What To Do When You Don’t Have Clients for Months

Writing about this sends chills down my spine even today. It is the scariest thought for anyone who has started something of their own or is considering to do so. This was my biggest fear too, which stopped me from taking the plunge long back. Though I was never a full-time job seeker, I would invariably land up with contractual opportunities to make sure that I would not have to scout for new clients at the end of a project.

Now that I have taken the plunge, I have noticed that it’s not just me but a very common fear that most startups/entrepreneurial ventures/ freelancers have. If you are not backed by an investor to run your operations, it can be a very nerve chilling fear.

How will I pay my bills and salaries?
What do I tell my employees/partners who work for me?
Will I be out of the game very soon?
Will I have to pull down my shutters and start looking for a job?

These are some of the questions that most new entrepreneurs like me don’t have a clear answer. I have learnt it the hard way and took me a good couple of years to set things right. These are the few things that I keep in mind to make sure that I am not haunted by that question ever again.

Be absolutely vocal (and may be even blow your own trumpets sometimes) about what you do.

Be seen, be heard, be present. Make sure that more and more people know about what you do. Attend events, networking conclaves, make small talks but don’t forget to make it clear what your company does. You never know from where you might get a call one day looking for your services. This happened to me so many times. I keep sharing what I do with my friends and I have landed projects purely on the basis on word of mouth and acquaintances.

But be very careful that you don’t bore people with your stories and end up sounding like a marketing gazette.

Have your leads pipeline full at any given point of time.

Remember that guy you cold called 3 months back, who said he might need your services later on sometimes? May be now is the time to hit him up once and check about his needs. It’s extremely important to have your leads pipeline full and updated all the time. Spend about 2 hours everyday in gathering leads. They might not convert right away, but they can come to your rescue when you are going down with your business. Work on your leads, update them, keep them engaged and don’t let them forget that you still exist.

With a strong leads pipeline, you can easily project a six months float time.

Be very strict with your finances.

If you are not sure your business model is sustainable and you don’t have an investor backing you, be ruthless with your finances. Don’t overspend on anything that you think is not a necessity right now. Want to buy that pool table to entertain your clients? Hold your horses!

Make sure you have a reserve of six months worth of salaries and overheads at any given point of time. Once that reserve is built, you can look at other expenses. But proceed with caution, always.

Why six months? Statistically, it is proven that businesses that can survive six months without making profits have a good survival rate.

Work with freelancers wherever you can.

If you are a new business without much operational budget in hand, working with freelancers is a great way to start things. There are two advantages to this: a. you will be working with experts, b. you will save on monthly salaries, which you will have to pay to your full time employees even on months when there’s no work.

Work like copy and content writing, graphic designing, UI/UX designing, video editing etc can be easily outsourced to credible freelancers through sites like www.freelancers.com. Once your business is up and running on it’s own two feet, you can hire in-house writers and designers.

Pro-tip for working with freelancers: Always sign a contract and treat them well.

Now that you read through the article, here’s a little something about me.

I run a boutique content marketing firm www.sugarquote.in based out of Pune, India. Apart from writing relevant stories for my clients, I am busy these days writing my first novel. Wish me luck!