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Friday, May 18, 2007

When Writing Clients Leave

As a freelance writer, you can't rely on clients sticking around. And it doesn't have to be your fault that they leave. Take this example. I have a client who saw one of my promotional efforts, approached me to do some writing on online business, and paid promptly and well. In fact, he's the dream client. He has been happy with my work over the last few months. However, I won't be getting any money from him this month.

Why? Well, I can only speculate. Over the years of my ghostwriting and freelance writing career, I have found that clients move on for several reasons.

  • They have come to the end of the current project
  • They have achieved what they set out to do with a book or series of articles and they don't need you any more
  • They have run out of money (and I am happy if they end the contract rather than making chase them for payment)
  • They have another project but think you have only one area of writing expertise.

So what do you do? In the case of my current client, he asked about other areas I was comfortable writing in. That made me think that it's always worth getting in touch with former clients to let them know that you are available and that you can write in a range of areas.
After all, how can it hurt? That way you remind them that you exist and perhaps generate some additional work.

In these cases my approach is simple. I greet the client, remind the client of the last successful project I did for him or her, and ask if they need any more writing work. At the moment, since I have a team of writers working with me, I also mention that we cover a broad range of writing areas.

That's one point, but the other thing about writing clients leaving is that you need to replace the income. That's where regular bidding comes in. The more projects you have available, the less the loss of a single client matters. How do you handle the loss of good clients?


Theda K. said...

Hi! Interesting post about losing clients. I recently lost a client (I think). He is the marketing director for his company, and his higher-ups are giving him a hard time about spending money on outsourcing. They want him to take care of it in-house, which he used to do, but cost the company time (and the quality wasn't great...even more time to fix it!)

What have I done? I asked him to let me know if he can convince them or not, and I'm going to take this as a lesson to never stop looking for new clients.

I'm also going to ask him for a testimonial, and possibly some referrals. Perhaps even a link from his website.

BloggingWriter said...

Hi Theda

That's a good idea. I keep meaning to get testimonials from as many writing clients as possible to help me get new ones when the inevitable turnover happens.

I agree; you need to keep looking for new clients even if you seem to be swamped. That way there's always a fallback.