6 Tips to Getting repeat business as a freelancer


Freelancing often means a lack of a steady paycheck. But one of the best ways to ensure a stream of revenue is having clients continuously return for your services. How do you make and maintain that relationship?

Repeat business is one of the most important revenue sources for freelancers. Long-term relationships mean steady work. Steady work means less insecurity, fewer ups and downs and less dependence on the feast-and-famine cycle.

In short, getting work from clients with whom you have already worked is going to be essential to keep your business rolling.

Acquiring new clients is much more cumbersome (and thus more expensive) than “activating” existing clients.

If you play your cards right, clients will be so happy with the first transaction that they will remember your name the next time something similar comes up.

Here’s how to increase your chances of cultivating repeat business in six simple steps:

1. Involve clients in the work process (if they’re up for it!)

Some freelancing contracts go like this: The client contacts you, you work out the details of the contract, set the deadline and deliver the product after a number of weeks.

This might be simple and efficient in some cases, but it’s also a good way to make sure the client never remembers your name.

The main way to avoid that is simple: communicate.

Go through important details with the client, ask questions, and think of alternative ways to do something – in short, involve them in the work process. This ensures they will get exactly what they want.

A perfect product means they will remember who it was that did it for them.

2. Be proactive in offering solutions

Another way to provide unexpected value to the client is by offering your expertise when talking about the project for the first time.

Your client might or might not have a very clear idea of the project goals or the best ways to achieve them. You’re the expert. You know what works and what doesn’t. So share that knowledge with them. Don’t be afraid to offer suggestions.

Let’s say you make webpages for a living and the design the client envisions is not exactly up to standard. Or you’re a writer and the client wants you to do a five-page article, which you’re sure nobody will bother reading.

Instead of just designing a mediocre webpage or writing a useless article, offer your advice. That way, you can be the one who takes credit when the client reaps the benefits.

Ultimately, there are different types of freelancers:

  • Executers: They work under the motto “tell me what to do, and I’ll complete the job”.
  • Problem-solving consultants: Their motto is “tell me what’s the problem, and I’ll suggest a solution”.
  • Strategic consultants: These professionals work under the premise “tell me your goals and I’ll help you reach them faster”.

As you can imagine, the last type of consultant can be a key part of the growth strategy of a business and any client will value that.

Such kind of consultants are not easy to find, so if you’re one, that will ensure that you will have repeat and long-term businesses with your clients.

3. Be reliable

This should be an obvious point. One of the biggest worries people have when approaching freelancers for a project is the lack of reliability.

Clients are often afraid they won’t be able to control freelancers as they can with employees in the office, which in their mind inevitably leads to missed deadlines and subpar work. Prove them wrong. Meet all your deadlines. Beat your deadlines when you can.

Deliver that extra cherry on top, that last 10 percent that makes good work great. Proving yourself to be reliable is an important step towards getting repeat business.

4. Follow up after finishing a job

The easiest way to signal that the business relationship isn’t over just because one project has been completed is to follow up after the fact.

Wait several weeks (or months, this will depend on the kind of work you did) after the project is done and contact your client. Ask them whether they are still happy with the work you did. Ask them for feedback.

Some freelancers take this step as far as creating a standardized survey for every client. This also has the added benefit of allowing you to track additional data.

For example, you could contact only your most satisfied customers separately at the end of the year. Not only will they be impressed with your dedication to creating quality content, but an extra email will help keep your name in their memory.

You could also turn an unhappy client into a happy one that you could keep as a recurring client.

5. Nurture existing relationships on a personal level

As a freelancer, your personality is part of your business. You’re a unique individual with a certain skillset, but you also work in a very personalized market. Photos matter. Your hobbies matter. How you interact with your clients matters, and not only on a strictly formal level either.

Being friendly on a personal level is one of the things that keeps long-term business relationships going.

Your client shared that they recently had a child? Ask how they’re doing. A client visited an interesting place? Talk to them about it.

Don’t underestimate how much those little details matter – they remind the other side that you’re not just a name in the emails, but a real person who cares about them.

6. Remind them you exist once in a while

Busy clients might forget how great that project went. Even if you left a good impression, keeping track of every single freelancer can be hard, especially for larger companies. How do you counter this? By keeping in touch.

There is a reason why a lot of freelancers have newsletters and like to wish their clients a merry Christmas. A lot of those marketing strategies are about reminding your clients that you exist.

So take a day every three months or so to contact old clients and see if it leads to something.

How important is it for you as a freelancer to get repeat business from clients? Tell us in the comments  below this article!

Viktor Marinov

Viktor is the voice behind the freelancermap blog. Every week he comes up with helpful hints, checklists, and guides for freelancers and independent workers. If you would like to know how to find remote jobs online or how to niche yourself as a freelancer, don't miss his freelancer tips!

By Viktor Marinov

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