I’m hearing freelancers say things like:

“My last client asked for a discount. I guess I have to cut my rates now.”

“The economy is tanking. There are no clients out there.”

“I’m never going to make my income goals now. I’m toast.”

Maybe these sentences have come out of your mouth, too.

I get it. I do. I check out my Facebook feed, and it’s filled with friends who haven’t heard from unemployment or received their PPP loan.

I get emails from freelancers (and in-house folks) who have lost clients, had their work put on “pause,” and are wondering how long this situation will last.

It’s easy — so easy — to get sucked into the negativity.

I know, because I’ve been there too.

But here’s the thing.

Just because other people aren’t making money, doesn’t mean that you won’t sign a high-dollar client tomorrow.

Just because things are down in your industry, doesn’t mean that you can’t find the one thing that’s on the increase and make money.

Just because you lost all your clients during this COVID-19 crisis, doesn’t mean that you can’t pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and have your BEST MONTH EVER.

Stuff like this happens all the time.

You can choose to let yourself get sucked into the negativity. Or, you can choose to be the exception.

It’s a choice.

How can you choose?

From the mental perspective, you decide that failure is not an option. 

Easier said than done, I know. Especially when you’re worried about your parents, tired of your partner being RIGHT THERE all the time, and frustrated with your kids — all while trying to maintain your sanity.

That doesn’t mean you won’t have days when you’re rocking back and forth and wondering what’s next.

What it does mean is — you feel the panic, decide to push it down, and get back to work. 

It’s a mental game.

From the work perspective, you need to get very clear about how you’re spending your time.

– Waiting for jobs to come to you on Upwork (or even through your lead form) probably won’t work.

– Answering random job ads to “see what happens” probably won’t work.

– Scrolling through your Insta feed definitely won’t work.

There are things that will work, though.

– Checking in with existing clients and showing them specific ways you can help.

– Doing some old-fashioned online networking and making smart LinkedIn connections.

– Networking with other writers, especially writers who are more successful than you. 

– Working with a business coach who won’t accept your excuses and will keep you on track.

– Creating lead magnets that could help your clients now — and remind them that your virtual doors are open.

-Getting very clear on who your target market is (or could be) and what you bring to the table.

The key is to make a plan and stay in motion. Carol Tice’s book, The Recession-Proof Freelancer, (which was the inspiration for this post) outlines things you can do now to get on track.

(Of course, some of you may be edging into depression during these weird times. Sometimes, a small baby step is the best you can do. That’s OK. Do what you can and get the professional help you need.)

Why am I so sure this will work?

Because I’ve seen it work over and over again.

I’ve seen freelancers go from nothing in their sales pipeline to being swamped with business.

I’ve seen writers go from “companies aren’t spending cash,” to seeing their clients double — even triple — their spend. 

The money is out there…

But, there is one important caveat.

You have to be, as Leah Neaderthal says, “the painkiller and not the vitamin.”

It’s not as easy as telling your past clients and promising prospects, “Hey, I’m still working and I’m here if you need me.”

Instead, this is a great time to suggest specific ways you can help your client. That’s what showcases your value. After all, your client probably has 1,000 things on her mind. She may appreciate an outside voice saying, “Hey, I can do this for you, and you’ll see X as a result. What do you think?”

That transforms you from “just the writer” to being a valuable (and higher paid) content strategist — and grabbing your seat at the table.  

One of my SEO Copywriting Certification students sent me an email with the subject line, “Inspired.” Rather than sending her typical, “just checking in” note, she wrote her prospect a note outlining opportunities based on what was happening in her industry.

She went from feeling defeated to inspired after just one call.

She’s decided to be the exception.

How about you?

What do you think?

What’s going on in YOUR head right now? How can I help? Leave a comment and let me know.