A lot of freelancers have a few larger clients and several smaller clients. This can be a fantastic way to build your freelance business because you’ll spend less time chasing down new clients and more time working on projects. More work=more money.

Unfortunately, there is a real danger that goes hand-in-hand with this method. It’s a problem that has the potential to derail your entire freelance business.

If you rely so heavily on a certain client for income, what do you do if they suddenly disappear?

No, I’m not talking about a large client who gives you ample notice that they’ll no longer be able to work with you, I’m talking about a client who goes silent in the middle of a project. A client who blindsides you with the worlds greatest disappearing act.

What do you do?

You can try to continue to reach out to them and you could even consult with a lawyer.

However, wouldn’t it be better if the problem was non-existent altogether? That’s why it’s extremely important to recognize the warning signs of a client who is going under and Freelancers Union has a few amazing tips to help you do just that.

“Dropped communication

It’s not uncommon to have an email or two go unnoticed; people get busy, and there’s no need to think IMMINENT CLIENT BANKRUPTCY every time a message goes unanswered.

But if something seems really wonky – if a once-busy stream of assignments has suddenly petered out, if you’re unable to reach contacts (or get any messages returned), or if you’re getting a lot of evasive answers to questions – beware. This is, of course, doubly true if your check has started coming late. Significant delays in ordinary systems may be a sign of a big shake-up, and it’s very unusual for a client’s communication style to change overnight, unless they’re practicing major damage control.

If you’re continually facing a wall of silence – or even consistently curt replies – start asking questions. You may be encountering the quiet before the storm.”

See the full post at Freelancers Union.