Everything seems to be moving along smoothly with your new project. Your client has given you rave reviews about your work. As a matter of fact, he has discussed a possible project in the near future. The sky’s the limit (so you thought). Life was grand until you receive a cryptic email from him that he decided to go with someone else for the remainder of the project and a, “thank you for your diligent work.” You are taken aback – all the way back. So, what do you do now? Here are a few tips on how to handle being fired without cause:
Ask for feedback – don’t take it personally.
It’s hard not to take it personally when you’re fired from a project without cause. Politely respond to your client’s email and ask for a reason he/she decided to let you go. Use the following as a good example.
Hello [Your Client’s Name],
Thank you for contacting me regarding your decision. I am sorry to hear that things did not work out as planned. I am curious why you decided to end the project. Can you provide me with feedback? I would greatly appreciate it.
If your client doesn’t respond, just let it go. It just wasn’t meant to be. When one door of opportunity closes, a better opportunity is on the horizon.
Avoid badmouthing your client.
You may feel a sense of relief after badmouthing your client on social media or company review sites like Yelp.com; beware, it could backfire. If your future client discovers that you used this sort of tactic to get revenge, he/she may be reluctant to do business with you. Think about it, would you want to work with someone who could potentially drag your reputation through the trenches if things do not work out? So, think twice before giving someone bad reviews.
Professionalism goes a long way.
One mistake that many entrepreneurs make is acting in an unprofessional manner after being let go. Make sure you keep all negative comments and email blasts to yourself. If you need to express your anger, pull out a notebook and write down how you feel. Take a 15 minute walk and vent to yourself if you have to. But, never send a negative email or make an angry phone call to a client about being let go. You never know what could transpire in the future.
For example, there have been instances where people have been let go from projects, but the client recommended them for other projects. In contrast, suppose you blow up at a client, and a future client finds out through word-of-mouth. You will never live it down. Remember, professionalism goes a long way!
Always have a Plan ‘B’:
Remember when your mentor (or mom) suggested to never ‘leave your eggs in one basket’? She was right. Act as though there is no guarantee for ANY project because there isn’t a guarantee. If you have this kind of mindset from the very beginning, you won’t be completely surprised if you are fired from a project. Make sure you always have one or two other opportunities lined up, just in case things do not work out. According to automobile racer, Bobby Unser, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” Don’t wait until you’re fired to start looking for new opportunities; start searching today.
Lastly, before starting any new project with a client, make sure you state, within your contract, that all monies must be paid in full – even if they decide to end a project. Making this clear within your contract, will protect you in the event your client decides not to pay his/her outstanding balance. Again, nothing is guaranteed in business. Always have a Plan ‘B’ in the event a client decides not to pull up his/her end of the bargain.