You Hired Someone & Now They’ve Gone MIA. How Do You Get Your Money Back? (And Not Turn Into an Ax Murderer?)

Well this little treat happens more than we’d all like.

At some point, as you grow your business, you’re going to hire independent contractors to help you out: maybe it’s a new web design, or copy edits, or just proofreading, or perhaps helping you out with your admin. Most of the time, you’ll be delighted!

And then there are the other times.

Specifically, the times when that person takes the money and then disappears, off into the ethers.

It’s a weird thing, of course, since the Internet is a very small place, indeed, but I can tell you that I’ve had this happen, and so have my colleagues. Again, not often, but it does happen, and then you’re going to be left with your thumb up your butt, not sure what to do or how to get your money back or what to say or how to handle it.

Lesson #1:

This is (one more reason) why you need a contract in place. This type of contract is called an Independent Contractor Agreement—different from a Master Client Services Agreement—and governs your relationship with anyone you hire to do stuff for you. (I’ve got a template coming your way in my all-new online business starter kit, on sale next week, so JUST YOU WAIT FOR THE EXCITEMENT.)

Lesson #2:

Once you’ve got that agreement in place, however, it becomes abundantly easy to handle these types of mishaps—because, like I’ve said before, it’s not up to you to decide: it’s a contractual obligation on their part. And that means that if you send a couple of emails and don’t hear back after a few weeks / months / holy shit don’t let it get to years, you can follow-up with a termination letter like the one below, which my attorneys sent to a former contractor who had gone MIA for an extended period of time without communication or care. (Though you might want to soften it a bit—this one was rough!)

It wasn’t about the money, which was a relatively small amount; it was about the principle—and, of course, the commitment to timing. I remember feeling overwhelmingly disappointed, not to mention disrespected. But more than that, it’s frustrating when you hire people to help move your business forward, and you find yourself chasing your tail, and theirs.

While I don’t love sending letters like these (be prepared to have it ruin the relationship), I also know that I would be displeased with myself if I just let things like this go.

Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do, for yourself, is learn how to be formidable when you need to be.

Not because you’re trying to be a jerk.

…but because none of us deserve to be jerked around.



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