Before I became the Managing Editor of Be a Freelance Blogger, I was a reader, just like you. And I’m still an avid reader of the posts here to this very day.
One of my all-time favorite posts here on BAFB is this one on preparing for the Feast or Famine Cycle. It details how you can prepare yourself ahead of time for the “Famine” part of the cycle so that, when it comes, you won’t take as much of a hit financially or mentally. It’s great stuff!
But what about those times when – WHAMMO! – you find yourself in the “Famine” part of the cycle unexpectedly?
As freelancers, it’s not uncommon for us to be let go with little to no warning from contracts that were supposedly “steady.” It happened to me just last month! A company I was working for suddenly went under and laid off all of their employees (including me!) with zero warning ahead of time. None of us had any idea anything was financially wrong with the business until we found ourselves suddenly jobless. And that’s not an uncommon story among freelance bloggers.
First of all, don’t panic. What you’re going through is normal, and you will find another job.
After the bone-chilling realization that you’re suddenly “unemployed” sinks in, remind yourself that you’re a freelancer and that you’re never truly “unemployed.” You’re your own boss! The only way for you to be truly jobless is if you quit freelance blogging altogether. And you’re not about to do that, right? Yeah. I didn’t think so.
So, after you’ve come to grips with your new situation and reassured yourself that everything’s going to be fine eventually, there are a few steps you should take…
Step One: Take Care of Your Finances
The first thing you’ll want to do after you’ve lost your client is to make sure they’ve paid you for the work you already completed for them. Send out your last invoice and nudge them a few times if they’re slow at ponying up the cash.
Now would also be a great time to send out reminders for any other outstanding invoices you’ve sent out to clients who haven’t paid up yet.
And, while you “should” have been preparing for the inevitable “Famine” part of the freelancing cycle ahead of time, if you haven’t, then you’ll have to figure out some creative solutions for how you’re going to pay all of your bills. This may involve calling up various companies you owe money to (credit cards, utilities, etc.) and asking them for an extension on your payment’s due date. Or, you might have to make some tough calls and decide which of your bills you’re willing to let go “overdue” for that particular month in the hopes that you’ll be able to pay them off the following month…
You can also check in with clients you have a good rapport with and see if they’re willing to front you a little cash in advance. This is a move that I would reserve for “dire straits” situations, as you don’t want to damage a good relationship by seeming desperate. But, hey, if it comes between asking for a little cash up front or not eating that month – ask for the money. You won’t be able to hunt down a new job if you’re weak from starvation, after all!
Step Two: Update Your Information
Whenever I see someone whose been inactive on social media for a long time suddenly pop up and start updating everything, I can tell that they’ve lost their job and are desperate for a new one. And desperation gives off a certain “stink” that’s unattractive. That’s why I always encourage my fellow freelance bloggers to stay on top of these things, even when they’re busy.
But, if you haven’t been staying on top of those things this entire time: It’s okay. Just do what you can and try not to seem too desperate. Don’t beg for work. Just make normal updates. And spruce up anything that you’d formerly neglected.
This is also a good time to ask former clients for testimonials, if you haven’t already. Social proof of how great you are goes a long way toward getting new clients to consider you. Put those on your website!
Step Three: E-mail Your Network
Again: don’t beg anyone for work.
Simply let your writer friends, former clients, and anyone else you think could help you know that you have a gap in your schedule and that you’re on the prowl for a new client.
For former clients, you could ask them if they need your help again (or know anyone who does). For current clients, you could tell them you have some free time and ask them if they need any additional help.
Freelance blogging buddies are especially good to tell about your predicament because they understand what you’re going though, as they’ve likely been in the same situation themselves. They’ll empathize. Plus, fellow freelance bloggers generally have a better grasp over what it is you actually do and can make recommendations more well-suited to your needs.
Step Four: Hit the Job Boards
Most of my freelance blogging jobs fall into my lap by way of my website or as referrals from other bloggers and former clients. But, there are times when I can’t just sit around waiting for a job to appear – and that’s when job boards are a real blessing.
Try to make a little time each day to scroll through the job boards and see if any new gigs have been added. I like to check once in the morning and once in the evening. That way, as soon as anything that looks promising has been added, I can pounce on it immediately.
Being the first – or near the first – person to apply to a job can really increase your chances of landing said job. So be diligent when hitting the job boards and don’t be shy about contacting a prospective client if you have a good feeling about what’s being offered.
Some great job boards to check out are:
- Be a Freelance Blogger’s Job Board
- Problogger’s Job Board
- Blogger Jobs’ Job Board
- Freelance Writing Jobs’ Job Board
Step Five: Stay Positive!
Losing a job, especially one you really liked, can be a huge disappointment. But try not to let it get to you.
As long as you’re still making enough money to have a roof over your head and food in your belly, there’s no need to panic. You might not be able to do anything fun for a while (go to the movies, get a fresh haircut, etc.), but so long as the essentials are taken care of, you’ll be fine. Just make do with what you have and live a frugal lifestyle for a while.
Not only is maintaining a positive attitude better for your overall health, it’s also very attractive. Believe it or not, most humans prefer being around positive people. And that includes prospective clients!
Face each day with optimism and the belief that you will find another job.
After all, you’ve probably been through this before, right? And you survived that time! So you’ll survive this time too. Trust me.
Everything that’s ever been written — from blogs to billboards — was written by a writer, just like you. There are plenty of writing jobs available. New things need to be written every day. Just get yourself out there and KEEP TRYING. You’ll find something.
In the meantime, try to enjoy the fact that you have a little extra free time on your hands. You can use that time to work on some of your other goals, or simply catch up on the chores you’d been putting off back when you were “too busy” to tackle them (when I lost my job last month, I did a MASSIVE amount of laundry!).
Hang in there. Good things are right around the corner!
Do you have any other tips for freelance bloggers who are currently in the “Famine” part of the Feast or Famine Cycle? Share your knowledge in the comments’ section!