Do you believe in ghosts? I do, because I recently encountered one. A client ghost, that is.
New to “ghosting?” It’s being ignored by a client despite pokes and reminders. When you’re a gig worker, being ignored ranges from downright annoying to a major hit on the bank account. On behalf of freelance workers everywhere, please do not ghost your contract workers.
Respect Your Freelancer Employee
Freelance workers trust you for their livelihood. Ignoring them is equivalent to the government shutdown: no pay, but still all our bills. Some of us do have some savings to float, but that’s not the case for everyone. Our financial circumstances vary from person to person. Some freelancers might be new to the business, so they don’t have those savings. Or, they have been hit with some emergency that drained their pocketbook. I knew an artist who had an emergency appendectomy and had to pay $10,000 out of pocket. That was pretty much their entire back-up fund.
Your work relationship means we reserve time on our calendar for you, especially if we have an ongoing agreement. Not communicating your needs means we’re missing opportunities to fill our slate with paying work.
In short, don’t screw us over. This is our livelihood.
How to Becoming a Ghost
Communication is the most important part of your relationship with the freelancer. It begins the day you hire us with the contract. Dictate the terms of your agreement and be clear what work the freelancer is doing for you, headlines, and payment schedule.
Just like you would your boss, be courteous. Let us know if you’ll be out of touch for an extended period.
When a freelancer pings you to check in, take the two minutes to respond, even if it’s, “I’m sorry, I’ve been swamped with work. I’ll get back to you on this <date/time.>” Follow through. At least we’ll know you are alive and doing well.
If circumstances have changed, don’t ignore us. Be honest. Ask for a contract pause. Tell us payment will be late and why. Or, fire us. We’d much rather know we’re being let go than waiting in limbo. Let us move on to other clients. And please, if we have done stellar work for you, give us positive feedback. Offer to be a reference or refer us to other clients.
It’s that simple. Keeping your freelancers in the loop shows your respect for us as human beings. We value your time and money, please value ours.
In the future, I’ll write about what freelancers can do about being ghosted.