What to do when you get Sick

Apr 27th, 2010 | By Allison | Category: Freelance Writing, Working at Home

Every writer gets sick at some point. It’s just a fact of life. You take the good, you take the bad…

Sick days are definitely “the bad” in the world of freelance writing. It’s unavoidable, but the sad truth is that a lot of freelance writers use “I’m sick” as an excuse when they’re late on a project or have other issues. So, it’s kinda like hearing “my dog ate my homework.”

But we really do get sick sometimes!

When you are too sick to work, here’s what to do:

1. Contact your clients ASAP. Even if it means logging online while your head is pounding for a few minutes, contact any client that was expecting work from you. If you don’t, they may think that you disappeared, totally blowing a deadline. Don’t wait until an hour before or after you miss the deadline (if possible).

2. Call in favors if necessary. If you’re going to be super late on a project, consider calling in the troops for some help. Talk to other writers you know about picking up some of the work.

3. Give a discount. You’d ask for more money for a rush project, so it just makes sense to give a discount if you’re late with a project. I recommend 5% to 15% depending on the scope of the project and how late you are. Alternatively, you can offer a discount on a future project (which is a good way to convince them to give you another chance).

4. Don’t worsen your situation by trying to work. If you really are sick, send out the emails you need to send out and then get thee to a doctor and/or bed. The sooner you’re feeling 100% again, the better.

5. Prioritize. Once you actually do feel well again, prioritize your projects based on which clients have been waiting the longest, which clients are paying you the most, and which clients seemed most upset about the late work.

Don’t abuse the excuse “I’m sick.” If you’re ill more than once or twice every year, your clients will find someone who’s not, whether you’re telling the truth or not. For those who really are prone to illness, buffer your projects with a few extra days so that if you get sick in the middle of it, you’ll still be able to meet the deadline.

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