A Fresh Perspective on Client Relationships: 6 Ways to Overcome the Ghosting Hurdle

Client Relationships Overcoming the Ghosting Hurdle

Ah, ghosting! We’ve all been there, right? You have a great conversation with a prospective client, you share ideas, maybe even a joke or two. You end the call on a high note, with promises of emails and follow-ups. And then? Nothing. Radio silence. Welcome to the not-so-fun part of client relationships, the part where Casper the not-so-friendly ghost makes an appearance.

Ghosting in the professional world is as baffling as it is frustrating. But fear not! In this light-hearted exploration of ghosted client relationships, we’ll dive deep into the why’s, the how’s, and the what-to-do’s. So, buckle up and get ready for a whimsical journey into the eerie world of professional ghosting.”

What Does “Ghosted” Mean?

Client relationshipsEver had a date who never called back? That’s ghosting. Now, shift that scenario to a professional setting. You’re the hopeful freelancer, the client is your promising date, and the call that never comes back? That’s the project that was supposedly “just around the corner.” Yep, that’s professional ghosting in a nutshell.

As freelance ghostwriters, we meet numerous potential clients, and sometimes, just like in the world of dating, not all of them call us back. One day you’re excitedly discussing the outline for their new book, and the next, they’ve vanished into thin air, leaving you with a heavy sense of confusion and a sudden surplus of free time.

“’One minute we were brainstorming themes for their memoir, and the next, poof! Nothing. It’s like I’d imagined the whole conversation,’ said John Doe, a seasoned ghostwriter.”

Getting Ghosted by Clients

Ah, the mysterious disappearance act, every ghostwriter’s familiar foe. It often plays out like a suspenseful novel, one where the author (ironically, that’s us!) is left in the dark about the ending. Take my pal, John Doe, a seasoned ghostwriter, who had an experience that’s straight out of an Agatha Christie novel.

John had a client who had fully paid for his book, and they had made considerable progress, halfway through the manuscript. The client was thrilled with the work, as evident from his glowing feedback. But then, out of nowhere, he vanished into thin air, leaving only a brief email in his wake, “Super happy with the book, but changed direction.”

You can’t help but feel like a character from a mystery novel, left with a cryptic message to decipher. But the truth is, ghosting isn’t always about us or our work.

In another instance, a client who was paying month-to-month mysteriously went MIA early in 2020. Later, it was revealed through a third party that she had contracted COVID-19 and lost interest in the project amidst the health crisis. Another client, who had been eager about their project, suddenly stopped responding. Only much later did it come to light that they had run into financial trouble and were too embarrassed to reply.

What it Does to the Freelance Ghostwriter

When clients ghost, it can be a jarring experience for ghostwriters, both professionally and emotionally. One client, full of praise for your work, might suddenly vanish after you’ve written half their book. Another, who’s been paying month-to-month, can disappear without notice, leaving you in the dark about a sudden health crisis or a change of heart about the project.

From an economic perspective, getting ghosted can cause instability, especially when payments stop abruptly. A ghostwriter might have turned down other work to dedicate time to a specific client, and the sudden loss of that client can lead to financial uncertainty.

Moreover, ghosting can lead to emotional distress. You might start questioning your writing skills, wondering if the client was truly satisfied with your work. This can deal a blow to your self-esteem and shake your confidence.

Yet, most times, it’s not about you at all. Perhaps the client has run into financial troubles, or they’ve had to reprioritize their objectives. But without clear communication, you are left to fill in the blanks, often with worst-case scenarios.

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What to Do About It

If you’ve been ghosted by a client, here are some steps to handle the situation:

  1. Reach Out Politely: Send a friendly reminder, asking if they are okay and whether they still want to continue with the project. Be empathetic and open-minded; life happens.
  2. Seek Closure: If you don’t receive a response after several attempts, send a final, courteous email expressing your intention to conclude the project due to their lack of communication.
  3. Invoice for Work Done: If the client disappears mid-project, send them an invoice for the work completed until the point of their last communication.
  4. Keep a Positive Attitude: Ghosting can be frustrating, but don’t let it get you down. Remember that your worth is not defined by one client’s action.
  5. Look Forward: There are plenty of potential clients out there who will value your work and communicate respectfully.
  6. Stay Professional: No matter how upset you are, always maintain a professional tone in your communication.

The key is to manage your expectations and not take ghosting personally.

Don’t Take It Personally

Ghosting can feel very personal, but it’s essential to remember that it’s not a reflection of your skills or value as a ghostwriter. More often than not, it’s about the client’s circumstances or their communication style. As a ghostwriter, your focus should be on delivering high-quality work and maintaining professional standards. If a client chooses to ghost, it’s their loss.

Such instances highlight the unpredictability of the ghostwriting field. Our clients, much like ourselves, are humans navigating their own challenges and sometimes, those challenges lead to them ghosting us.”

Why You Get Ghosted by Clients

Ghosting can be confusing and frustrating, especially when you are left without any explanations. Let’s try to understand some reasons why clients might ghost their ghostwriters:

  1. Changed Priorities: Much like the client who was thrilled with his book but suddenly changed direction, priorities can shift unexpectedly for individuals and businesses. What seemed like a great idea for a book at one point might no longer fit into their scheme of things.
  2. Financial Constraints: Embarrassment over financial difficulties might prompt clients to cut communication. They might not be able to afford your services anymore but find it hard to express this outright.
  3. Personal Issues: Life throws curveballs – health issues, personal crises, or other unexpected circumstances can cause clients to go silent.
  4. Lack of Interest: Sometimes, the initial enthusiasm over a book project can fizzle out. The client might lose interest in the topic, making it less likely for them to continue the interaction.
  5. Overwhelmed by the Process: Writing a book is a significant commitment. Some clients underestimate the effort involved and can feel overwhelmed as reality sets in, causing them to withdraw.
  6. The “Better Option” Syndrome: Sometimes clients might think they’ve found a better fit – a different ghostwriter, or a new strategy, leading them to ghost their current ghostwriter.
  7. Fear of Confrontation: Some people find it difficult to deliver unpleasant news, like ending a business relationship. They find it easier to ignore calls and emails, hoping the problem will disappear.

The reasons are many, and often, they have more to do with the client’s circumstances than your skills or quality of work.

The Psychology Behind Ghosting

Now, let’s delve a little deeper and understand the psychology behind ghosting. “Ghosting can stem from the fear of confrontation,” says Dr. Jane Doe, a noted psychologist. “For many, it’s easier to disappear than to face an uncomfortable situation or conversation.”

Another aspect is the “out of sight, out of mind” theory. As Dr. John Doe, another psychologist, puts it, “In today’s fast-paced world, people are often juggling multiple priorities. When overwhelmed, our brains tend to focus on immediate concerns and ignore less pressing matters. Ghosting is a manifestation of this behavioral pattern.”

That said, ghosting can also be indicative of an individual’s lack of empathy or consideration for the other person’s feelings. But it’s essential to remember that their behavior does not reflect your value or competence.

How to Avoid Getting Ghosted

Ghosting in client relationships can be significantly reduced if we take a proactive approach. Here are some strategies that can help:

  1. Clear Communication: Ensure you’re on the same page with your client from the beginning. Discuss deadlines, deliverables, and payment terms in detail.
  2. Frequent Updates: Keep your clients engaged by providing them with frequent updates on their project. This fosters strong client relationships and ensures they are invested in the project’s progress.
  3. Billing Agreements: Have clear billing agreements in place. An upfront payment policy or a deposit can provide security and reduce the risk of ghosting.
  4. Consistent Follow-ups: Regular follow-ups are an essential part of maintaining client relationships. It shows your interest in the project and your dedication to their satisfaction.
  5. Create a Personal Connection: Building a rapport with your client makes it more difficult for them to ghost you. By making them feel valued and appreciated, they’re more likely to communicate any issues directly.
  6. Set Expectations: At the start of the project, explain the importance of open communication. Make it clear that if they decide to stop or postpone the project, you would appreciate a notice.

By fostering healthy client relationships and maintaining transparent communication, the odds of getting ghosted can be significantly reduced. Remember, client relationships are built on trust and open communication, so make sure to keep these lines open at all times.

Importance of Good Communication, Great Marketing, and Keeping the Marketing Pipeline Full

Having strong client relationships is critical in ghostwriting, but it is just as important to keep the marketing pipeline full. Constant marketing helps in attracting potential clients, providing you with a buffer in case a client decides to ghost. It reduces dependency on a single client and offers you more flexibility.

Moreover, good communication is not just necessary for existing client relationships; it is also crucial in attracting new clients. Prospects are more likely to engage with you if they find you responsive, clear, and professional in your communication.

Maintaining a healthy balance between managing client relationships, marketing, and communication can help you avoid the pitfalls of ghosting and ensure a steady workflow.

Don’t Freak Out If You’ve Been Ghosted

Navigating the waters of ghostwriting can often present unexpected hurdles, one of which is being ghosted by clients. This unpleasant situation occurs when a client, with whom you’ve built a professional relationship, suddenly disappears without any explanation. But remember, the reasons behind being ghosted are usually more about the client’s circumstances than a reflection on your ghostwriting skills.

Instead of panicking, take a moment to assess the situation from a logical standpoint. It’s entirely possible that your client is grappling with personal or financial issues that have compelled them to put a temporary halt or even end the project. Rather than assuming you’ve done something wrong, consider that these client relationships can be subject to factors beyond your control.

In the ghostwriting business, it’s essential to remember that not all client relationships will be long-term. The freelance nature of ghostwriting means that clients will come and go. Don’t let one instance of being ghosted undermine your confidence or make you question your professional abilities.

To prevent an overreaction when you’ve been ghosted, consider these eight tips, each aimed at strengthening your resilience and enhancing your client relationships:

  1. Diversify Your Client Base: In ghostwriting, as in any business, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Cultivating a varied client base diminishes dependency on one project and softens the blow if a client ghosts you.
  2. Consistent Follow-ups: Consistent communication fosters better client relationships. Regular follow-ups show your commitment to the ghostwriting project and may encourage the client to discuss any potential problems.
  3. Continuous Self-Marketing: Regardless of how steady your ghostwriting work is, don’t stop marketing yourself. This habit ensures a continuous inflow of potential clients.
  4. Contractual Agreements: Having a contract before starting a ghostwriting project is a must. This not only provides legal coverage but clearly outlines the project’s terms.
  5. Patience is a Virtue: Clients in ghostwriting may disappear temporarily due to personal or monetary issues. Give them some time and space to respond.
  6. Professionalism is Key: No matter the circumstances, maintaining professionalism is paramount. It will reflect well on your work ethic and increase the chance of the client returning to you for future ghostwriting projects.
  7. Feedback from Clients: Regular feedback from your clients can be instrumental in understanding their needs and managing their expectations, reducing the chances of them ghosting.
  8. Self-Care: Being ghosted can be emotionally taxing. Ensure you’re looking after your mental wellbeing. Remember, being ghosted is not indicative of your abilities or worth as a ghostwriter.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage your client relationships and maintain a balanced approach to ghostwriting, even when faced with the unsettling experience of being ghosted.


Ghosting can be challenging and frustrating, but with the right strategies in place, it can be prevented or at least managed effectively. Remember, your value as a ghostwriter isn’t determined by a client’s decision to disappear, but by the quality of your work and your professional approach.

Building client relationships based on clear communication, setting the right expectations, and continuously marketing yourself can help mitigate the risk of ghosting. And even if it does occur, remember, don’t take it personally. The world of ghostwriting is filled with clients who will value your work and treat you with the respect and communication you deserve.

Richard Lowe

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