No matter how good you are at your job, losing clients is always a possibility. It’s not always your fault, sometimes, it isn’t just a good fit. Other times, the client just leaves their project because they have other things to focus on or they’ve run out of funding. However, no matter what the reason, losing clients can still make you feel pretty bad—and that’s normal.
If you are new to freelancing, then losing your very first client can be a hard blow. Especially if you have only 1 current client that you are focusing on. As you progress through your freelancing career, you’ll start to have a different mindset when a client lets you go. You won’t see it as a bad event (it can still suck, of course, no doubt). But you’ll soon get used to how freelancing works.
That’s one of the good things about freelancing, there’s always something new to work on, and fresh ideas to take. And this is not possible if you stick to just one client. But for now, let’s discuss how you can get over losing your clients.
Tips on How to Get Over Losing Your Clients
You might be angry, frustrated, or sad. There is a spectrum of emotions that you may feel when you lose work, especially when you lose a client. It’s different from being an employee losing a job. When you are a freelancer, you have made a connection with a client, you worked for everything to get where you are. This means you did the marketing for yourself, searching for clients, dealing with clients, etc. That’s why it’s kind of worse when you lose a client. Here are some tips to help you through this hard time:
1. Let it out
You have to feel everything that you are feeling. Or else, it will bubble up and burst in an unexpected way. Process your emotions, and how you feel, and explore why you feel the way you do. When you are letting your feelings out, do it in a safe space, don’t let your anger blow over a client.
Remember that no matter what, you have to remain professional when speaking to a client, even if they may have cut you off in a rude or harsh manner. Once you have processed your emotions, then that is the time to reply to your former client (if needed).
2. Figure out the problem and create a solution
After processing your emotions, you should have a clearer mind now and be ready to get down to business. What you need to do is to address the reason why you lost your client. Is it something on their end or more on yours? Or maybe a bit of both?
For example, if you lost your client because of something you did (or failed to do) then you have to acknowledge that. Did you meet the deadline? Did you submit a deliverable that is incomplete? Or maybe, you knowingly submitted something that you did not give your 100%? Is it because you lost track of time? Maybe you are handling way too much workload? You should start looking into time tracking if you often miss your deadlines or keep losing track of time when working.
Okay, maybe the problem is more on the client like the business fell apart or the project didn’t push through. Maybe you should have a stricter vetting process when picking out a client. Or choose projects that seem more stable, for example working for a start-up vs working for an established company.
If you lost a client because it wasn’t a perfect fit or you didn’t mesh well, you might want to consider doing an interview with a client. It also helps if you do a deeper dive when researching your potential client in the future.
3. Improve your weak spots
When you are figuring out what happened with your project or the client that you lost, you’ll be able to identify your weak spots. Don’t feel bad that you have weak spots, instead be happy that you have spotted them. This way, you can try to improve on said weak spots.
Now, what you do with your weak spots can make or break your journey as a freelancer. If you are just going to whine about it or feel about it, then nothing will come of it. But, if you decide to do something about it, then you will go somewhere.
For example, if you lost a client because of a miscommunication, then it’s time to work on that. Take on email or online etiquette or study how to break communication borders if you usually have clients who have a different language than you. Maybe you make a lot of typos on your documents, so why not use an online writing tool or software?
How to Be Inspired After Losing a Client
Your ego and your morale can seriously take a hit after losing a client. But remember that it is not the end of the world. If you are feeling a bit low, here are some things to help you get back on your feet:
• There’s always a new project to discover
One of the best things about being a freelancer is there are multiple channels and endless opportunities. It isn’t a dead-end job and there will always be new ways to find a new client. The only way to get over the client that you lost is by thinking there is a new client out there just waiting to hire someone like you. You have to dust yourself off so that you can prepare yourself for a new and exciting project.
According to Fiverr, 78% of companies would rather rely on freelancing than add new staff. You can just imagine how many job listings there will be for freelancers in the foreseeable future.
• Don’t lose sight of why you do what you do
When you start freelancing, there will be times you want to give up. This is normal as there really are many challenges a freelancer can face throughout their journey. Every time this happens, you need a foundation you can hold on to. When you are feeling down and you just want to be swept away, you need an anchor. Figure out why you do what you are doing so that no matter what happens, you fail a project, you lose a client, or you didn’t win the bidding, you’ll be alright.
Maybe you became a freelancer for a flexible lifestyle or you are doing it to support your children. When you look at the reason why you are a freelancer, you don’t sweat the small stuff. If you lose a client, that’s fine because you are more focused on what you should do, which is to find a new one. It’s not your main focus to simply please clients, you have a bigger picture to fulfill.
• You can make space for something better by freeing up your schedule
Don’t think of losing clients as a “failure” but rather an “opportunity” to grow and expand. Maybe there is another client out there for you who will offer you a higher rate or a better project. You’ll never know and won’t be forced out of your comfortable shell if you don’t lose your current clients. So think of losing clients as a good thing and not always such a bad thing.
Losing clients can be a very bittersweet event. It can make you feel bad, frustrated, and sad but if you look towards new beginnings, it’ll help you grow into a better freelancer. Losing clients is part of the freelancing journey, what you do with them will indicate if you will move forward, spiral down, or remain as is. Freelancing is about growth, use this event of losing clients as something that will propel you to reach your maximum capabilities. Use it to help you become inspired, to be a better freelancer for your future clients.
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