When you are working as a freelance writer, ideally you want to have a number of clients that you work with on a regular, or at least semi-regular basis. It helps to smooth out the financial ups and downs that go with the territory. Many clients would rather go back to a freelancer they have worked with successfully in the past for their future needs rather than hiring someone new for each project. How can you increase your chances of being the go-to person for future work? Here are some tips:
1. Be appreciative of the work.
This isn’t the same thing as deciding you’re not worthy to work with Client X and they are doing you a favor by hiring you. You are worthy. Period. End of discussion. What I mean is that it’s OK to tell your client that you are looking forward to working with them and/or that the assignment seems interesting.
2. Show up.
Really simple, I know. There are some people who, for whatever reason, don’t complete an assignment as agreed. They just disappear. If something happens and it turns out that you won’t be available after all, tell the client so that they can make other arrangements.
3. Read your instructions carefully before you start.
Go over what your client wants you to do a couple of times to make sure that everything makes sense. If you have questions or something isn’t clear, ask before you start working. It’s possible that you may run into a snag along the way, and if that happens, be sure to ask for clarification.
4. Respond promptly to client communication.
If your client gets in touch with you, give them the courtesy of a prompt reply. They may check in periodically to see how the project is coming along or need to tell you something that may affect the project.
5. Be flexible if the client needs to make changes.
Sometimes a client’s needs change and they need something else than what you originally agreed to. Being flexible doesn’t mean bending over backwards. If the change means a substantial change in what you agreed to, it’s time to renegotiate the terms of your agreement.
6. Turn in your work on time.
If you have agreed to a set deadline, then do what you need to do to meet it. Every time.
7. Say thank you.
When you turn in your assignment and invoice the client, thank them for their business and invite them to contact you about their future needs.
If you treat your clients well and behave like someone that people want to work with, you can turn a one-time assignment into a client who is a source of repeat business. What do you do to establish a good working relationship with your clients?
I’ve found that even if you don’t get repeat business from the individual client (because they have no need maybe) they often give my name to other potential clients. Word of mouth has vastly expanded my opportunities!