I recently wrote about not putting all your freelance eggs in one basket as well as working a part-time job while freelancing, and now I feel like it’s time to for me to come clean. Don’t worry, I’m not on the lamb and there’s not a warrant out for my arrest, but I am guilty of putting all of my freelance eggs in one basket. Michelle Goodman wrote in her fantastic book, My So Called Freelance Life, about how it is dangerous relying on one big client for all of your work and income, because there will come a day when that client will fold, disappear or not need your services anymore. This happened to me a week ago, and in my defense, I knew it was coming. I saw the signs. This particular client had a few freelance writers and photographers (one of them being me) on staff working and had recently started cutting the creative staff due to monetary reasons. My safety was clearly in jeopardy, but I soldiered on hoping for the best because I liked the work I was doing, it was steady and allowed me to work with other smaller clients without putting me in the poor house. Bad thing was this client had a lot they wanted done and took up a lot of my time, even though I was able to set my own hours. This gig had more or less turned into a demanding part-time job. While I’ve been freelancing for a little over a year, I’ve had various clients come and go, but this client had consistently stuck around and had continually fed me work. As I said before, I knew this gig would probably be coming to an end soon so I’d been busting my butt marketing my services and had started focusing more on networking. When the axe dropped last week, I wasn’t terribly surprised, but I was still a little bummed.
If most of your work is coming from one main client, this will probably happen to you at some point in your freelancing career. Clients like this are great to help you get your freelancing legs but nothing is ever definite in the freelance world, always be looking for new clients and maintaining healthy client relationships. Now that I’m no longer with the aforementioned client, I’ve managed to pull in two new clients and two potential clients over the past week. I’m also marketing myself more actively and feel much more productive and creative. I’m not discounting my professional relationship with this company, but maybe it was the right time to start taking larger strides to better my freelancing graphic design business.
This has happened to the best of us, but never fear, there are always more client fish in the sea. Continue to market yourself, maintain a positive client relationship with the lost client (you never know if they’ll want to use your services again, maybe just not on such an exclusive basis) and keep your chin up. For me, I think this was the kick in the pants I needed to really get myself out there and start promoting my business like crazy. I’m looking at the situation from a positive perspective, and I’m hopefully for the future.