— April 10, 2018
Friends, family, and other aspiring business owners always wonder how I find consistent work for my business. Recurring clients are the lifeblood of my business and many others.
Recurring clients keep your income predictable and make it so you don’t have to scout out new customers regularly. It’s also easier to sell new products or services to someone you’ve already built a relationship with.
Here’s my process for working with recurring clients:
Market Yourself as Someone Who Does Recurring Work
This may seem obvious, but it’s a common mistake that people are making. If you position yourself as someone who does one-off assignments, you’re continually going to get one-off work instead of the recurring clients.
For example, web designers who do websites can easily attract people who just need a single project done. A site does not need to be redesigned over and over so you need to be a little creative here to get recurring clients.
Could you offer weekly website maintenance packages? Could you do smaller recurring projects like landing pages and email designs that a client would need on a more regular basis? Put your thinking cap on.
Be Remarkably Responsive
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hired someone to help me run my business and they’ve been unresponsive or late turning in work. These are two very simple things that can put you above the competition.
Clients want to start a recurring partnership with someone they can trust. They don’t want to have to go out to find new contractors every time they need work done either. Respond to emails within 24 hours (if possible) and produce good work to get them coming back.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Your current clients may have a need they don’t know you can fulfill. Upsell to clients whenever you can. As a writer, there are tons of services I can pitch to clients— email marketing, blog posts, ads, ebooks, course content, and more. Think of what you can pitch your current roster of clients to gain new consistent work.
Stop Jumping from Gig to Gig With No Plan
There’s also a mindset shift that you need to make to move on from “gigs” to recurring work. You need to start thinking of yourself as a business and brand rather than someone who’s going from job to job making money here and there. This mindset is fine when you’re freelancing on the side for extra money, but it’s not the right mindset to have when you’re turning it into a full-time business.
I don’t speak poorly about freelancing in general because it’s how I got my start writing for publications, businesses, and entrepreneurs. A large part of my income does still come from writing-related contract work. But you have to think bigger than how you’re going to get the next gig if you’re going to establish a solid recurring income from your work.
Make it clear to your clients that you’re running a business with packages and not a disorganized side business. Think about having clients hire you on monthly retainer so you can book your calendar out.
Ultimately, the main negative of running your own business full-time is inconsistent income. But you can get consistent income if you play it smart.