It's a common complaint among freelancers: you work hard to build a stakeholder relationship, and when it's time to deliver, your stakeholder disappears. There are a few different options for dealing with a stakeholder who has ghosted you.
What is ghosting?
First off: what is ghosting? Ghosting is when a stakeholder stops responding to emails or texts without any warning or explanation at all. They just disappear into thin air and leave you hanging with an unfinished project.
How can this happen? Well, there are two main reasons why people might ghost their freelancers: either they've lost interest in the project or they are having financial problems that have forced them to cancel their contract with your company.
Ghosting will happen more often than not if you don't have strong contracts in place before starting work on a project. It's important to set clear expectations about deadlines, deliverables, and payment terms before beginning any work together so that both parties know exactly what they're getting into from the start!
- First, don't panic! It's normal to feel angry or upset when a stakeholder ghosts you, but it's important not to let those emotions get the best of you—you'll be able to come up with solutions much more clearly if you keep a cool head.
- If it's been a long time since you've heard from them, check in with them and see if they have any questions or concerns about your work.
- If they're still not responding, you can send a gentle reminder that you've done all the work necessary to complete their project and ask if they'd like you to proceed with the payment process.
- If they still don't respond after that, contact other people who might be able to help locate them, such as a friend or family member who might know what's happened (if there isn't anyone else involved in the project).
- If possible, document everything that happens with this stakeholder so that you have evidence if necessary later on down the line when trying to prove that they owe more money than they claim or that they were abusive toward others while working with them (if applicable).
- Send reminders about payment after a reasonable amount of time has passed since it was due (usually 30 days). This way, if they do decide to pay, then they'll know exactly how much time they have left before you take action against them legally for nonpayment of services rendered.
- If none of those options work out and/or if you feel unsafe doing so, contact law enforcement or a lawyer who can help protect your rights as an independent contractor and freelancer.