I’m not around this week or next, but I’ve planned ahead. Apropos given the title of this new series, isn’t it? Please keep commenting. I may not be on the same continent, but I’m going to grab the WiFi where I can.
I was going over my pre-trip plans the other week, trying to connect with current clients one more time. I like to let them know well in advance that I’ll be out of the office, particularly if we’re working on a project that’s not quite finished or not quite begun. I wouldn’t be pleased to come back to negotiations or a project and find my contact wasn’t around for two weeks, so I won’t do it to them.
It’s a move that might make a client walk away.
That’s actually what today’s post is about — clients who disappear not because they’re on vacation, but because they’ve decided, for whatever reason, to stop working with you.
It sucks when a client cuts ties with you. When two or more do it at once, it’s a freelance writer’s worst nightmare.
And yes, that happens. It actually happens more than you’d think. It happened to me once — two clients waved goodbye, both for different reasons. In a span of ten days, the sources of half my revenue were gone.
Worse, I had just one client left.
So what do you do when it happens? Here’s what I did, and what you can do:
Contact past clients. I was still fairly new to freelancing, but I did have some past clients who’d worked with me a number of times. You probably do, too. Get in touch today. Now.
Get a query to your favorite magazine editor. You know by now which magazines pay quickly, and which editors are receptive to your ideas. If you’re lucky, they’re one in the same. Get in front of the fast-paying ones now. And get some ideas out to the receptive editors, as well. You’ll need more than just immediate cash, right?
Hit social media. Not just looking for new clients, though that should be part of your daily marketing process anyway, but you can put out notices like “Need a resume written today? Call me!” or “Start the rest of your week with great blog content — hire me now.” You get the idea. Find some quick job offer you can put out there without looking desperate.
Look under new rocks. Your technology client no longer needs blog posts. So why not sell the same kind of service to a client prospect in an industry that relies on technology? I can think of three right now — healthcare, sales, customer service — that could use updates on technology solutions. Take the same service and try it out on new clients.
Approach new clients with can’t-miss proposals. So that prospect you’re selling the technology blog posts to might respond much more positively if you present a full-scale proposal to them. Include five post example ideas (keep them general), timelines, and your process of writing/delivery. Make it easier for them to say yes.
Consider job boards. I don’t like promoting passive routes to finding work, but do find a good source of vetted jobs (like the one at All Indie Writers) and hope the jobs you apply to aren’t drawing in thousands of other writers. They probably are, but if you try to keep it to your niche area, you may get lucky.
The obvious fix going forward is to step up your marketing and keep at least four clients in your current-client circle. Always be looking for another client, too. Taking on new clients when you’re flush with work helps you negotiate better rates and associate with better quality clients, a move that might lower the odds of them leaving. Not guaranteed, but clients that have the budgets to hire you are less likely to leave unexpectedly.
Writers, how do you recover when you lose clients unexpectedly?
What was your worst-case scenario with clients disappearing?