Well, it finally happened.
I woke up early in the morning to check my Slack messages, and from one of my clients on the channel, I read the dreaded message:
“Hey Chase, unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we no longer have a budget for blog content. Sadly, this means we won’t be able to keep you on for the time being. If things change, we’ll let you know, but thank you for all of your hard work on the blog. We’ll be in touch.”
Instantly, I was disappointed. This was a long-time client that contributed to a good chunk of my freelance income. However, I couldn’t help but feel bad, too. Small businesses in the U.S. are taking a huge hit, and although this was affecting my livelihood, it’s nothing in comparison to what other sacrifices a lot of companies are having to make. So, I decided to thank them for the opportunity and set sail on a new course of recovery.
Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, it’s inevitable that a client may drop you, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options to maintain your success. Here’s what I’m doing to change course:
Always End Things On a Good Note
First off, if and when a client drops you due to financial restraints, always make sure to end things on a good note.
You never want to respond with any bitterness of confusion. It’s okay to ask questions about why you’re being let go or laid off, but for the most part, your best option is to simply say thank you and offer your support for when they’re ready to resume freelance hiring.
After all, networking is a huge factor when it comes to securing freelance jobs, so with any clients that go on hold, be sure to leave the doorway open so that you’re first on their list when they bounce back from the red. If you have a certain point of contact, check in with them periodically to see how they’re doing. Stay active with the company’s posts on social media. Re-share posts they make on LinkedIn and become a ubiquitous presence on their radar.
Your support for them, despite being laid off, will show that you care about their mission and success, and they’ll reward you for it once they’re able to.
Focus On the Clients You Do Have
There’s no point in dwelling over clients you lost, so instead, focus on the clients you do have and serve them with added value.
Remember, your current clients are now taking on the brunt of your income from this moment forward, so it behooves you to nurture those relationships with your best work. In a way, now is the time for you to earn your keep with them and make yourself indispensable.
For example, if you’ve been phoning in assignments over the past few months, take some new initiative to develop unique content ideas and explore some new trends that your clients can take advantage of. If you’re a social media expert, rather than just making posts for Facebook, take it a step further by developing posts for Instagram Stories, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. SEO freelancers can put together keyword spreadsheets for upcoming articles to anticipate market changes. For me, as a freelance writer, whenever I write a blog post for a client, I take it a step further by also including metadata for articles, as well as social copy for different platforms that they can easily copy and paste when sharing online.
Anything you can do to go the extra mile will reinforce why your clients need you on their roster. Plus, if you can provide them with extra value during this difficult time, they’ll recognize your efforts and have more incentive to reward you once things get back on track.
Update Your Freelancer Profiles and Look for New Leads
Finally, since you have some additional time on your hands, start updating your freelancer profiles and look for new leads on each platform.
Fiverr is a great place to start since you can easily tailor your gig packages with flexible prices and offerings. Also, if you have any new skills or services to offer clients, you can create a gig package in a new category that can potentially earn you some extra income.
Another great platform that I use to source freelance jobs is Clearvoice. As a content creator, you can create a profile for free and use it to showcase all of your published work from other sites. It’s basically a professional CV that you can categorize with different sections to show off your most relevant work. It’s also easy to share on LinkedIn and other networking sites where companies are always searching for freelance talent.
Although it may feel like a setback, losing a client can be a blessing in disguise. All you need to do is refine your workflow and come back stronger with a better set of tools to build your success.