Home – New Forums Starting your journey Had to let someone go. Hope I handled it okay.

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  • #994341
    Lee333
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    My business hasn’t even launched yet, but the process of creating the product involves some commissioning of work. I had a friend express enthusiastic interest in working on it back when I started five months ago. However, his early contributions were completely unusable and then stopped coming, so I thought he’d lost interest and moved on.

    About six weeks ago, he emailed asking me if I had any work he could do. I didn’t make a contract, but had intended to pay him generously for his contribution. I sent him an art template and explained what I needed. Heard nothing back for three weeks. At that point, I asked how it was going and he said he hadn’t been able to do anything because he didn’t have some software. I told him about a software program that is completely free. I didn’t think he was planning to do anything so I moved on and bought licenced stock art.

    Last week, he messaged me again and said he wanted the software I’d told him about but didn’t know of a safe site to download it from. I do a Google search and the first link is the official site for the software. Sent him the link and didn’t hear anything again… until Sunday. I get an email with an attachment I can’t open. Let him know I can’t open it. Half an hour later, I get another email. This time I can open the attachment. He’s sent the exact same template I sent him six weeks ago, but he “used the free software to vectorise it”. It was ALREADY vector. And he did nothing else to it. I can’t use it.

    I decided enough was enough. I told him I had really hoped he could contribute, but I am moving on without him. I have no idea what he was thinking. I thought I’d made it clear that this was a very serious project that I am soon going to throw some serious money at, yet it seems he just kept thinking it was a fun hobby we could tinker with during the next few years…

    Anyway, after I pulled the pin, I got an email citing computer problems, health issues, job searching and much more as reasons he couldn’t do anything. He ended with a very passive-aggressive, “so I guess I f*cked up”. Well, yeah. Guess he did. I haven’t replied.

    Just wondering how I could have handled this better. And should I still pay him some money?

    PS. In future, there will be written contracts. I have been paying most people for an initial art fee plus a commercial licence, but I was prepared to give this guy residuals on sales, too, because I know he’s having a hard time finding ongoing work.

    #1196130
    MD Clean
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    Hi Lee, don’t feel bad. When friends work well together, they enjoy shared values, language, understanding and a host of other benefits.

    When it doesn’t work, there are all of these layers that you are experiencing that get in the way of making good decisions. Trust, confidence, friendship, betrayal, self doubt etc.

    At this point, just strip it back to a purely business decision – would you pay a stranger to you that delivered the work your friend did in the timeframe he did it for you?

    #1196131
    Dave Gillen – Former FS Concierge
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    It sounds like even if you pay him generously for what he did it still won’t cost you much, right? So compensate for him putting a little time towards helping you (just like you would to any employee you are trialing), and tell him you appreciate it, and be glad he didn’t cost you more. Do it to be generous to a friend, not because you owe him. :)

    Dave

    #1196132
    bb1
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    To be blunt, no you didn’t handle it well. From what you have described, you didn’t set any timelines, expectations, agreed deliverables, etc, etc. Even if they are friends (or worse relatives), you are running the business, you need to drive it, not let your people do what they like when they like and how they like.

    In my opinion, even though they didn’t deliver, you should still pay based on the fluffy nature of the job.

    #1196133
    Lee333
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    I have paid him. The job wasn’t as open-ended as my original post implied. It was very clear that I was expecting to see at least almost-finished work at the end of three weeks. Instead, he sent me my original file with no changes whatsoever and for some reason I still can’t fathom thought he’d done his bit. In future, I will be ensuring there is a legal contract in place.

    #1196134
    GeoffD
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    Hi Lee,

    Whilst it has certainly occurred very early in your business journey, most of us who have been in business for any length of time, and have had staff, have had the unpleasant experience of having to let someone go. In my experience, being honest and upfront with the employee, showing empathy for their situation and explaining the reasons for the decision are crucial in making a difficult situation as palatable as possible. Of course, as the employer, you also need to ensure that you are on firm legal ground. Having said all that, I’m not sure whether an employment relationship actually existed in your situation.

    Best of luck

    Geoff

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