Did you know that 35% of the global workforce is made up of freelancers?
If you ask us, that’s a whole lot of workforce proving that freelancing can be rewarding and a great way to earn money and live on your terms.
It really doesn’t matter what type of freelancer you are, from graphic design to photography to copywriting and just about everything else, you need to not only find clients but learn to keep them coming back for more. This is one of the best ways to ensure you stay in business as a freelancer.
You do this by ensuring you look after your clients and their needs so that when opportunities for new work pop up you are there, or if they are unhappy you can pick up on it before it becomes dire.
A lot goes into maintaining a healthy relationship with your clients and once again it can be one of the best ways to ensure you continue your career as a freelancer.
Unhappy clients will never refer you and will eventually leave you for someone better. Delighting your customers at every turn is one of the best ways to keep revenue pouring in
Let’s explore the different ways to keep your clients below…
Tracking your billable time is to a freelancer like peanut butter is to jelly, you simply cannot have one without the other!
Not only do you need to know how much time you’re spending on projects but your clients also need to know that they’re receiving the value that they’re paying for.
You do this by putting in the time and the effort to accurately track your time so that you are billing them what you should be and if there are any disputes you can show them your time logs.
Tracking your time is also a great way to ensure that you are getting paid what you’re worth. If you don’t track your time and end up spending a lot more of it on a project than you thought you were going to then you will end up resenting the client because you lost money or did not make what you should have.
This can lead to delayed response time, unhappy tone on calls and meetings, or just flat out being difficult with them. Avoid this by making sure you were getting what you were worth out of each client by tracking your time and being transparent with them.
2. Keep Your Clients Happy
This goes without saying but you would be surprised how many freelancers totally ignore this.
Your clients want to feel good about working with you and one of the best ways to do that is to be kind and let them know that you not only care about the project, but them as people.
Some clients can be difficult to deal with and may not be happy at all and it’s not your job to make that happen. If you come across these clients, and you most certainly will, then once you wrap up the project feel free to move on.
But if they are just going through a rough patch in their life and apologize for being cruel to you use your judgment and determine whether or not it’s worth it.
And when it comes to keeping your clients happy, it is not rocket science. Overdeliver on your projects and be sure to communicate as frequently as you can.
Even if you are running behind on something and need a few more days to complete it, just let them know and you would be surprised how many people are willing to forgive you if you just let them know upfront.
You need to find a good work-life balance for your own sanity, if you’re overworked, your clients will see it.
Achieving the right balance can help you look after your clients better through a positive attitude and feeling well-rested.
If you are not getting enough sleep, not eating right, not exercising, or just not taking the time to take care of yourself it can impact your work in ways you may not even recognize until it’s too late.
Your clients will feed off of your energy and if you are fun and uplifting they will return that energy every time.
Staying ahead of the game in terms of tasks and deadlines is necessary for you to keep those clients on board.
The more deadlines you miss and the more balls you drop, the fewer clients you’ll be able to retain. The two go hand in hand. Prioritize having the right task management software.
We use and highly recommend Asana. There are several others out there but this one is all you need as a freelancer and even the free account is going to be more than enough for you to stay on top of your tasks and projects.
Keeping track of deadlines and clearly communicating with your client with reminders from the software is a great way to stay on top of everything you need to be doing.
By using a project management software you are sure to come across as more professional to your clients because you’ll be on top of every little detail of your project.
Stay on top of your projects and the tasks that are a part of them and your freelancing career is sure to soar above and beyond your wildest dreams.
You never want to be the freelancer who lost all the client’s files! Never, ever, ever!
Sign up for a service such as Google Drive or dropbox is going to be one of the best ways to manage your clients files. We are not huge fans of dropbox, although there are still plenty of people out there that love them.
We personally use Google Drive every single day and absolutely love it. The prices are fair and everyone uses it. Even upgrading your account to make sure you have enough storage for everything is worth it. Especially if you work in photography or video production as the files can be huge..
This one cannot be stressed enough. The light in your clients from day one is hands-down one of the best ways to keep them around. What do we mean by the lake? We mean going above and beyond to deliver on your promises and even going beyond what it means to be a vendor of theirs.
This means remembering birthdays were the names of the children, or sending them Christmas cards or even small gifts when the project starts. This will make you stand out above and beyond the competition and really big ways.
For example, I recently purchased a small item from the company Sweetwater who sells music and audio gear. I only spent about $100 but I received multiple text messages, emails, and even the packaging had a thank you note from the owner.
I could not have been happier with a customer support and experience from the moment I pressed by now. I have now decided to shop with them for everything just based on the experience alone.
If you go above and beyond your clients expectations to the light them every chance you get, not only will they stick around and keep you on board for additional work, but I will definitely refer you to their friends and fellow business owners.
A really great book on this topic is Never Lose A Customer Again by Joey Coleman.
Be approachable to your customers. One way to keep them coming back for more is to let them know that they can come to you with issues and challenges.
Setup communication guidelines with them and stick to your guns. There are ways you can be coached in the right way of running your freelance business, always keep that in mind.
You can use your project management software to stay on top of this as well. I personally always set a weekly reminder on either Thursday or Friday to provide a quick update for my clients no matter how much progress was made that week.
Keep in your client up-to-date on everything going on with the project is one of the best ways to keep them happy.
Even if you’re falling behind, as mentioned above, communicating that with them and explaining that everything is coming along but you may be a little behind will actually make them feel much better just knowing that you are willing to reach out.
Don’t drag on with excuses, just on the fact that you’re running behind and you are doing everything you can to get them what they need.
Clear communication is one of the most necessary skills as a freelancer and doing everything you can to get better at it whether it’s through email, over the phone, in person, or on the zoom call, you need to be better at clearly communicating if you want to make it as a freelancer .
Fantastic Freelancing For Pros
Along with everything mentioned above you need to keep this in mind:
Your clients are part of the journey that’s made you into the freelancer you are today. Pay attention to them, take criticism with a pinch of salt, and learn from your mistakes.
If you are looking for more useful information about being a freelancer here is a great post you might love on planning for your retirement.