I know I am always preaching about the virtues of consistent marketing, but this weekend off has really got me thinking. I came across The Irreverent Freelancer's Friday post entitled "The Freelance Market is Temporarily Closed." Kathy Kehrli discusses something I think every solopreneur ends up struggling with a some point or another – balancing a schedule crammed with existing clients and projects while continuing to market for new clients. I can relate to this post so much right now that it's not even funny.
You have enough work to keep you busy for months. In fact, you can't fit in any more clients right now since you are already working 10-15 hour days seven days a week to handle everything on your plate as it is. Your marketing fear is a legitimate one: suppose you continue the same pace of marketing, and a prospect responds with a new project while you are completely swamped with projects. Do you accept and do a mediocre job, or place them on a waiting list for up to one month?
And then there is another scenario to worry about: Suppose you stop marketing altogether while you are busy, then November and December roll around and you don't have enough projects scheduled. What then?
I actually experienced this situation a couple of weeks ago while working on several projects at once – one of which was quite challenging. I suddenly had a new client, which was a testament to my vigilant marketing efforts, but the timing couldn't have been worse. Working with a new client takes extra time to make sure you understand the project scope and understand their business needs. Unfortunately, I just didn't have a lot of time to spare. Somehow I pulled it off, but what about the next time?
I've seen writers post messages like "Not Accepting New Clients until …" on their websites. Believe me, I have certainly felt like doing that, but don't think I can. In times like these you could loose a client in the blink of an eye. How badly it would effect you depends on a lot of things like whether you have another income to depend on, how much money you have saved to fall back on or whether you have other clients in place.
This is becoming a real challenge for my freelancing business. Still, until I find a better solution, my gut is telling me to keep on marketing (maybe contacting fewer prospects) no matter what.