Every freelancer has had one: the bad day that just keeps giving. Mine came last year and was particularly nasty. I had just moved to Kentucky, bought a car and had to live on my own for the first time in five or six years. I had no backup, so if something went wrong, I was going to be in a bad situation.
Then the emails started.
First, I received an email from one client saying work would be declining. Then, I got one from another client telling me I was no longer needed on the team. No explanation. In that moment, I lost $1,000 a month in work, easily, in under 5 minutes.
At the time, I had no backup plan. I had a few opportunities, but nothing was as easy or as profitable as what I’d done before. It was a disaster. So what can you do if you have a bad day like the above? Here are a few things that can help you unwind and get back on track.
Take a deep breath and go do something else
When dealing with a blow that disrupts your income, you need to focus on something else for a minute. You might be personally offended, but you shouldn’t be. Businesses make decisions to hire and fire all the time; you may not have been a good fit for the company.
Freelancing can be tumultuous, so take your mind off the issue for a few minutes. Get a massage, watch TV, talk to a friend. Do whatever you can to relax before you try to address the issue.
Make a list
For me, making a list of the places I could apply for work or the clients I could follow up with was the next step. It helps me feel organized and like I was in control even though everything was not going well.
Start a plan
Once you’ve assembled a list of places you can work, it’s time to start applying yourself to fill that freelancing gap. In my opinion, it’s always better to have too much work than to not have enough, so apply for as many jobs as you can. Talk to freelancing friends, and reach out to those who are successful in the field. You might get the breadcrumb you need for stability through the next month, or you might find a life-long client; you never know!
Once you take these steps, you’ll find that the opportunities do open up for you. In my case, I asked freelancing colleagues about projects that were going on now. I ended up taking on three new projects that same week, which held me over. One of my clients got back in touch with more work than ever, and it wasn’t long before I saw an ad for VIPKID on Facebook, and now I have more than tripled my income since that day.
It just goes to show that freelancing can be difficult and unpredictable. If you want to freelance, you need to be prepared for the ups and downs; knowing how to handle them and find more work is the key to continued success.