As a freelancer, we all know the feelings of excitement and fear that uncertainty brings. Will I be able to land a new client this month? Can my gigs cover my rent/car payment/food/etc? These are questions that surely every freelance writer has asked themselves at least once (or a billion times – if you’re me) during their career.
This is why it is so important for us to have reliable clients that give us steady work. But what happens when those clients choose to part ways?
Sadly, a four-year professional relationship was ended with one of my most steady clients. As bad enough as that sounds, it happened the day after I put my sweet, sweet cat down and two weeks before Christmas. To be honest, I’ve been shitting myself for the past few days and too scared to even leave my bed.
But after the initial shock, it was time to put on my big girl pants and dive into my new (and uncertain) life.
If you have ever lost a long term client, or a full time job for that matter, here is my advice on how to deal.
A freelance career isn’t for the faint of heart. And it certainly isn’t for control freaks. You have to understand that clients come and go, and if your long term client left, there will be another (AND EVEN BETTER!!) one waiting for you around the bend.
Don’t lose your shit. You hopefully parted on good terms and will still get an excellent reference from them down the road. But sobbing and throwing a tantrum will not solve matters. Get it together and accept the fact that you will not be working with this client from now on.
Now that you lost some steady income, it’s time to dig in and get your finances on track. Formulate a budget of your weekly expenses and STICK WITH IT. Also, be sure to ask your other current clients for additional work.
If it was a full time job you lost, file for unemployment immediately – as in the minute your employer gave you the boot. It typically takes two to three weeks for unemployment to kick in, so try and be as frugal as possible during this time.
Evaluate the Situation
Look at this situation as a lesson. What could have you done better to keep this client on board? Were you being a little too lax with your work, missing deadlines, etc.? Evaluate the reasons why they let you go and learn from the experience. You’ll be a better worker for your next client. Trust me.