Reeling and Dealing with Client Loss

Photo by stock.xchng user Maja Lampe

I’ve lost clients over the years. The only one was because she didn’t like my work. However, in defense of my work, she wanted web site content that resembled her business plan — a bad idea that will not go over well with the audience.

I tried to explain the standard practice and support that with data. It was a relief to get out of that one because it probably would’ve turned into a dreaded project and a bad client.

Anyway, freelancers lose jobs because of budget cuts, changes in a company’s direction, the company going out of business and many other reasons not having to do with you. That’s why it’s important to have balance in your clients. If one dominates, losing the client will be dangerous and it CAN happen.

But that’s not what happened to me. I lost one client due to cutbacks. Another client may not be gone, but I haven’t been able to reach them. Then a games affiliate changed up its program. All this happened within a week or two, so it was a bit much.

I reacted like a human. I reeled and did the whole “Woe is me” thing for a few days, but without it affecting my work. I’m sure my husband was sick of me that week. As soon as I stopped reeling, I started dealing.

I sent emails and tweets to contacts to explore the possibilities of replacing one client with a similar type of client. I emailed the non-responding client a couple of times (spread out and to both contacts). I will keep trying to reach them without nagging. I don’t think they have a problem with my work because I’ve checked in with them a few times to ensure I’m more than meeting their needs.

Point here. You will lose clients and it will hurt even if it’s not personal. That’s OK. The key is to be proactive before and after it happens.

How to deal with losing clients:

  • Ensure you have a variety of clients and projects.
  • Make marketing a regular part of your job.
  • Check-in with your clients to see how you can better serve them.
  • Stay in touch with current and past clients. Cheaper than finding new clients.

What other tips do you have for preparing for losing clients and dealing with it?

5 thoughts on “Reeling and Dealing with Client Loss”

  1. Yikes Meryl.
    Sage advice for dealing with the loss of clients.
    I’ve had some go away and the weight off my shoulders was tremendous.
    I have one right now that I think may go away soon, the traffic/comments on the blog is dwindling fast and the owner contact is less and less frequent.
    All of these things help me to not keep all of my freelance eggs in a single basket.
    .-= George Angus’s blog …The Story of Charlie Z – Write The Ending =-.

  2. These are some good points you offer in your piece, Meryl. I especially agree with point #3 as it’s common for entrepreneurs to get caught up in the daily work load that they don’t consider there could be issues, unless the customer brings it up.
    By taking an active stance and asking your clients if there’s something else you can do to help them with their problems, it shows a genuine interest in their business. I would add, though, that this shouldn’t be limited to your own work. Instead, it’s a good idea to ask your clients about any issues they might have in general as it’s possible you might be able to refer them to someone in your network who can help them resolve it. If nothing else, this helps to cement relationships that will help you over the long-run.

  3. @Avil, what a rough lesson to learn. At least, it’s past and you know what to do going forward.
    @George, you have a good radar. No doubt, you’ll move on and stay strong as you always do because you’re good at what you do and a great person!
    @Tanveer, thanks for bringing up those important points. We all need to step back and do a check in on a regular basis so things stay strong.
    Ben Henick had a great quote that sums up this post complete with a Texas accent: “You’re better off doin’ than thinkin’.”


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