The day before my 32nd birthday last week, I lost my best blogging client due to major layoffs at their company. Normally, I’d keep that fact to myself (it’s generally a good idea not to let anyone know that you’re essentially “jobless”); however, I wanted to write a blog post about this predicament to help others (like you!) and knowing that I’ve “been there” — and so recently! — might be of comfort to some people who view me as such a phenomenal success.
And, I am a success, by all rights. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle from time to time, just like you. It’s not uncommon for me to have to go job hunting. Contracts eventually come to an end. Or, companies have layoffs, and freelancers are always the first to go. That’s just how it is when you’re a freelance writer, “successful” or not!
So what exactly do you do when this happens? Well…
1. Update Your Information
Whenever I see someone whose been inactive on social media for a long time suddenly pop up and start updating everything, I can tell that they’ve lost their job and are desperate for a new one. And desperation gives off a certain “stink” that’s unattractive. That’s why I always encourage my fellow writers to stay on top of these things, even when they’re busy.
But, if you haven’t been staying on top of those things this entire time: it’s okay. Just do what you can and try not to seem too desperate. Don’t beg for work. Just make normal updates. And spruce up anything that you’d formerly neglected.
This is also a good time to ask former clients for testimonials, if you haven’t already. Social proof of how great you are goes a long way toward getting new clients to consider you. Put those on your website!
2. E-mail Your Network
Again: don’t beg anyone for work.
Simply let your writer friends, former clients, and anyone else you think could help you know that you have a gap in your schedule and that you’re on the prowl for a new client.
For former clients, you could ask them if they need your help again (or know anyone who does). For current clients, you could tell them you have some free time and ask them if they need any additional help.
Writer buddies are especially good to tell about your predicament because they understand what you’re going though, as they’ve likely been in the same situation themselves. They’ll empathize. Plus, fellow freelance writers generally have a better grasp over what it is you actually do and can make recommendations more well-suited to your needs.
3. Hit the Job Boards
Man, I hate hitting the job boards. But they really do help.
Most of my clients come to me through my website or as referrals. However, there are times when I can’t simply sit around waiting for someone to fall into my lap — and that’s when job boards are a blessing.
My top three favorites are:
Make a little time each day to scroll through the job boards to see if any new jobs have been added. I like to check once in the morning and once in the evening. That way, as soon as anything that looks good has been added, I can pounce on it immediately. Being the first — or near first — to contact a prospective client/business goes a long way toward getting the job.
4. Stay Positive!
Losing a job, especially one you really liked, can be a huge disappointment. But try not to let it get to you.
As long as you’re still making enough money to have a roof over your head and food in your belly, there’s no need to panic. You might not be able to do anything fun for a while (go to the movies, get a fresh haircut, etc.), but so long as the essentials are taken care of, you’ll be fine. Just make do with what you have and live a frugal lifestyle for a while.
Not only is maintaining a positive attitude better for your overall health, it’s also very attractive. Believe it or not, most humans prefer being around positive people. And that includes prospective clients!
Face each day with optimism and the belief that you will find another job.
After all, you’ve probably been through this before, right? And you survived that time! So you’ll survive this time too. Trust me. 🙂
Everything that’s ever been written — from blogs to billboards — was written by a writer, just like you. There are plenty of writing jobs available. New things need to be written every day. Just get yourself out there and KEEP TRYING. You’ll find something.
In the meantime, try to enjoy the fact that you have a little extra free time on your hands. You can use that time to work on some of your other goals, or simply catch up on the chores you’d been putting off back when you were “too busy” to tackle them (I did a MASSIVE amount of laundry the day I lost my job).
Hang in there. Good things are right around the corner!
Lauren Spear (née Tharp) is the owner and creator of the multiple award-winning LittleZotz Writing. She’s written hundreds of bylined posts helping freelance writers to become BETTER freelance writers. Thousands if you count all the articles she’s ghostwritten (but she’s not allowed to talk about most of those).