To be frank, being an artist and a business leader is tough. One side of the brain seems to be filled with typography, colors, spacing, and creative copy, while the other side of the brain is attempting to grasp functions, ROI, expenses, and taxes. Being a creative and also an entrepreneur has been incredible yet also daunting.

I’ve worked with a decent number of clients in the past 10 years, and each one is vastly different. Eventually, there will come a time when you will have to deal with delayed, suspended, and/or straight-up abandoned design or development projects. It’s terrifying, especially if you’re an introvert like myself.

Here are a few key tips and tricks I have learned along the way. Sometimes, the client is NOT always right. However, because freelancers are business folks as well, we need to be prepared and educated on all the “what if” scenarios.

Communication is your secret weapon

When facing project delays or suspensions, open and honest communication becomes paramount. Initiate a conversation with the client to understand the reasons behind the delay or suspension. Maintain transparency about any challenges or obstacles your team may be facing, and offer reassurance that you are committed to completing the project successfully. By keeping the lines of communication open, you can build trust and avoid potential misunderstandings.

Evaluate the situation with a sound mind

Take a step back and objectively assess the project’s status. Identify the specific reasons for the delay or suspension. Is it due to internal factors within your agency, such as resource constraints or unforeseen technical difficulties? Or is it external, caused by the client’s changing priorities or circumstances? Understanding the root cause will help you determine the best course of action.

Renegotiate project parameters

If a project is delayed or suspended for an extended period, it may be necessary to revisit the project parameters. Engage in a constructive dialogue with the client to reassess the timeline, deliverables, and expectations. Prioritize the most critical elements and consider a phased approach or a revised project scope that accommodates the current circumstances. By adapting to the new reality, you can still salvage the project and deliver value to the client.

Document everything

Throughout the process, maintain detailed documentation of all project-related discussions, changes, and agreements. This documentation serves as a record of the project’s evolution and can be used for reference or dispute resolution, if needed. Having a clear paper trail helps protect both your agency and the client’s interests, ensuring accountability and mitigating potential conflicts.

Don’t stress and stick up for yourself

In rare cases, a project may be abandoned by the client altogether. In such instances, it is crucial to handle the situation professionally. Firstly, attempt to communicate with the client to understand their reasons for abandoning the project. If no response is received, consider sending a final notice outlining the project status and any outstanding obligations. Additionally, assess any potential legal or contractual implications and seek appropriate advice if necessary.

Delayed, suspended, or abandoned web design projects can be testing moments for any agency. However, by adopting a proactive and communicative approach, reassessing project parameters, maintaining thorough documentation, and handling abandonment professionally, you can navigate these challenges with resilience. Remember, these experiences can serve as valuable lessons to refine your project management processes, strengthen client relationships, and position your agency for future success. Embrace these challenges as opportunities for growth, and your agency will emerge stronger than ever.