseas, make sure you have all sorts of contact information. Telephone numbers, email addresses, Skype accounts, you get the drift.
I’m Calling You… To Action!
Look, I know breaking up is hard to do… but sometimes it’s the best way for you and your former client or creative to move forward. Not all relationships are meant to be forever, no matter how much you may want them to work out.
We know the pain of loss, but we’re also here to help when you find yourself with no writers and a deadline looming. In The Cloud Copy would love a chance to impress you with engaging copy and content that converts.
Right now, we’re offering a $250 website content special so you can see for yourself what a flash of inspiration can do for your content. Or, if you’ve had a site for a while, we’d be happy to perform a complimentary site content audit. Either way, no obligation and no sales pressure. Click here to email me directly, send me a message on LinkedIn or schedule your own appointment by using this link.