When finding a new project takes a long time, but giving up is not an option.
Unless you’re a freelancer who prefers quick gigs, you already know the perks of having a long-term project. First of all, it’s the closest thing to having a full-time job, without strict work hours and that one colleague who sneezes 16 times in a row.
Long-term freelance gigs provide financial security. You probably have a strong relationship and good communication with your client and projects run smoothly.
Unfortunately, everything also comes to an end. You know the story: you work for a client for months, maybe even years. You like the work you do, and they like how you do it.
But then, the news strikes you like thunder. “So there’s something I’d like to share with you,” or you receive an email that starts with “Unfortunately, this project has been canceled.”
That rarely means something good. Usually, it means that the long-term project that you relied on for so long has come to an end. It’s natural, it happens to everyone, but it hurts.
You didn’t expect it to end now (or ever) and now you have to start all over again. Searching, interviewing, getting rejected, or ignored until you find something else.
Unless you’re a superstar like Neil Patel, and jobs come to you, this is the moment when you need to roll up your sleeves and dig deep.
And even though people around you will often tell you that you’ll find another gig just like you found this one, you know it’s not that easy. After all, you don’t want another one — you want this one back! But it doesn’t work that way and here’s what you can actually do about it.
- Get the most out of this situation
If your long-term client liked how you did your job, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t recommend you to someone else. Make sure you ask them if they have a new project they’d be willing to share with you or if they know someone who needs a good freelancer like you.
Have in mind that your clients are just as busy as everyone else, so they might need a reminder that you are open for new projects after this one is finished.
When your contract ends, thank the client for everything they’ve done for you and for the great cooperation you had. Send them an email and be clear about your position: ask them if anyone else on their team has a project for you or if they know someone else who has.
Leave them your personal email and let them know they can reach you any time. Remember, everything that you do well today has an impact on your life. Maybe not tomorrow, but definitely sometimes in the future. So make sure that every contact you make counts.
2. Let everyone else know that you’re looking for a job
Looking for a new freelance gig is not much different than looking for a full-time job; it includes telling everyone you know that you are officially open for new projects.
Take some time to make a list of people you can reach out to. Think of your friends, former colleagues, people you met while networking.
Go through the contacts on your social media, the cards in your wallet, the events you visited in the past months (or even years).
So before you go to usual places to find work (such as Upwork), try telling people you know first.
3. Make a fresh start
Clean your desk, delete all the files and documents you’re not using anymore. It’s like opening a window in your room and letting the fresh air come in.
While it’s easy to get accustomed to good things, (such as having steady incomes from long-term clients) sometimes the lack of change is bad for business. Things need to change and, even if it means a little bit of struggle from time to time, it’s a good thing. Remember, there is no progress without change.
Good things take time.
Freelancers treat their computers like their offices, so make a big cleaning in your office and get ready to start the search for the next big thing. Get up early, finish your morning rituals, and start looking.
4. Create something for yourself and post it online
There are not many perks of losing a freelance job, but if I need to pick one, it would be having more time on your hands. Now that you don’t have to work for someone else, you can finally do something for yourself.
Finish the things you’ve been planning to do, but you never had the time; write an original piece of content, draw something, brainstorm that idea you had a while ago, but you were just too tired to make something out of it.
5. Be patient
Good things take time. For me, being patient has always been the most difficult step.
In my experience, the best clients found me and not vice versa. Sure, whenever I was looking for a new gig, I eventually found something I liked.
But thanks to my already established profile on Upwork, some of the best clients reached out to me, and it was during times when I wasn’t even looking for new projects.
So try not to panic and don’t say yes to everything just because you are desperate. It worked for me, and I am sure it will work for you too.