famine

  • What to do during the freelance famine periods

    One of the handy things about blogging, is that sometimes it helps you address issues that you’re pondering yourself. Sometimes it helps to get things down on paper to clear your thoughts and come to a solution that can help you or your readers.

    Earlier this month, I had a run of misfortune when several of my biggest clients had to end my contact due to budget cuts. Many of them are clients I’ve had since I started, so it left me feeling a lot less secure. Especially with a mortgage to pay and a wedding to save for. This, by the way, is why you need a freelance savings account. For those months when money is tight.

    Looking on the positive side, losing those contracts wasn’t reflective of my services or quality of blog posts. But it did result in a knock to my confidence, as well as to my income. But sometimes, these things happen so you can take on brand new challenges.

    Having spent a while thinking through my options, I’ve come up with a few things to get you (and me) through the tougher times.

    1) Take a breath and reflect.

    To be brutally honest with you, I’m awful at dealing with the emotional side of losing clients. I’m very practical, so emotions often get swept under the carpet. I actually ended up bottling up my worries about business and money until I ended up having a little cry this weekend to my other half. It was only until then that I felt like my mind had cleared and I was able to rationally look at my situation and how to go about rectifying it. Don’t be afraid to mourn the loss of a client if you’ve worked with them for a while! But don’t mourn for long. This is your chance to take on new responsibilites.

    Once you’re done mourning, have a look at your business. Is what you’re currently doing working towards your long term goals? Does the extra time you now have give you the opportunity to try out things you haven’t been able to before? Now might be your best chance to put those goals into practice!

    An extra benefit is that you’ll be able to start with a fresh sheet with new clients – so potentially you can increase your prices to line up with industry standards, input a new contract or code of conduct and change up how you do things.

    2) Reach out to your contacts

    Windows Contacts

    The next thing to do is to reach out to your contacts. When I knew I was about to lose some clients, I reached out to my friends in the industry to find out if they knew of any potential clients or projects I could work on. I’m very fortunate that several got in touch, plus I’ve discussed a few projects with a few friends that will hopefully come to fruition. Those contacts are vital, and better than any advertising option.

    3) Get pitching

    Once you’ve spoken to your contacts, write up a list of clients you’d like to work with. Then pitch to them! Don’t wait for work to come to you, make it happen.

    4) Don’t panic

    Admittedly, this is the advice my other half gave to me. But if you reach out to your contacts, pitch to potential clients, reassess your options and look at all your income options, your work should pay off eventually. It’s now a few weeks down the line and I’ve had contacts from my website and referrals that will hopefully lead to some work next month. I might not be able to relax yet, but it’s good to know the work I’ve done so far is starting to lead to potential work.

    Paperwork

    5) Use your spare time wisely

    Get ahead on your admin. Get out and about in your local area (you never know, it might lead to some business opportunities.) Clear out and tidy your office and home. Take a day or two away to refresh your brain. Hell, enjoy the odd lie in! But make sure you work hard to find new work too. It’s tough out there at the moment, especially in editorial digital media and blogging, but if you can’t find any roles the internet gives you the opportunity to create your own work. Look out for a niche market or something that’s not already out there (or if it is, it’s not done well) and do it!

    Over to you! How do you cope with a freelance famine?