Picture the scene: you recently secured a new freelance client.
You spent hours communicating with them about the job, working on the deliverables and tweaking them until they were perfect. And your work was received with nothing but positive feedback. (Happy dance!)
However, it’s now been two weeks since your last contact with this client. You’re pretty sure that the company would want to work with you again because you did such a good job for them before. In fact, you probably pinned all your hopes on having the extra monthly income.
That said, how come it suddenly feels like they’re ghosting you just as hard as your ex-love interest?
If this scenario sounds familiar to you, it’s likely that something must have gone wrong along the way. After all, if it really was the dream partnership, the client wouldn’t want to let you go.
Want to ensure that this doesn’t happen again? Not to worry – read on to find out how to turn a one-off freelance job into recurring work.
1. Be a Dream to Work With
Turn a one-off freelance job into recurring work 101: actually be nice to your clients.
It sounds pretty obvious, I know, but I’ve previously acted as the client as well as the freelancer. Therefore, I can tell you that some freelancers make the mistake of being impolite or unreliable through phone calls or emails.
And that’s not cool.
Whether they were burned by past clients, are struggling with their workload or they’re just not the greatest communicators, it hinders their chances of getting more work.
Build top-notch communication and customer service skills in these 3 ways:
- Be warm, friendly and personal – There’s no need for robotic-sounding emails when you’re both human beings
- Reply promptly – I personally pride myself on my response time of 24 hours or less
- Try to establish a common ground outside of work – this builds the relationship with them as a person as well as a client
It won’t be long before you’re amazed at how many clients want to continue working with you.
2. Deliver the Goods Early
Whether it’s a blog post for a big brand you’re copywriting for or creating a logo for a company as part of your graphic design services, it goes without saying that you should always send over project deliverables on time.
That said, when you’re working with a brand new client, have you ever thought about sending them ahead of the deadline?
I mean, this shows you’re conscientious and enthusiastic. And it’s likely to impress your client that little bit more so that they’re encouraged to work with you again.
3. Go the Extra Mile
Speaking of going above and beyond, let’s say you’re a freelance writer.
Maybe your new client asked for a 500-word article, but you could quite easily add more value with a extra couple of hundred of words. In this case, do it.
Sure, you would normally charge a little more for a content piece of this length. However, if you take initiative and throw in a casual freebie and then tell them about the freebie when you deliver your work, they’ll be utterly flabbergasted.
After all, who doesn’t love a freebie? And better yet, who doesn’t want to carry on working with someone who always goes the extra mile? Bingo.
4. Make Helpful Suggestions
Don’t just be a Standard Sally, secure the assignment and deliver it before the deadline.
Instead, think of add-on services that you could offer to help your freelance clients succeed in their goals.
Pretend you’re a freelance writer again with a client who’s trying to gain more website traffic. In this case, you could suggest social media content ideas that you can write for them alongside a blog post.
Likewise, is your photography client trying to advertise a new product via their Instagram feed? Recommend a package that includes multiple feed and Story photos over a particular time frame so that they can gain more exposure.
The trick is to be as helpful as possible so that the client can’t imagine not having you around.
5. Show Enthusiasm
Newsflash: If you sound like you’re bored by a project on the phone or through emails, why would your client ever want to turn a one-off freelance job into recurring work?
Personally, I treat a client’s project as if it were my own. I’m excited to hear their ideas and just as enthusiastic to tell them mine.
If I’m not 100% invested in it (which can sometimes be the case) then I don’t even go there. After all, good relationships are everything in the freelance industry if you want to survive and thrive.
6. Ask Them to Consider You for Future Projects
If all else fails and your freelance clients tell you that they don’t require your services for the time being, ask them to bear you in mind for future opportunities.
You could even request that they keep you in their referral network just in case they know any other businesses or brands who may need your help.
Don’t be shy. Lay it on thick just how much you’ve enjoyed working with them and remind them that there’s always space in your schedule for their upcoming projects.
You might be surprised with the outcome.
Finally, if you followed the last step and a client promises to get in touch with you but then conveniently forgets, it’s up to you to follow up.
The truth is, people are busy and often easily distracted in the information-heavy digital age. Therefore, you need to put yourself out there to take your freelancing game to the next level.
I have freelance writing clients that I’ve worked with since I first started freelancing who still need a prod when it comes to arranging their monthly blog post.
There’s no shame in checking in every now and again with a one-off client to see if their needs have changed since you last spoke to them. In my experience, around 50% of the time, they say yes.
Figuring Out How to Turn a One-Off Freelance Job Into Recurring Work
When you’re working with a new client, your writing talent should speak for itself. That said, sometimes your client needs a little nudge in the right direction of an ongoing collaboration.
Even though it can be tempting, try to avoid discounting your services to get clients to work with you again. Always remember that you deserve to be paid what you’re worth. If it doesn’t work out with one client, there’s always another client out there who it will work out with.
Do you struggle when it comes to how to turn a one-off freelance job into recurring work? What’s your top way of securing a retainer? Comment below!