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No offense but on the pre payment thing you sound like someone who was fortunate enough to have a vast network of clients you already knew and trust. Which is not the case for most.

I've never asked for a pre-payment, but I've figured out a small project to do for them and made clear that at each milestone they're welcome to walk and I'll support their new person with whatever documentation they need though I won't offer "support" in the sense of hours of my life training people unless I'm getting paid, which is usually not a big deal. They don't seem to have a worry about paying you to train the new person, but do seem to worry that your emotions about being let go will impact the timeline.

Their real worry is that you'll suck and delay things, by making clear that you understand that such things happen and will help as you can if it does you improve trust. And you should really be doing that anyway ethically. And realize that sometimes you're just not the right person for the job and to help them find the right person if you want to build a strong network.

Things were pretty lean when we started, but sure, that might be true.

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