Busy (and reliable)
The thing that made you busy might have been the reputation you earned for being reliable.
Ironically, that very busy-ness might destroy your reputation. That’s one reason that so many service providers stumble once they begin to gain traction.
There are two things you can do before the crisis hits:
First, say “no.” A lot. The gigs you would have taken when you were struggling might not be the gigs you should take now. Your reputation for reliability earns you more trust, and that trust gets you invited to work with better clients and on better projects. The cost (benefit) of that is that you’ll need to turn down opportunities that you would have been willing to take on just a little while ago.
Second, tell the truth. It’s hard at first, particularly since our self-conception might have been built around independence and invulnerability. But being reliable doesn’t mean being perfect. It means being clear.
Two mottos that might help:
“You’ll pay a lot, but you’ll get more than you paid for.”
“Our secret is that we don’t lie to get the project.”