Through the gig economy, you’ve become the master of your own destiny. You can work in coffee shops, by the pool, at the park, or virtually anywhere that inspires you to do your best work. But as enticing as working for yourself is, achieving complete professional independence means maximizing income. And the only way to boost your bottom line is to build relationships that lead to long-term freelance clients.
Want to earn six-figures? Who doesn’t?
And according to Forbes, over 40% of solopreneurs today have done it. While there are many factors that can play into this, including the branding and niche of your freelance business, one fact remains the same – it is far more taxing to constantly be attracting new customers than it is to continue serving the customers you already have.
To maximize your income, you need to keep clients coming back. And delivering the best product isn’t the only factor. Turning one-time clients into repeat customers takes a solid client retention strategy. Here are just a few tips for how to get (and keep) long-term freelance clients:
1. Develop an empathic communication style.
Client relationships are built on clear communication. And a little communication goes a long way toward both resolving work challenges and meeting expectations, which is just what you need to build long-term relationships with your clients.
Put yourself in the client’s shoes and focus on empathic and honest, but not confrontational communication. Ask for clear instructions and expectations so that you are able to provide deliverables that consistently meet your clients’ needs.
I have several unlikely repeat clients. We started our adventures together with poorly outlined expectations and confusion. But by applying empathic communication strategies, I was able to build trust, demonstrate my level of professionalism, make suggestions to improve the situation. This helped me turn short-term clients into long-term relationships.
Empathic communication not only improves client relations, but it can reduce the risk of ghosting, where clients just disappear without a trace. If your clients like you, they are more likely to respond to your questions, concerns, and requests.
2. Build a partnership.
When you’re freelancing, it’s easy to feel like you are completely apart from the clients that you serve. However, if you show your clients that you’re invested in their success, that short-term relationship can turn into a partnership. Here are a few ways that you can work on building a partnership with your freelance clients:
- Find opportunities to make suggestions on the content you are writing or your client’s content strategy.
- Demonstrate how you’ve helped them achieve their business goals through performance analytics.
- Pass on information, topic ideas, and articles they may want to read related to content in their industry.
- Ask them for feedback to show that you are interested in writing content for the long-term.
By consistently creating quality content that exceeds your customers’ expectations, you will be able to turn those clients who are skeptical about working with freelancers into true believers. This can be a breath of fresh air for clients who have only worked with sub-par freelancers who don’t meet their expectations.
3. Know your own worth.
To make the big bucks as a successful freelancer, you have to be confident in your work and abilities. This isn’t to say that you won’t take feedback. (Feedback helps you continuously improve and exceed customer expectations.) What I mean is that you understand the hard work and dedication you have put into learning your craft, and you are confident that when you submit a piece of content to a customer, you are proud of this work.
Make sure that you value your own time and don’t spend too much time in a situation where the client does not recognize your work. If you find that a client doesn’t understand the work that goes into creating quality content, you don’t have to retain them as a long-term client. Just complete the project, and move on.
I’m a firm believer in the power of positive thinking. I do affirmations many times a day to keep my thoughts upbeat and on track. I’m going to share one of my faves as a freelance writer. “I always charge what my product is worth. My products are always worth what I charge.”
Say it. Repeat it. Mean it. And live by it.
4. Communicate your worth.
It’s not enough to just know your worth. You must also communicate your worth to current and potential clients. As a successful freelancer, you’ve undoubtedly spent hours following relevant influencers, learning everything you can, completing certifications, and honing your craft. All of these types of activities increase your worth as a freelancer.
Make sure that your customers know your worth. When you complete a piece for a new client, take a moment to share some little things you’ve done as a professional to add value to their project. When completing ongoing work for small business, you can discuss with the business owners your strategy and technique for completing work, detailing the research and time it takes to finish a blog post, social media post, or e-book.
This not only helps you turn one-time customers into long-term clients, but it also provides leverage regarding your pay.
5. Generate referral business.
Seeking out referrals in the right way can strengthen your bond with existing clients. It can also help you build your client list with new business that is likely to be a good fit for you as a freelance writer.
One way to get more referrals is to mention them in your initial proposal. You might end with something like, “I’m confident in my ability to deliver results, earn your positive testimonials and referrals.” This will let the business owner know immediately that you welcome referrals.
Another way to general more referrals is to cash in on words of encouragement. If someone is blown away by your work, thank them. Then let them know you’d appreciate it if they’d share your profile with others who may have similar projects.
For best results, specific when you ask for referrals. You’re not just looking for any referrals. You want to help clients that are similar to those who have really liked your work.
Though not quite a direct referral, testimonials can also help bring new clients to your business through digital “word of mouth.” Ask your best and most satisfied clients to leave you online reviews in order to help other businesses find you online for freelance work.
Above all else, you must be able to deliver a referral-worthy service and/or product. Treat each client’s work as seriously as you would a full-time job, and this will help ensure that each is getting the attention and professionalism that will inspire them to refer others to your brand.
Get More Repeat Clients
Are you ready to get long-term freelance clients? You need to be able to communicate, build a relationship, and deliver your work while getting paid what you are worth. WriterAccess helps you build your freelance career by providing you with a platform that makes it easy to find freelance clients and build long-term relationships with them over time.
The sooner you join WriterAccess, the sooner you can start building your freelance clientele. It’s free. No bidding. No nonsense. You’ll find straightforward pricing and clients who value your skills. Apply today.
Leigh M. is a full-time writer who specializes in Marketing, B2B, and Healthcare writing for businesses promoting their brands through engaging and informative books, articles and copy. She has an MBA level education, a strong Medical Management background as well as extensive marketing, SEO and analytics experience. She leverages advanced content optimization tools like Yoast, Grammarly Pro, Moz, Advanced Marketing Institute, Hemingway Editor and more to deliver polished content ready to meet content objectives. Leigh has the heart of a teacher and her clients appreciate that she can break down high-level topics like biology, nutrition, risk management, analytics, branding, technology, as she shares information in a friendly and informative way. She receives stellar reviews from clients for her consistent customer care, high-quality product, and dynamic creativity.