If you’re a virtual assistant or freelancer, you might dream of that one big client who will hire you full-time. But working with just one client or employer has a big drawback that you might not have considered.
In this blog post, I’ll explain why you should never depend on just one client (or even one employer). I’ve been there – so learn from my mistakes and avoid making them yourself.
Plus, I’ll share two key steps you should take to protect yourself as a freelancer so you can feel sure of a guaranteed income, every single month, and won’t have to stress about how you’ll pay the bills next month.
Let’s start with a little backstory…
As entrepreneurs, we have the luxury of taking vacations at the times that work best for us. And we LOVE it.
Now with that, we have to plan, we have to budget, and we have to make sure we have income coming in that covers our bills and travel costs. Gotta work hard to play hard, right?
I was packing for our biggest trip of the summer. New York, Boston, Disney World, Maine, Connecticut… to say it was a HUGE trip is an understatement.
Most of us know how stressful packing for a vacation is, and I thought I had all my other bases covered. I was working with my biggest client; you know, the one that “kept the lights on.”
We had a good working relationship, a few hiccups along the way, but nothing we didn’t push past. I was dedicating more time than usual to his business because I believed in his project, and let’s be honest, he paid really well too!
So we left on vacation (yay!), everything was going as planned…
He cancels the renewal contract. Just like that.
Was he allowed to do that? Yup. Was I freaking out? Double yup.
We were just a few days into our trip, I already had everything planned and booked; how was I going to pay for everything when my major source of income just up and left?!
It wasn’t anything I did wrong, and sometimes these things just happen.
Clients’ budgets go down, they’re understaffed, they think they can finish the project themselves… the list goes on and on.
And I’ll let you in on a secret, this wasn’t the first time this had happened to me either. So now you’re asking yourself, “Why would you possibly want to be an entrepreneur if you know that clients can just leave you in the dust? What if I need a steady, secure job in order to take care of my family?”
I have another secret for you: there is no security in ANYTHING.
And this leads me to:
Why should you never rely on one client?
Think about it, your employer can fire you tomorrow; massive layoffs happen all the time. Big businesses still have budget cuts, they still have deadlines, and they give no promise to keep you around if they don’t need you anymore. Harsh!
After this happened to me, I finally had the most important realization of all: never put all of your eggs in one basket.
When you have all your eggs in one basket and rely on just one client, you have no safety net. If something goes wrong, there’s nothing to catch you and tide you over until you land your next job.
And yes, I’m also talking to those of you who have a “safe and secure” corporate job.
We need to get over the fear that being an entrepreneur is worse than being employed, or that being employed means that you’re safe.
Is it scary to go out and get the work yourself? Heck yes!
But the fear itself shouldn’t be the reason not to go for it.
So what do you do when the one client you depended on isn’t there anymore and you have to figure it out? Freak out!
I’m just kidding, don’t do that.
But you very well may be freaking out if you don’t have another plan in place.
We’re all guilty of it, wanting to do right by the client who pays the most, and putting in extra hours to make them happy. But regardless of the warnings you heard, you did put all your eggs in one basket, and now you’re freaking out.
2 things you can have to protect your livelihood
1. Enforceable contracts
This means being realistic and preparing in advance. If something happened to a breached contract, what would you do about it? Is it worth taking to a small claims court in order to get any money or products back?
Think about why we almost always advise you to have your clients pre-pay for your services (unless you really trust them to pay after).
This will ensure that you’re going to be paid for your service, and also serve as a buffer until the next client’s payment comes through.
2. Multiple streams of income
For your peace of mind and financial security, you should be working towards multiple streams of income.
What other ways can you make money so if you lose a client today, it won’t be the end of the world?
This could mean having other clients, mentorships, courses, products, retreats, live coaching/consulting, being an affiliate, you name it.
If you don’t know of an additional service to offer, just start by offering the same service to additional clients.
Did you know that most millionaires have 7 streams of revenue? How many do you have? It may seem impossible now, but just remember to start slow.
This is not a new concept, people. This WORKS.
Having multiple streams of income will guarantee that you don’t have to depend on one client.
I know many of you may think that you would rather have one high-paying client over multiple lower-paying clients, but this isn’t the way you should be conducting your business.
If you wanted to work for one high-paying client, then you might as well work for an employer. But we wanted to be entrepreneurs, remember?
We’re not going to be putting all our eggs in one basket anymore.
Also, you can’t grow your specialties by sticking to one client. You can’t step out of your comfort zone, and you can’t get more recommendations from different people if you’re just with one client.
This is about also growing your business horizontally as well as vertically. It’s about growing confidence!
I encourage you to take this information and look at your business and clientele.
If you still feel lost in how to grow your business horizontally and broaden your horizon, 90 Day VA offers a strong community where you can post stories and ask for help. We are always here and want to see you succeed. Now go and get those revenue streams!
You can watch my free intro class to find out more about how to work online as a VA and offer in-demand services that will attract your dream clients. Sign up now to save your spot and wave goodbye to financial insecurity as you build a safe and secure future for yourself!
Mellisa Walker is a former US Marine who is tackling her career in tech and also in the virtual assistant world. She loves to organize and finds peace in getting all your ducks in a row. To see all the services she offers and how she can help you, check out her Facebook.