Last week, the editor of one of my long-time clients, Australian Macworld tendered his resignation. This is not all that unusual as people do move between jobs. As Australian Macworld has been a long-term client (they were my second freelance client and I’ve worked with them constantly since about 2004) I know the people, publication and business reasonably well.
As soon as I heard about the staffing change I contacted the managing director of the publishing company to ask if they needed help keeping things ticking over while they recruit a new editor. I figured this would be a win-win situation. I pick up some extra work over the next few weeks and I help solve a problem for the publisher. So, I went into the office and had a meeting with a couple of key people.
By the end of the meeting we thrashed out an arrangement whereby I would take over as the Editor on a part time basis. This suits my work/life balance – I have no desire to take up a full time job where I commute to an office every day – and the publisher gets an experienced editor.
The point is I saw a client with a problem. I contacted them promptly, met with them, asked lots of questions about the problems they had and negotiated a solution that would benefit both parties.
There’s a lot of talk about how the local economy is making it hard for business. And a lot of that is true. But where larger companies are reducing staff or people move into different roles, there’s a place for enterprising and confident freelancers to solve problems.
For the publisher of Australian Macworld, they needed an editor on board quickly. They wanted to manage costs and have someone with some commercial smarts and editorial experience come into the role.
One my side of the equation, I like having retainer clients that offer me stable cash flow and interesting work. And the workload will fit in with the other work I do. It will mean I’ll need to bea little more structured in my work day but that’s not a bad thing.
As companies change their staffing models, there are great opportunities for freelancers to solve business problems. If you’re a freelancer by choice you should keep your ear to the ground. If you hear about a full time person leaving a role then contact the company and explore whether there’s an opportunity for you to fill the breach either in the sort or long term. The worst thing that can happen is you waste a phone call.
Or it could turn into a great opportunity for your freelance business.