Freelance writing has been known as a feast-or-famine profession. When things are good, writers can be so busy that they can’t imagine ever seeing the ends of their queues. Sometimes, we have sleepless nights or have to get up at weird hours of the morning to fulfill our deadlines and keep our clients happy. Then, without warning, the end of the queue is in sight and nothing else seems to be coming in. This is a common occurrence around holidays and in certain industries that have significant ebbs and flows in their production.
Fear not, dear writers!
You can keep the flow of work coming your way by getting your hustle on with awesome client communication.
1. Track Your Slow Periods
If you know things get painfully slow around the end of the year, or your best clients tend to ghost around April, you can do some heavy-duty digging for new work before the dry spell arrives. If you don’t know when things typically slow down, you won’t be able to put a remedy in place to cure your paycheck blues.
Of course, you can’t always drum up new work when you know you’ll need it—nor will you always be able to anticipate a slowdown. However, having the tools to anticipate typical trends will help you gain an advantage on an otherwise lonely pay period.
2. Reach Out to Your Clients
Here’s the thing: some clients will send you orders on Friday evening at 7 pm and expect a 24-hour turnaround. Fortunately, those clients are rare. Many of the people on the other side of the screen respect the fact that you’re a human who has a family and a life beyond content writing. In an effort to respect your space when most people are off work, your clients may not assign pieces to you, even if they have stuff available that needs to be written.
Here’s a great example:
I recently knew I would hit a dead wall with assignments. I reached out to all the clients from whom I had orders outstanding and told them I would be available and looking for work over a holiday weekend. Several of them (I think five in total) responded with multiple orders because the writers who normally work on those projects were unavailable for several days or weeks. I completed orders for end-clients I’d never even heard of, despite the fact that I’d worked for the agency client for several years. My client was grateful I was able to take the work, and the end client was happy to have content delivered on a regular schedule.
3. Keep a Pitch Document Going at All Times
You never know when a client is going to drop assignments; if they’re pitch orders, you can be caught off-guard if you’re not prepared. By keeping a living document of pitch orders, you’ll be ready for nearly anything at a moment’s notice. Keep your document somewhere that’s accessible at all times so you can reference it when you’re out and about if a particular topic tickles your fancy. If you never see a client drop titles with those subjects, you can use the ideas to generate samples or write blogs that you can sell elsewhere.
4. Let Your Clients Know About Your Availability
If you’re going on vacation but have a few days to get some words out of the way, touch base with your clients and let them know about your situation. Many clients have content calendars that are created months in advance. If you’re able to snag a few pieces before you go on hiatus, you’ll take a lesser hit when you get back to the grind.
5. Stagger Your Deadlines
Staggering deadlines with multiple clients and multiple orders can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. If you get a boatload of orders, reach out to your clients as soon as you can. The sooner you’re able to communicate the situation, the easier it’ll be to remedy your deadlines. Open the lines of communication by simply stating that you received several orders simultaneously and would like to know if any of each client’s orders can be adjusted. Most will have some wiggle room, and the ones that have hard deadlines will stay where they landed in your queue.
At WriterAccess, you have the ability to interact with thousands of clients across hundreds of industries. Whether you’re a niche writer who focuses on one specific thing, or you’re ready to tackle any project that comes your way, there are marketers here who could use your help. Apply now!
Kristin B is interested in anything that teaches her something new or gives her a different perspective on something she already knew. She’s a self-proclaimed Learn Nerd, which means the world is her educational oyster, and she’s always seeking opportunities to learn from life’s experiences and her clients’ assignments.