How to Thrive Like Kathleen Labonge—Despite the Recession

Kathleen LabongeWhen Kathleen Labonge started freelancing in 2015, she worked really hard to build her business, Write Point Editing Solutions. The freelance medical copyeditor refined her specialty, chose her target clients, and developed client-focused marketing.

As Kathleen gained experience, she began to focus on attracting bigger, better clients. Soon, she was as busy as—sometimes busier—than she wanted to be. Kathleen was working with clients who valued her work and paid her what she is worth.

Then the coronavirus pandemic swept across the U.S., followed by the COVID-19 recession. Now Kathleen is facing her first recession as a freelancer.

Losing Freelance Work

“A client that had accounted for about half of my work for the past two years has been severely affected by the pandemic and the recession. The projects have dropped off dramatically,” she says.

Kathleen was able to bounce back from losing so much freelance work because she has multiple clients and had focused on building good relationships with them. Another client was busier, including with many projects to convert live workshops into virtual training modules. This client needed Kathleen’s help with its increased workload. And Kathleen had a steady flow of work from several other clients.

Preparing for the Recession

But Kathleen knew that she needed to prepare for an uncertain future. She began to focus on her mindset and the practical actions that she could take to not only survive the recession—but to thrive.

Kathleen is carefully evaluating freelance opportunities now and is willing to take on more work than she would in good times. “The future opportunities may outweigh the temporary inconvenience,” she says. In a recession, it’s better to have too much freelance work than too little.

She is also focusing on making herself irresistible to her clients so that they think of her first when they need more freelance help. “I always do my best work and go the extra mile by being helpful and adding value to what I deliver,” she says.

Doing more than clients expect is a great way to get more freelance work. Your clients will want to give you more work and are likely to refer you to colleagues who are looking for freelancers. Those colleagues are very likely to hire you because they trust their colleague’s recommendation.

Building a Strong Network

Strengthening her network is also a top priority for Kathleen now. She is doing telephone and video meetings with colleagues and focusing on being helpful to them by offering tips and resources that she has found valuable. Along with strengthening her network, the meetings with colleagues help Kathleen feel less isolated during the pandemic.

Your network can be more important than anything else in thriving as a freelancer during the recession—and even in good times. Building a strong, trusting network will help you:

  • Get more referrals
  • Meet more clients
  • Get practical advice and support from other freelancers.

Creating an Action List

Kathleen has also developed a list of actions to help her thrive during the recession. She has already taken some of these actions and has others on her to-do list.

One simple but effective action was contacting clients that she hasn’t worked with in a while. “This has already resulted in multiple projects,” she says.

Kathleen is also focusing on defining her ideal clients. She is developing new relationships that will help her find and attract these clients and will re-focus her marketing to attract them. This includes updating her LinkedIn profile, website, and resume.

Building her LinkedIn network is also on Kathleen’s to do-list. The pandemic has forced all of us to do more virtual networking.  By the time it’s over, virtual networking will have become a  productive and meaningful way to do at least some networking.

Plus, more clients are using LinkedIn to search for freelancers. Having a big, relevant network helps you rise to the top of search results.

Attracting New Clients

The sound marketing foundation that Kathleen established shortly after launching her freelance business has paid off. Despite the recession, since June 2020, Kathleen has gotten four new clients.

Two of these clients found Kathleen on LinkedIn and were also impressed by her website. Referrals and being active in the American Medical Writers Association led to the two other new clients.

“This once again proves that taking the time to develop all the freelance marketing tools is definitely worthwhile,” says Kathleen.

About Kathleen and Write Point Editing Solutions

Write Point Editing Solutions provides expert medical editing for medical communication and education companies, hospitals, medical practices, health care and health-related organizations, and other clients. Kathleen helps clients produce accurate, clear, and consistent content that:

  • Educates health care professionals and helps improves patient outcomes
  • Informs patients and the general public and helps enhance their quality of life.

This post is part of my Fearless Freelancer series. Like Kathleen, you too can become a Fearless Freelancer despite the recession.

Become a Fearless Freelancer 

Fearless Freelancer book

This post is based on my book The Fearless Freelancer: How to Thrive in a Recession

Steady, high-paying clients who need your help are still out there. The Fearless Freelancer will show you where they are and how to get them.

Developing the fearless freelance mindset is 1 of 10 steps that will help you thrive in the COVID-19 recession.

My book gives you an easy-to-follow, proven process for doing this—from a freelancer who’s thrived during two recessions and now, during the COVID-19 recession.

The print book is available now on Amazon. The e-book will be available in mid-October.

Recession-Proof Your Freelance Business

Learn more about The Fearless Freelancer:
How to Thrive in the Recession
Click here to start thriving today

Course in Freelance Marketing Gives Kathleen Confidence and Focus

Kathleen increased her confidence that she could succeed as a freelancer and learned how to focus her freelance business by taking Finding the Freelance Clients You Deserve, my online course to help freelancers learn the most effective ways to target and reach the right clients.

During the course, Kathleen broadened and clearly defined her specialty, which gave her access to many more freelance opportunities. Once Kathleen clearly defined her specialty, she knew which types of clients to focus on in her marketing and developed marketing messages to attract them. She revised her LinkedIn profile and developed a website and a logo (which you can see on her website). She also began to focus more on building her network.

Learn More About Kathleen and Thriving in the Recession



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Finding the Freelance Clients You Deserve, online course