Article by Wendy McCance
Today I lost a client. I had worked with this client for over a year and had a fabulous rapport with the company. The loss of the client unfortunately wasn’t a surprise. There had been budget issues right from the beginning. I was called each time there was a meeting with a heads-up that there was a debate over spending money on outside help. Ultimately, I had a good run with the company, made some wonderful connections and still have a great relationship with the people I worked with. It’s sad to loss the client, but I had a wonderful experience.
The reason I am mentioning what happened was because I got lucky. I never stopped prospecting for business. I have had enough steady work that it would be easy to slack off and feel quite comfortable with the clients I deal with on a monthly basis. Instead of getting too comfortable with what I have, I am always looking to double my business.
I lost a good chunk of money from the client I lost. Because this was an ongoing assignment, I had money coming in each month from them. The same day I got the unfortunate news, I had a meeting with a new client that gave me enough work right out of the gate that I more than made up for the loss of my long-term client. I have 3 additional potential clients that I have been in discussions with and a big meeting next week that could potentially be my biggest client yet.
The point is that if I wasn’t staying on top of finding new customers, losing this client could have had a devastating effect. When you have your own freelance business, it’s easy to think about doing the writing, but many people don’t consider that getting the business is actually a big portion of the work you will need to do. If you don’t like to prospect for business, you will have a difficult time staying busy and surviving as a writer. Unfortunately, it’s up to you to create the business opportunities.
The upside to prospecting for business is that the longer you are in business, the more business will be knocking on your door. You will have clients who give you repeat business every few months. There will be customers you reached out to that weren’t ready to use a freelance writer back when you connected, but remembered you when they did have a need to have some work done. You will also get new clients because someone referred you. The harder you push yourself when you are first starting out, the quicker the return on all that hard work. Just remember that even when you are at full capacity, you will still need to reach out so that there is always something new around the corner.
What have you experienced? Are you a pro at prospecting or do you dread reaching out? Have you found an ideal way to comfortably connect with new people? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Let’s get a good conversation going.
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