Not long ago a writer was complaining to me that they hadn’t heard from their best client in ages. Somehow it reminded me of this Irving Berlin classic, All Alone By The Telephone. Okay, I’m dating myself and I never really liked the song, but I identified – particularly when I was in high school waiting for a date to the prom.
Clients come and clients go
One of the truths of freelance writing is that clients come and clients go. Most of the reasons client’s quit calling you has little to do with you or the quality of your work. Consider:
People often change companies. When this happens you may not hear about it ever, and the person who hired you is unlikely to hire you in her new position. In fact she may not have the authority to do so.
People get promoted. The manager who hired you last year may have been promoted and his new tasks don’t include hiring a freelance writer.
People retire and have no need of freelance writers. Even if they passed along your contact information, their replacement probably has their own freelancers they prefer.
Projects get postponed indefinitely and/or dropped. This is true for everything from individual book projects to large company initiatives. You won’t always get the word.
Entrepreneurs run out of money – so do larger organizations. The budget for freelance writers may disappear.
These five are fairly typical and happen much more often then we tend to realize. And there are more like them. Notice that in each case, the freelance writer had no control over the situation, no input at all in most instances. Nor was it about their writing. Life just happened. Change occurred, as it always will.
Waiting just doesn’t work
I don’t know why it’s so tempting to wait to hear back from a client rather than to continue looking for the next one. I suppose it’s because waiting is perceived as easier than marketing or talking with new folks.
If it’s an existing client we sometimes seem to think we should wait out of a misguided sense of loyalty. “After all,” the reasoning goes, “maybe I should hold myself available since they were such a great client last month.”
This is patent nonsense. Unless they’ve got you on retainer and you’re being paid, there’s simply no percentage in holding yourself available. Yes, it may mean they have to wait for you to finish a project before you can get to their next request. It’s called doing business.
Even worse is the kind of thinking that goes “…they paid me a lot last month – maybe they will again this month.”
This is wishful thinking and most often it means a significant dip in income.
There’s no need for you to wait “all alone by the telephone.” It’s anything but the smart thing to do. Move on with your marketing. You’ll be glad you did.
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Write well and often,