Often overlooked as a source of work for freelancers, previous employers can become freelancing clients. Most people are too focused on moving forward to consider it, or simply want a change. But if you’re stuck for work, you shouldn’t rule them out.
If you would consider working for them again, all you need to do is get back in touch. Be careful though – they may want to be approached properly rather than just a phone call or email saying “got any work?” Write a proposal; hint at a creative brief or simply make a brand building suggestion that shows you’re up-to-date on their current clients and you may be in, just like that.
Make yourself look professional
Contact them with an updated CV, a link to your online portfolio or profile, and use a tone that isn’t too casual. Use your own judgement based on your relationship with them, but I suggest aiming slightly more formal than how you were when you worked for them.
Avoid sounding desperate
If you’re stuck for work it’s easy to end up sounding that way in emails or phone calls. Review your emails before sending them (or get someone else to) for any sign of desperation. Plan phone calls beforehand. Aim to sound like things are going well but that you are interested in working for them again. That way they won’t feel like you’re running back to them when things are tough in the freelance world.
If you don’t get a good response (or none at all) don’t keep calling or emailing. Follow up once and leave it at that. They may just not be interested anymore and you will not do yourself any good pestering.
Hopefully this article will help you find some extra work. I’ll be writing some other useful articles soon on the right way to approach emailing and phoning, along the lines of the following titles:
How to use emailing to approach potential clients
How to use phone calls to approach potential clients