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Ending the Ghosting Game: Building Respectful Relationships with Freelancers + Professionals

Ghosting professionals can be a disheartening experience, leaving us feeling disrespected and undervalued. As professional service providers, we bring valuable skills, experience, and irreplaceable creativity to the table.

I'd love to call out the impact of ghosting and work together to create a more open, respectful, and harmonious environment for freelancers and other professionals. I'm sharing my recent thoughts on ghosting in the professional world, its consequences, and how we can all contribute to a better way of doing business - a way where we all win.

What is "Ghosting"

Ghosting can take many forms, such as potential clients or clients who stop responding to emails, delay payments without explanation, or disappear after assigning a task without providing guidance or feedback. This unprofessional behavior is disrespectful and can leave freelancers feeling frustrated, powerless, and uncertain about their future. I've done it, there's a good chance you've done it and it's likely if you are a service provider someone has done it to you. Show of hands? It's time to make ghosting less common and foster open conversations that benefit both parties.

Zero Pressure, Zero Guilt:

Freelancers understand that not every inquiry will lead to a client. We are here to help if you need and want our services, and if not, that's perfectly okay. Professional services are an investment, and it makes sense to choose them only if they're appropriate for your business. The discovery process is designed precisely for this purpose, and there should be zero pressure or guilt attached to committing to what's best for your needs. It's okay to say no, we can handle it, in fact we'd love to hear it over silence.

Someone Will Always Do It for Less:

It's important to recognize that freelancers have unique skills and abilities developed through different routes. Factors like socioeconomic considerations, goals, expenses, and personal circumstances contribute to pricing. Freelancer rates are largely unregulated, which means there will always be someone who can and will do the job for less. Personally, my goal is to offer high-quality results while being transparent about the investment required to maintain top-notch services. Insulting or threatening won't change a freelancer's bottom line. We want to work with clients who genuinely value our offerings and are ready to commit and if it's not a match, skip the insults and find a better fit.

Options and Negotiations:

Keep in mind that the initial proposal is typically a starting point. There is often room for adjustments and negotiations that can work for both parties. If the price needs to come down, there might be trade-offs, or if you require more deliverables, the investment may need to be adjusted accordingly. Also, don't underestimate the value of a fun and exciting project. Open the conversation, express your needs, and explore if there's room for adjustments that benefit both parties.

Sometimes It Isn't a Good Fit:

Not every opportunity or timing aligns perfectly. If a project or service doesn't feel right, it's okay to decline. It in everyones best interests to maintain a professional and respectful relationship. By doing so, you keep doors open for future collaboration, referrals, and community building. Freelancers have vast networks and can potentially connect you with other creatives who might better suit your needs. Remember, even if we don't work together, we still appreciate and value being part of the community.

I don't refer folks who ghost or consider them for partnerships because I don't find that behavior to be something I want to invite in or will be a positive experience for a referral.

The Won't-Ghost Promise, together now

Communication is essential. Start the conversation with a 'Won't-Ghost Promise,' inspired by my esteemed mentor Joanie Simon. This agreement is simple - it emphasizes that as a professional conducting business, I expect and appreciate a response from potential clients regarding intentions for moving forward, whether it's a yes or a no. Providing this feedback helps me to manage my business effectively and allocate my time and energy where they are needed.

The Impression We Leave:

Ghosting someone sends a message that you don't respect their time, even if it's not what we mean. It leaves a bad taste behind and that lingers. I hope folks will grow comfortable exploring their options knowing that it's okay and important to say no sometimes. When you thoughtfully make the best decision for you and own it - it could lead to future opportunities instead of closing doors and having to hope you never run into them again.

Maybe start here

"Thank you very much for sharing your offerings. We've taken the time for consideration and decided it isn't a good fit for our current budget but would love to keep the door open for future possibilities."

"We love your work (that's why we came to you), but I think for this project it's not quite the right fit. Our timeline doesn't align and we're going to take a different direction with the style. We appreciate your time and would love to hang on to your contact info and keep you in mind for future projects."

I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas too. Feel free to DM me on Instagram or shoot me a message - I love to talk shop and as a freelancer, I don't have coworkers and depend on community. Thanks for being here.


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