This reply might come across as gloating, but it’s 100% not. Due to the nature of the thread I thought it worth sharing the way I work, generate work and how busy I am right now.
When my local lockdown was announced I had some new clients booked in for work, some of these cancelled. I was expecting hard time ahead but I was wrong. Two of those that cancelled rebooked saying it was kneejerk, but they slipped in my work schedule as by then I was booked solid.
I don’t chase, or even accept high paying work. I avoid if I can accepting work on “misson-critical” websites, by this I mean sites from which the client earns directly or indirectly their sole income. I took this decision at the start as I didn’t need the stress!
On average my sites cost about €600-1200. A client can get a site from me for as little as €200, if they use one of my templates and if they have their content 100% ready to go.
I see the money I make building websites as a bonus, my real interest is the hosting cost: I host almost all the sites I build, and it’s this that makes me my regular income. I charge on average €30 a month for hosting. Not cheap, but as my sites are cheap people don’t mind: Everyone is getting used to paying a monthly fee for things so my approach fits with the present times.
On top of hosting I charge a monthly fee to update/maintain client sites. The sales pitch is easy: "For €30 you get hosting, but if you increase that to €60 you also get one hour of dev time per month. Increase the monthly to €120 and you get three hours and free hosting. Many clients opt for this, so it keeps me in regular work and a regular income.
I average a two or three new clients a month. At the moment, since lockdown, I have seven new clients waiting for me to build their sites.
Why? Because initially I’m cheap, I make no bones about that. But also because for the last few years I have built a substantial mailing list of potential clients all over Europe and I send them a news letter ever fortnight. This lists runs about 100k, and before anyone asks, it’s fully GDPR compliant. “How can that be?” you ask. Go and actually read the regs I reply
In the last few weeks I’m getting on average three emails/calls from potential clients a day, all desperate to get their websites “sorted”, as they all admit it’s something they’ve neglected for a long time. Some are in touch saying their site is old and they realise that when things return to normal they need to massively up their game to stay in business, and they know a website is key to this.
Of these people calling me many are time-wasters, but some are genuine and most of those I’ve converted to new clients.
They are contacting me because they’ve got used to my fortnightly newsletters, can remember the name of my business (newsletters are all about brand awareness) and so decided to give me a shot.
As I said at the top, I’m not gloating here, I’m just trying to show a different way to do things that means you are not always 100% reliant on new client work for income, and that no matter how many in the RW HATE newsletters, when done consistently and when done right, they work.
I know this won’t much help you now, but if you are going to use this time as Will suggested, to “skill-up” maybe use it to rethink the way you operate and market your business, it might pay dividends the next time a hiccup to the economy comes along.