Every now and again I run into a freelance writer whose business model is, at least in theory, finding and writing for clients. The problem is they’ve only got one client who is paying them for their writing.
Even when a single client is paying you plenty, you really need more than one customer.
The truth about clients is that every one you’ve got right now will eventually disappear. If they’re an individual, they may die or go into a different business or retire or move out of the country or… the list is almost endless.
The same thing is true of a corporate client. Even big corporations fail. Any corporation may decide for whatever reason to replace you with an insider, an offshore service or the CEO’s kid who just graduated from J school.
As freelancers we have no protection against being laid off or being fired or just not being needed anymore. That is, we have no protection unless we create it ourselves.
The best way to assure work continues to come in no matter what happens to any single client is to have multiple clients.
The corollary is, of course, not to let any single client monopolize your time, at least not for any length of time. It’s one thing when a writing customer needs your full time attention for a week or so, but if they want to hire you full time for months, I’m going to suggest that you offer 30 or 35 hours a week instead. Or, if you take a full 40 hours from them, plan on developing one or two additional clients you can handle by adding a few hours to your work week.
The goal, obviously, is to provide at least some transition income if your big client goes away.
Finding additional clients is a function of your marketing. Working with more than one client also keeps your writing fresh, since they each need something different, and when the major customer goes away, keeps you from feeling desperate.
How do you keep from depending on a single client?