The lowest points in my career as a freelancer and running an agency were when a relationship with a client was lacking.
If I knew that a client was happy, my inconsistent touch bases always made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough – or worse – leaving money on the table from lost referrals. After all – if they aren’t hearing from me much, why would they remember to recommend me or buy more from me?
Even worse, if the relationship is left ambiguous, it adds nothing but stress to my outreach strategy. Everything feels so personal when you’re a freelancer.
I wasn’t alone, though. Many freelancers feel this way. After all, very few go into freelancing to manage tedious client relationships. I wanted to make websites and do photo shoots – not follow-ups and sales work.
The hardest pill to swallow is that when you struggle to establish clear communication and maintain a positive rapport with your clients – it leads to missed opportunities, lost revenue, and a damaged reputation.
After over 10 years of freelancing and running an agency, I’m happy to say this is a fairly easy fix.
If you follow these three rules for freelancer client management, it’s hard to go wrong:
- Never end up in client limbo
- Have a reason to stay in touch
- Make it easy for your clients to start more businesses for you
Let’s discuss the rules in detail.
Rule One: Never End Up In Client Limbo
Client limbo is when you have that insecure feeling about exactly what you client is expecting from you.
Did you do some free work for them at one point, and now you’re not really sure where you stand? Or did you do something once, and now they keep asking for more work under the guise of that original task?
Maybe you feel responsible for a cascading amount of things because you helped them at some point.
This is client limbo.
Freelancers should avoid being in limbo with their clients because it can lead to wasted time and effort without any guarantee of future revenue-earning business!
It is essential to always be clear about your relationship with your client to avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunications.
If you can’t define your relationship with your client, you have a problem.
By establishing clear boundaries, expectations, and deliverables from the outset, both parties can ensure they are on the same page and working towards the same goals.
This can also help to build trust and strengthen the relationship, leading to a more productive and successful working partnership.
Clear communication can help prevent disputes and conflicts, saving both the freelancer and the client time, money, and stress in the long run.
A lack of clear communication and direction can damage the relationship with the client, making it difficult to establish trust and secure future projects.
Rule Two: Have a Reason to Stay in Touch
A freelancer should always strive to stay top of mind with their clients and potential clients to ensure that they are the first person they think of when they need their services.
A freelancer can build a strong brand and reputation by consistently staying in touch, providing valuable insights and updates, and showcasing their skills and expertise.
This can lead to repeat business, referrals, and new opportunities, which helps freelancers grow their client base and increase their income.
The added upside of doing this means you get to get back in front of them and then show off what you are currently working on.
Rule Three: Make it easy for your clients to initiate
Making it easy for your past and present clients to start new projects with you is crucial for building long-term relationships and securing repeat business.
By simplifying the process of initiating a new project, you can reduce the barriers to entry and make it more convenient for your clients to work with you again.
The fewer steps a client has to take before their problem is solved, the happier they are! Happier clients lead to new business opportunities and an expanded client base.
By streamlining the project initiation process, you can save time and reduce the risk of miscommunication, ensuring that your clients are happy with your work and willing to continue working with you in the future.