Writer's Digest

Losing the Big One

There’s a line from Mad Men that resonates with anyone who has ever worked as a freelancer: “The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them.” That uncertainty is why the freelance life isn’t for everyone; some folks prefer the stability of a job where someone else takes care of keeping you busy.1Writer's Digest US Smart freelance writers embrace this part of the job and make landing new clients part of their regular operations,2which makes time management the big challenge for most freelance writers—how can you find new clients when the clients you already have eat up all of your time? And once you have a robust list of clients and you’re actually making a living as a writer,3 it’s easy to get comfortable and let the search for new clients slide. After all, you’re making money, and you don’t have much time left over for pitching anyway.4

You can get away with that—if you don’t have a whale on your client list.


What, exactly, is a “whale”? A whale is a single client that accounts for a huge percentage of your income. Losing a small client out of many means you can probably fall into is getting a whale for a client—and getting really comfortable with that money, assuming they’ll never lose them.

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