Houdini Clients: The Kind That Disappear

I’ve mentioned more than once the value of clients who provide regular ongoing assignments – 5 to 10 (or more) blogs per month. I gained two of these in July. Client #1 gave me 10 blogs to do in July and said we would increase the count to 20 for August. Client #2 said they would need 8 blogs per month. They prepaid for the first five.

The Disappearing Act

After completing the first round of articles for each client, they were very happy with the content they received. Client #1 paid promptly and said he would work on his content strategy for the next set of articles and get back to me. Client #2 expressed his approval for what I had provided and asked me to suggest some topics for the next round, which I did. Then, I waited.

A week went by and I heard nothing from either of them, so I sent Client #1 a message asking how he was coming on the content schedule. “Still working on it,” was the reply. I gave Client #2 another week and then I emailed him and asked if the topics were okay and whether I should start writing the next group of posts. He replied saying that he was very happy with my writing but wasn’t going to need any more articles right away; he’d get back to me. So, I contact Client #1 again. He’s still not quite ready.

Eventually, Client #1 stopped responding to my messages altogether. He seems to have disappeared. I had that happen with another client a few months ago. I provided him with lots of website content for his brand new website. He was set to launch the site. Then he disappeared. No more responses to my messages. His website still hasn’t launched.

Did he die? Did he lose his funding? Most times, you never find out with these Houdini clients. Thankfully, in each of these cases I had payments up front through Elance escrow or the client simply paying me direct, so I always got paid for the actual work that was done.

It Isn’t an Illusion

The point is – you can never bank too heavily on new clients. Actually, this is even true of long-term clients. You would hope the long-standing clients would at least give you some advance warning that the work is coming to an end, but often that is not the case. It is usually just a message telling you that they won’t need any more articles, as of today.

It makes planning your work schedule tough. It is why I continue to prospect for work even when my plate is full to overflowing. You never know when you’re going to lose a portion of that steady income you’ve grown to depend upon.

You never know which clients are going to turn into Houdinis, or when they’ll disappear, with or without warning. Just another reason why prospecting for new work and finding ways to say, “yes” to an over abundance is critical to building your business.

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