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  • Tracey Kelley

Saying goodbye to ending projects

If you move in entrepreneurial circles, you understand the bobber doesn't always rise.

When you do contract work, it's essential to be prepared for the end. Sometimes, you're surprised, and contracts continue. Hooray!

Yet many either stick to the original terms of temporary hire or worse, stop suddenly because of internal business decisions that quite often have nothing to do with you.

The latter happened twice this week.


No matter how pragmatic you intend to be about it, it's still a jolt. If you're smart, you've planned for

days like these, the rainy ones. You saved a bit for the future, and set aside enough for estimated taxes.

Then choke a little when withdrawing what was set aside and actually write that tax check, because watching those funds evaporate when you're preparing to prospect is just...


Next, you have to rev your engines to prospect again. I try not to take on more than I can handle or subcontract, especially since two of my four business sectors rely on me to be the sole service provider. But when you lose clients, there's usually a need to replace them.

So many factors play into this because certain clients are just gold. The projects are interesting, they communicate well, they pay respectfully and on time. Others are a little more gold-plated: they look good in the ad, but after a while, you see the tarnish seep through. Their work is convoluted, communication is all over the place, and the pay, IF it's proper, doesn't always come through in a timely manner unless you've flown to the home office, bought the accounts payable manager lunch a few times, and presented a fine argument for not paying utitlities but instead posting your fee. (Always pay on time. Always. And none of this 90-days-in-arrears nonsense. Pay within 15 days of acceptance/completion. Period. If you don't have the funds to pay for the work, you shouldn't be hiring for it.)

So you muster all your gusto and dip your toes in the water once again. Usually, it takes two-three months to solidify potential outlets, make connections, and start a new relationship.


When I received the news, I knew I wouldn't be able to do anything about it until the end of September because of other obligations. This created a few monkey-mind nights. I keep a notebook beside my bed to jot down random thoughts and ideas, and reached for it a lot, trying to suss out the strategy. This helps, and will continue to do so in when I dive into the whole process after a few weeks.

Most of all, it's important to approach the end with a sense of gratitude, and without an attitude of scarcity. I'm so lucky to do what I love for a living, and always learn incredible things with every project and work with amazing individuals (which, finances aside, are the parts I miss most.) I've also weathered enough tough waves to understand that good things do float back to shore.



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