The ten stages of CV rejection grief

CV rejection grief

Pitching for business is a big part of being a successful Limited Company contractor, after all it’s how you bag those clients and all important contracts. But here at Intouch we like to mix it up a little bit, and see the humour in what it’s really like to work for yourself.

 

So please, sit back, enjoy, and take our blog on the ten stages of CV rejection with a very big pinch of salt. After all, we’re sure everyone can all identify with at least one of these stages!

 

1. Denial

There’s no way your potential client would have said ‘no’ to hiring you. Maybe they’ve lost your CV, or maybe mistaken you for someone else?

 

You hold out in hope that they’ve made a terrible mistake, and are soon to rectify this unexplainable situation with an offer and extravagant apology…

 

2. Obsession

You refresh your email inbox so many times that you develop an email obsession.

 

With your Apple watch buzzing every five minutes and your phone flashing at you demanding your attention, it’s tough not to take a peek (even if it is spam).

 

3. Paranoia

You start to wonder if the client has been struck by lightning, kidnapped, or worse – lost their internet connection. You begin to worry about their wellbeing, even though you’ve never met them.

 

Trawling their personal Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts has become a daily occurrence, in the quest for signs of life.

 

4. Disbelief

Wait a minute! The client has just shared a hilarious cat video, clearly demonstrating both vital life signs and successful internet usage. In your overly excited euphoric state, you must resist the urge to like, share or comment on the post.

 

But before you hit that ‘post’ button, remember! Social stalking is creepy, so resist the urge…

 

5. Envy

A contracting colleague posts a recent project with accompanying glowing testimonial from said client you’re trying to impress. You instantly delete all forms of contact with your colleague and deny all knowledge of ever knowing them.

 

What about the unwritten code of contractor brother / sisterhood, how could they?

 

6. Anger

You see other contractors’ work which they’ve completed for said client, and know you could do a better job.

 

Anger takes over and you begin to question whether the client has undergone a recent lobotomy.

 

7. Contradiction….whatever

Actually, the client doesn’t deserve you or your skills, and by not getting back to you they’ve done you a massive favour.

 

You didn’t want to work for them anyways…..(silently scowls).

 

8. Bargaining

After much deliberation and soul searching, you realise that it might have been your fault.

 

You re-read the job specification and the response you gave, checking whether every word articulated your skills and professionalism as you had hoped.

 

Maybe it was your latest LinkedIn photo that put them off? One of your mates told you it was a great photo, but recent events have left you questioning your friendship…

 

9. Depression

That’s it, you’re never approaching another client for work ever again.

 

You start to google ‘professional cat trainer’ as that was your dream career as a child. There must be a demand for it somewhere…

 

10. Acceptance

You’ll never win every contract you apply for, and the sooner you realise this the sooner you can stop beating yourself up over it.

 

Maybe you’re too qualified, or not qualified enough, or maybe the client has moved the goalposts since you applied. Whatever the circumstances, you’ve chosen a career in contracting for a reason, so don’t ever let rejection stop you from doing what you do best – being the contracting superstar that you are!

 

Got a funny contracting emotion you’ve experienced? Share them with us! We’d love to read them.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

5 steps to take when defusing an unhappy client

Defusing an unhappy client

Quite possibly one of the worst parts of contracting or freelancing is when you’ve put your best into a contract, only for the client to be upset or dissatisfied with your work. Clearly at some point something has gone wrong and, whilst it may not be you that caused it, you’re left to pick up the pieces and salvage what’s left of the working relationship.

 

Hopefully you’ll never need this blog, but should you ever find yourself in this situation we’ve devised 5 steps to take, to help turn the situation around.

 

Step 1 – Keep calm and carry on

A tough step to begin with, especially when your talent and professionalism is being questioned, but one which you must start negotiations off with. Remember that as soon as you lose your temper you’ve also lost your ability to argue your case, so keep a level head when discussing the issue with your client.

 

Let them tell you how they’re feeling and take notes, as this will help you to understand what the issue is and how to prevent it from happening in the future. By remaining neutral during this time you’ll also be demonstrating to your client that you’re willing to hear their side of the story, that you’re able to listen, and that you’ve remained professional throughout.

 

Step 2 – What’s the problem?

Whatever the issue is, you must get to the root of why they are unhappy. In this industry reputations precede contractors, therefore if you wish to continue contracting in the future you must make amends with your current client before moving on. After all, you never know who they may know or what influence they could have on you in future.

 

At some point during the contract your expectations did not meet theirs, so ensure you identify when and why this happened, and who the blame lies with.

 

Step 3 – Is there a solution?

If you have fulfilled your side of the contract exactly as requested and have no reason to offer a solution, then you must let the client know this at this stage.

 

If you have made a mistake, as we all do from time to time, apologise and offer a solution. Whatever this may be (rectifying the issue or maybe offering a refund) consider what value the client holds to you professionally, your reputation and whether doing extra work is worth it in the end.

 

Step 4 – Find out what they’re thinking

If you do rectify the issue, ensure you ask your client whether you have satisfied their expectations as soon as you have completed the work.

 

We’re not suggesting you grovel to your client, but once they believe the contract has been completed it’s never a bad idea to apologise once more. After all, you’ve admitted your mistakes, rectified the issue and then apologised – there’s not much else you could have done!

 

Step 5 – Learn from the experience

Now that the issue is in the past, it’s time to consider what’s happened, what it has taught you and how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

 

Even clients can get it wrong sometimes (although we doubt they’re more forthcoming when admitting their faults!) so it’s worth taking a step back to see how this experience has made you a better Limited Company contractor. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

 

Have you dealt with an unhappy client before?

If the answer is ‘yes’, what tips do you have that helped defuse the situation? Share them with us, your contracting colleagues will thank you, especially if they ever have to use one!

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

What can you do if your client cancels your contract?

Your client cancels your contract – what now?

 

Getting culled by a client is no fun. It can deal a huge blow to your cashflow and confidence. Whether you’re at fault or faultless, it pays to know what to do when a client calls time on your contract. In this blog, we show you how to conquer contract cancellation (without reaching the end of your tether).

 

We’re optimists here at Intouch, but even we accept that the very crème de la crème of contractors will probably experience a client pulling the plug on their contract at some point.

Regardless of your client’s reasons for cancelling your contract, you should always try to part ways with some of your priorities firmly intact.

For one thing, you’ll want your fees paid up to the moment of termination. You’ll also benefit from being able to use your client as a referee and, crucially, you don’t want to burn your bridges with this (or any other) client.

 

Why do clients cancel contracts?

Your client can cancel your contract for a whole host of reasons – even on a whim (usually covered by an all-encompassing “for any reason” termination clause).

Here’s some of the more common reasons clients decide to call it quits:

  • Incompetence (unsatisfactory service quality, missed milestones/deadlines, etc)
  • Misconduct (theft, abuse and so on)
  • Changing business needs (using in-house staff to provide the contracted service)

 

As a result, many clients insist on contractors inserting contractual clauses that cover these eventualities and many more besides.

 

What rights do you have if your client cancels your contract?

Having your contract terminated before time isn’t a good look regardless of your employment status.

But as a contractor or freelancer, you won’t enjoy the same rights as an employee. Regardless of your IR35 status, you’re entitled to be paid for the work you’ve done plus any expenses. You can also exercise the following rights (assuming they’re in your contract):

  • Cancellation rights – where your client pays you a sum of money if your contract is cancelled at short notice (before it gets underway)
  • Compensation rights – this is based on a ‘kill fee’ clause, where your client pays you a set fee if they cancel or ‘kill’ your contract. Popular in the editorial industry – where some writers receive payment on publication – it ensures that, even if your masterpiece doesn’t see the light of day, you won’t be left out-of-pocket
  • Payment covering your notice period

 

That said, contractors and freelancers aren’t generally entitled to:

 

Most of your rights stem from your contract, so make it tight!

 

How can you enforce your rights when your client cancels your contract?

When you’re contracting via a Limited Company, your company should have a contract in place with your client.

If your client bails out of your contract prematurely, contract law will try to put you in the position you would have been in had your client continued the contract.

Depending on whether your client’s cancellation of your contract amounts to a breach of its terms, you may be able to sue for damages but, before you call in the legal eagles, there’s a couple of preventative steps you can take.

 

1. Talk to your client

BT’s slogan – “it’s good to talk” – is definitely onto something.

Legal action can be costly, time-consuming and energy-sapping. Plus, a court case can always go either way, so you’re effectively taking a punt that you’ll land on the right side of a judge’s gavel.

With this in mind, why not reach out to your client to negotiate an out-of-court settlement? If your efforts fail and you eventually end up in court, you’ll receive credit for going down the more amicable road first. Court should always be a matter of last resort.

 

2. Write to your client

If peace talks don’t do the trick, try writing to your client outlining your concerns about the breach of contract, which you’ll seek damages for if uncorrected.

Typically, such a ‘letter before action’ is enough to kick-start negotiations.

 

Take legal action against your client

If your appeal to negotiate with your client falls on deaf ears, it’s time to take matters into your own hands:

  • The quickest and cheapest way to recover £100,000 or less in fees (plus costs) is to use the HM Courts and Tribunals Service Money Claim Online platform
  • Hiring a Credit Services Association-registered debt collection agency is probably the next best option in terms of cost and convenience
  • Finally, you can use the Law Society’s Find a Solicitor online service to appoint a solicitor, so you can potentially “have your day in court”

 

As part of our comprehensive accountancy service we offer advice on a range of commercial and practical issues. You’ll get unlimited advice based specifically on your circumstances. Join Intouch today or contact us about switching your accountant.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

Flaky clients – a step by step guide to dealing with late payments

Dealing with late payments – part two

As a contractor or freelancer, one of your main gripes will probably be late payments from clients. They promise to adhere to your payment terms and conditions, you complete the contract on time and then payment never seems to arrive when expected…

 

In last week’s blog we explored the steps you can take to prevent late payments and how to ensure your client is aware of your payment terms. In this blog we take a look at what you can do if you happen to find yourself dealing with a late paying client.

 

What to do if your client doesn’t pay on time:

 

1. Frustrating? Yes, but remember to keep your cool. Firstly, send a polite, straightforward reminder. Tell them you expect payment within 7 days and ask them to give you a date on which you can expect to receive it.

 

2. Phoning the client may mean you get paid more quickly. Whatever excuse the client gives (lost in spam folder, accidentally deleted etc), sympathise with them, as the excuse may be genuine. It’s not worth losing your professional reputation over. Calmly remind them of the due amount and ask them when payment will be made.

 

3. Keep a record of any expenses you’re incurring as a result of the delayed payments and share it with the client, so that they’re aware of any penalties accruing.

 

4. If there is a legitimate reason for non-payment, you may consider arranging payment in instalments. Depending on your circumstances, this could be better for you than no payment at all.

 

5. If your first reminder hasn’t had the desired effect, it’s time for another. State that it’s your second reminder, how much you’re due and how many days late the payment is. Make it clear when you expect to hear from them with a resolution and if you have included a late payment clause in your contract, remind them of it. If this clause has begun to rack up a charge, let them know the running total.

 

6. The Late Payment of Commercial Debt (Interest) Act (1988) was amended in 2002 to include fixed penalties in addition to interest. Make it clear that you will enforce this if an account becomes overdue.

 

7. If it’s looking like you’re going to lose out, your contractor insurance provider should be able to advise you on what to do.

 

8. If you believe there’s no hope of payment, you can get a solicitor or online debt recovery firm to issue a “letter before action” which threatens (politely!) to commence wind up proceedings if payment is not received in X days. This should cost under £10.

 

9. See the GOV.UK guide to late payment legislation for useful information on your options if you’re owed money.

 

And what NOT to do!

But before you do, read the following 6 steps, to help you keep your temper.

 

1. Don’t lose your cool! Remain professional however annoyed you feel
2. Do not vent your anger on social media – it could really damage your professional reputation

3. Never threaten the client

4. Ensure communication between both parties doesn’t break down

5. Don’t agree to more work with them unless payment has been made

6. And most importantly! Never lose your passion for contracting – don’t let one bad client put you off

 

If you follow these guidelines, especially those in part one regarding preventing late payments, you should not have to deal with too many non-payment situations but, if you do, we hope you now have the tools to deal with them confidently.

 

This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.