What To Do When You Lose A Client

hikingSubject: Never take a pay cut

Here’s the scenario: You’ve just lost a high-paying client.

What should you do next?

You can wait for something to happen, or you can take productive action.

Being a writer or entrepreneur is fraught with setbacks and obstacles. Losing a client can feel like you’ve been dragged back to the starting line in your business.

You may be angry, confused, or devastated. That’s justified (if you fulfilled the contract).

But, what you do next will largely determine how successful you’ll be in business.

After assessing the facts for a possible solution, stop dwelling on the disappointment, and most importantly, don’t evade the facts.

Take control of the situation.

Your priority must be to replace the lost income. And that means it’s time to find a new client.

You can use the shotgun approach or a systematic approach. I recommend the latter.

Taking the action steps below will defuse your disappointment, get you back on track, and ensure you…

Don’t take a pay cut.

Here’s what you should do next:

1. Immediately increase your marketing activity

If your ex-client gave you 10 hours of work a week, use that time for marketing. This blog is teeming with marketing ideas for writers, and it’s a vital component of the business.

Start by writing blog posts, asking for referrals, posting on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

2. Contact past clients

Go through your list of past clients (your most valuable asset) and contact them in order of priority. Email or phone those you worked with most recently. They’re more likely to say yes, as they’ll remember you.

Spend an hour going through your list. Make notes on those you contact so you can follow-up in two days.

3. Ask your current clients for extra work

Some of your current clients could assign you extra work. Often they they simply overlook it, or believe you’re already fully booked.

This is a simple strategy and requires just one phone call or email. You can have an answer in minutes with this approach. This reduces prospecting time, and you know you’ll be paid on time.

4. Look for emergency work

This is a great way to get above-average rates. Here’s why: many companies are let down by writers (a surprising number), but they still need to meet their content needs. In such circumstances, companies will pay substantially higher rates if you can deliver work quickly.

With this approach you can expect to be editing poorly written articles, reviewing blog posts, expanding on stories or interviewing newsworthy individuals.

Back to the purpose of this article…

Don’t waste time. You need to…

Take immediate action.

Replace the income you’ve lost and don’t dwell on the bad news.

You can’t control why clients leave. It could be bankruptcy, reduced budgets, marketing policy or something else. Those things are beyond your control, but you can succeed despite them.

In short, you control how you respond. Ultimately, your success will be determined by it.


-Tom Crawford

P.S. By the way, big-budget clients rarely break a contract, which is why I emphasize looking for high quality clients over high paying gigs.