When you work on a contract basis with clients, it’s a given that your income won’t always be steady. But when you get a big client that provides a lot of ongoing work, it keeps the money flowing in nicely. In fact, you might start to neglect your marketing efforts due to time constraints or complacency.
But what happens if you lose that big client?
You might think that as long as you do a good job it’s a sure thing, but that’s not always true. Sometimes clients have to cut costs or maybe it’s just not a good “fit.” Your client could go out of business, shift his focus to an area that doesn’t require your services, or just decide to shut down a business line where you were the sole VA! I’ve lived through all of these and it happens more often than not.
Losing a large client can be a big blow to your finances as well as your ego. But if you keep a positive attitude, you can bounce back. Here’s how:
* Analyze what went wrong. If it wasn’t your fault, ask the client for a recommendation and use it to help get new clients. If you could be to blame, find out what you could have done differently and offer to make amends. Do what you need to do to put it behind you, then concentrate on getting more work.
* Ramp up your marketing efforts. If you’ve completely abandoned marketing your business, you’ll need to work overtime to get back up to par. It’s tempting to spend every waking moment looking for clients, but it’s crucial to spend some time on marketing so that clients can come to you.
* Touch base with past clients. A simple phone call or postcard will serve to remind them that you’re still there if they need you. Who knows, one of them could be in desperate need of your services and simply have lost your number!
* Ask for referrals. Clients that are pleased with your work are often happy to recommend you to colleagues. You could even offer an incentive, such as a discount on future services for each new client that is referred.
* Find other ways to monetize your skills until you find new clients. Work on projects of your own, promote others’ products and programs as an affiliate, learn a new skill. This will help minimize the financial blow and help you keep your skills sharp.
Sometimes in our world, having all of our eggs in one basket is a preference. For example, I prefer having less number of clients with more hours, so much easier that way. This means that having a backup plan in place and ongoing marketing efforts all the more necessary.
How have you dealt with losing a big client? Comment below!