Two days before Thanksgiving I received The Email; one of my retainer projects wasn’t going to be funded in 2009 – a victim, the client said, of the economic upheaval.

No, the timing wasn’t great, but I wasn’t surprised. This was a speculative project – one living far from the organization’s revenue stream. And in tough economic times, being “far from the revenue stream” is more an epitaph than a harbinger of survival.

The point isn’t whether this will happen to you (it will). The real point is this: How will you react?

Walk Away? Or Try Again?

I’m satisfied I did a good job, and the good results reflect that. Still, it was a luxury project, and while I can walk away with my head held high, why would I walk away at all?

The client was happy with my non-revenue producing work – so why not pitch them a revenue-positive project?

I’m working on the pitch now, and approaching the client this week. The concept? They have a gaping hole in their marketing process where they should have a revenue stream.

I’m offering to create that revenue stream, and do so quickly.

To do it, I’m putting together a pitch that’s both persuasive (hopefully) and topical (it draws on recent, well-known fundraising successes to prove my point).

And to help it fly with the spreadsheet zombies, I’m willing to back-load my fees (accept the bulk of payment toward the end of the project so expenses show up after revenues are flowing).

Will it work?

Hard to say. Tough times make for bunker mentalities at a lot of organizations, and new projects – even those with revenue-positive projections – are often relegated without a thought.

Still, why walk away?

The freelance copywriting life includes plenty of rejection and down economies; both can be painful, but both also represent opportunities, especially if you’re looking for them – instead of seeing only¬† doom and gloom.

Keep writing, Tom Chandler.