Any freelancer will tell you that there’s a natural ebb and flow to business. Clients come, clients go. Often times, it’s nothing personal, just a business decision. Perhaps the gap you filled no longer exists as happens with short-term projects, perhaps their need has reached the point where it makes better financial sense to hire a full-time employee.
Sometimes, however, the working relationship ends for other reasons. When the relationship itself no longer works for one or both parties. In these situations, it starts to feel a bit more personal because emotions are involved, but really when you think about it, it’s just another business decision. The decision to move on is usually the best one for everyone involved.
5 Signs That Your Working Relationship is No Longer Working:
#1: Feeling Dread – If seeing an email from your client causes you to feel anything other than happiness, it’s time to reconsider the relationship. Feeling dread, resentment, or anxiety is a sign that the dynamic has changed to a negative one. Whatever the reason, unless it can be resolved, it’s time to move on.
#2: Personality Clash – When you just don’t get along with the new person in charge of interacting with you. It happens. Often times freelancers outlive employees at an organization, which is an intangible benefit to the client as you end up providing continuity on a project. It also means new personalities, a new working dynamic and new expectations, and sometimes there just isn’t a fit.
#3: Internal Struggle – If the organization itself is struggling with an internal crisis, sometimes it’s best for you to step away from that situation. Internal upheaval tends to lead to big changes and unfortunately, as a contractor, you have little or no control over the outcome.
#4: Broken Boundaries – When a one-time exception to the rule becomes the new norm. Perhaps somewhere along the lines, boundaries got loosened and expectations shifted to make this one-time exception the rule, and now you feel stuck with an overly demanding client who no longer respects your rules.
#5: Financial Red Flags – If your always-pays-on-time client is suddenly misplacing invoices or paying late, consider this the ultimate relationship red flag. As a contractor, you are not always privy to the financial updates, but take it as a sign that the company is struggling and get out before you end up on the angry creditor list.
As with any relationship, sitting down and having an honest and open conversation can sometimes resolve the issue. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of reestablishing boundaries and managing expectations on both sides, but if these warning signs continue to crop up (and they usually do), take it as a sign that it’s time to move on.