How to Cope with Losing Your Biggest Freelance Writing Client
June 14, 2016
Losing any client sucks. It’s even worse when you lose your biggest client who was your #1 source of income, and now you don’t know how you’re going to make ends meet. You’ve got to take action fast if you want to pay your bills.
I’ve been there, my friend. I lost one of my biggest clients a couple months ago – a client who was paying me over $1200 every month. It was tough at first, but it didn’t take me long to find new clients who more than made up for the loss of income.
Ready to learn how I did it? Keep reading and you’ll discover the 7-step process you can use to stay sane and quickly find more work when you lose your biggest freelance writing client.
1. Rebuild Your Confidence After Losing a Client
Losing a client doesn’t necessarily mean you messed up – sometimes clients have to let freelance writers go due to content marketing budget cuts or other reasons outside of your control. So don’t take it personally when you lose a client, and definitely don’t let it send you into a tailspin of insecurity.
Remember: You were able to score that high-paying client in the first place, which means you’re 100% capable of scoring another one. Find comfort in the fact that you’re better off than someone who is just starting out in their freelance career – you already know where and how to find clients!
For an extra boost of confidence, look over positive feedback you’ve received from past clients. This is a great way to remind yourself that you are good enough to win new clients and that you can make it happen – even if it takes a bit of time and effort.
On top of that, you can use your previous testimonials to land new work by posting them on your freelance writer website and LinkedIn profile. You can also reach back out to the clients who gave you the testimonials to see if they need any more writing help.
2. Analyze Your Financial Situation
Now that you’re feeling confident again, it’s time to focus on the numbers.
If you have a few other high-paying clients, you may still be able to pay your bills and live somewhat comfortably after losing your biggest client. On the other hand, if the client you lost was your sole source of income, you’ll need to take action fast.
Start by figuring out exactly how much more money you need to bring in to make up for the loss. Then, set a goal (with a challenging deadline) that will motivate you to quickly make the amount you need.
Not sure what kind of deadline you should set for yourself? Try coming up with the most challenging (but realistic) one first. This is not a time for blue-sky idealism, but for pragmatic realism. Get clear on how much you need to make to bridge the gap and methodically work towards hitting that number.
3. Ask Your Happy Clients For Referrals
Your existing clients likely have a large network of other businesses that regularly require content production. Why not take advantage of that network by asking for a referral?
Send each of your happy clients an email asking if they know anyone else who might be interested in your writing services. If you’ve built a good working relationship with your clients, they’ll be more than happy to help you out!
Even the high-paying client you just lost will probably be willing to send you a referral if you ended the business relationship on good terms, so make sure you ask them too.
4. Pitch New Services to Your Existing Clients
As a freelance writer, it’s important for you to think of yourself as a Swiss army knife rather than a single blade. In other words, understand you have a lot to offer your existing clients and start pitching them additional services.
For example, let’s say you’re writing website copy for one of your current clients, and their site is almost complete. Instead of just sending off your final invoice and never speaking to them again, you could pitch monthly blogging services. That’s an easy way to turn a one-off client into a source of consistent income.
Get creative, and think about what each of your current clients might need more help with. If you can position additional services as something that will help them drive business results, there’s a good chance they’ll be receptive to your pitch.
5. Market Your Services Like Crazy
Think back to the methods you’ve used in the past to land freelance writing clients. You can use those same strategies now, and you’ll probably find work faster since you have more experience! If you’re not sure where to start, consider these 3 marketing methods:
1. Send Cold Emails
The key to cold emailing success is defining a niche on your freelance writer website and then pitching your specific target audience (based on your niche).
For example, if you write blog posts for insurance companies, state that clearly on your site and focus most of your cold emailing efforts on reaching out to insurance companies. That way, you’re emailing clients who are likely to want to work with you, and they’ll recognize you as an industry expert the moment they look at your site.
2. Build Relationships on Social Media
Make the most of your time spent on social media by connecting with your target audience and sharing content that’s relevant to them. You’ll also want to interact with your target clients’ posts – this is a great way to get on their radar.
Once you’ve built a relationship with a potential client on social media, you can reach out to them personally. Send a brief message letting them know that you’re a freelance writer specializing in their industry, and let them know how you can help their business. Be specific when you do this, and avoid sending a copied-and-pasted message that looks like spam.
3. Search High-Quality Job Boards and Sign Up for Freelance Writing Platforms
To build a long-term career as a freelance writer, you need to market yourself independently and learn how to get your own clients. However, when you’re in a serious pinch financially, it’s fine to look through job boards and try to find work on freelance writing platforms.
If you’re a blogger (or are interested in taking on blogging work), try the ProBlogger Job Board. As far as platforms, avoid low-paying sites like UpWork and Fiverr and try Clearvoice, Contently, or another high-quality freelance writing platform instead. It may take you a bit longer to find work that way, but you’ll find that the clients pay much more and are easier to work with.
6. Tweak Your Website and Messaging
When you lose a big client, you gain free time. One of the best ways you can use that free time is to adjust your freelance writer website and social profiles. Tweak your messaging to appeal more to your target clients, and you’ll find it much easier to sell your freelance writing services to them.
Here are a few actionable tips to help you make it happen:
- Put key words in your social media profiles based on your niche. For example, if you write website copy for B2B businesses, make sure you have key words like “B2B copywriter” in your profiles. This makes it easy for your target clients to find you.
- Collect testimonials from happy clients and display them. Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for all types of content marketing (at 89%). Showcase the testimonials you collect on your site and on social media to build trust with potential clients.
- Audit the copy on your freelance writer website. Go through each page and make sure every section is tailored to your target audience. If something needs to be improved, improve it!
If you’re hustling hard for new clients, you may even want to hire a proofreader or fellow copywriter to look over your site and social media profiles so you can get a second opinion. You might end up finding possible improvements that you’d have never thought of on your own!
Just make sure you don’t spend too much time tweaking your site and not enough time pitching and looking for work. The last thing you need is for your site to become a distraction that stops you from addressing your financial situation head-on.
7. Keep Going!
Remember – even the best writers lose clients sometimes. You might have to hustle for a while to make up for the loss, but as long as you work smart, you will be able to find new clients and get back on track financially.
When you’ve made up the difference, work to prevent the stress and financial strain of losing a client in the future. Build a savings account and financial plan that will help ensure you always have money in the bank and communicate with clients regularly so you know you’re providing them with the most value.
Also, consider changing your freelance business model to avoid relying on any one client as your sole source of income. That way, losing one of your clients is just a minor setback – not a huge financial blow.
What did you do last time you lost a major client? Share your story below in the comments section!
about the author
Writing Revolt, where she shares advice for freelance writers and bloggers. If you’re a freelance writer looking to land more clients, get your free copy of How to Turn Your Freelance Writer Website Into a Client-generating Machine today!Jorden Roper is a fuchsia-haired freelance writer and the founder of