One Minute You’re On Top of the World, The Next … Not So Much

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Over the past five months I have enjoyed a very stable flow of work and adequate income thanks largely to two new clients. Everything was going great leading into the new year, and then one of those new clients decided to take their writing in-house in late January.

I figured I would be fine because I still had enough work coming with my other clients. I didn’t have to work a lot of hours to make a decent income which was nice because it gave me a lot of leisure time. There were days when I only put in about three or four hours of work and that was enough to maintain my livelihood. The first 2.5 years of my career were mostly spent pitching stories or looking for new clients, so it was a huge relief to finally sit back and not have to worry about marketing or pitching for a while as I had all the work I needed coming down the pipeline on assignment. 

I was living on Easy Street, but I have to say I might have become a little too comfortable in these new digs. I had all but given up on journalism, and hadn’t done any marketing or pitching at all in months confident that this work would continue for a long time and fund my plans for the year. (I’m moving into a new apartment this summer which will require I buy a lot of furniture to fill it.)

But today word came down that my biggest client is putting the brakes on their content project until the fall. I always knew this would eventually happen, I just didn’t expect it would happen now. They were my bread n’ butter. Now, with the loss of this source of work and the loss of my other client in January, my workflow is about to dry up almost completely.

It’s okay though. Like I said, I knew this would happen some day, and it’s just the nature of the freelancing business. One day you’re on top of the world and the next you’re bottom of the barrell. No client lasts forever. Every project reaches completion. When that time inevitably comes, we, the hardy freelancers, cannot be deterred. We can’t let ourselves fall into doubt and pity. While it is a constant battle to stay positive and focused at times like these, we must be resolute to succeed. We must pick ourselves up. We dust ourselves off. We push forward.

After spending so much time NOT marketing or pitching, it’s actually a refreshing change of pace to get back into it. I’m out there looking for gigs, making contacts, and forging relationships once more with renewed verve and zest. I’m also much more discerning about where I apply, wasting no time on low-ballers.

So here I sit staring into the gaping maw of what might be a slow season, but I will not give in to despair. I knew this is what could happen the day I signed up for this career, so I’m not surprised and will not give up. After all, with my experience after three years in the business it has become a lot easier to find new clients. The only challenge is finding good ones that pay a livable wage!


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