While I was at ATA54, I lost a client. Well, not a real client when I think about it logically, but it stung that way when I first read the email. A natural gut reaction to unpleasant realities, regardless of the whole truth.
You see, this “client” of mine never actually was a client. He was a person I contacted at some point almost two years ago while trying to expand my client base. We both said we were excited about the prospect of working together, and yet… Somehow, he never sent me much work. In two years, he’s had a total of three requests for me, and always with startling accuracy about exactly when I was *not* available to jump on board. Most of the requests were those morning requests for afternoon deliveries—i.e., not so great for a first project with a new customer.
In all likelihood, I was the backup for a backup for this language pair—in other words, not his VIP translator. So, while I mourn the loss of potentially interesting projects, it’s really not a big deal. I respect the client for being honest and respectful of the time it took to have those fruitless exchanges.
It was a hard conversation to be part of, but thank goodness it happened.
Has this ever happened to you? Did you ever have to initiate one of these hard conversations? How did you handle it?