An Unexpected Reunion

Got this success story from CFC attendee, Tim Read, of 5 Fingers Creative in Ames, IA. Use it to inspire yourselves.

Last spring, after several frustrating billing issues as well as communication problems, I had a client decide to end our relationship. It wasn’t a dramatic or painful breakup my any means. Without any examination, he simply stated that he wanted to “consider our contract closed.” And that was that.

Of course I was hurt and couldn’t figure out why. He gave no reason and didn’t return any of my emails or phone calls. So, with heavy heart, I moved on. I never thought I’d hear from him again.

This week he called me with great enthusiasm and a pretty promising referral. He left his full time position and is now on his own. Suddenly needing a good designer, he called me. Hmmm?

I graciously accepted the referral and we spent a good hour talking about what went wrong the first time around (can you say closure?) and future work for his new venture ( Real Estate $$$$). When I hung up I sat and thought about what I learned from this situation.

  1. Things change. People move on in their lives and careers. And how you handle a slammed door determines if it locks behind you or not. I remember telling my client “I’m sorry you feel you no longer need my services. I’m always here when you need me.” I didn’t express my anger or tell him where his design business can go. Instead I left MY door open with a welcome mat that had his name on it.
  2. Don’t assume it’s your fault. After talking to him he admitted that he dropped the ball and believed my work was too expensive and above what he really needed at the time. In reality all he had to do was talk it out with me and we could have avoided all this.
  3. Don’t burn bridges. Hey I got a pretty good referral from all this. Everyone knows someone else. And that someone else might need what I have to offer. No matter how a breakup feels, being unemployed feels worse.


Tim Read, 5 Fingers Creative

3 thoughts on “An Unexpected Reunion

  1. Christie McQueen

    Great article, Tim!
    I am wondering if you have any suggestions on the flip side of that coin. I have been approached by a new company to photograph for an upcoming job. I’m not sure that the vision of the job is in line with my style of photography. I have been going back and forth with the prospect through email and phone conversations to clarify the vision, but still have a weird feeling about it.
    How would you recommend graciously turning down a job? (which I know is crazy in this economy, and believe me, I don’t want to do it, but it is an issue of upholding my visual integrity)
    Christie McQueen

  2. Stephanie M. Cockerl

    The timing of this could not have been better. Like Christie, I am also on the fence. However I am considering letting a client go due to too *many* demands and unrealistic time expectations. Any advice anyone out there can give let me know.