Written by Mat Casner

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Ep. 14. – 3 Reasons why you should start building valuable relationships


The Freelance CEO Podcast with Mat Casner
The Freelance CEO Podcast with Mat Casner
Ep. 14. - 3 Reasons why you should start building valuable relationships

3 Reasons why you should stop gigging and start building valuable freelance relationships

Are you overwhelmed with the idea of finding brand new clients each and every month? Just to keep your Freelance business alive will stick around because I’m going to show you three reasons why you should stop the gig finding treadmill, and start building some valuable Freelance relationships.

I understand what it’s like to have to find new clients, and believe me, there’s nothing more stressful. There’s nothing more overwhelming than to be setting and waiting for the phone to ring or waiting for the email to come with the next job, the next client. And it’s, it’s tough beating the bushes, trying to go out there and find new clients for your pipeline every month. There just really isn’t anything that can match that kind of stress and overwhelm. However, what I want to share with you today is a strategy that I hope will help take away some of that overwhelm and some of the stress that comes from the the need to have consistent work in your Freelance business. I wanna tell you a story about when I was a young freelancer, and like many of you, I was getting started, I had just a few clients in my portfolio, and I found myself just really working hard, trying hard, getting stressed out, trying to find new clients for my business.

You know, part of being a freelancer that kinda comes with a territory. However, when you start to see your clients in a little bit different light, then I think you can find a little bit of hope. And I think if you, you know, stick with me here, some really profitable and successful long-term strategies, you know, today in this gig economy,

I mean, everybody is looking to find the next, find the next job. They’re out hunting on Upwork and Fiber, and it’s like, you know, all of these clients are, you know, throwaway clients. You get one job, you do it, you find the next one, you do the job, you, you, you move on to the next one.

And it’s this cycle and this this cyclical treadmill that we’re on. And it creates a lot of stress because while we’re working on a, a project in the back of our mind, we’re thinking where’s the next one going to come from? So what I wanna talk to you today, and I wanna share with you, are three reasons why you should really stop the mindset and mentality of having to find all of these new clients and start focusing on building relationships with your existing clients and how that can be not just less stressful in your business, but can provide you more stability and make it more profitable for you. So reason number one is building relationships is far less stressful than finding a new customer. And this is true in business in general, when you have got one person to buy from you, whether you sell cars, whether you sell flowers, whether you are a grocery store owner, when you sell crafting, you know, projects when someone becomes your customer, it’s much easier to sell that person again than to go out and find a new, a new customer. You know, marketing statistics don’t lie and that people will spend way more money to find a new customer than it will be to keep a, an existing customer happy. And so we should take a little bit of advice from that and recognize that the clients that are already in our portfolio have already done work with us.

And if we’ve done a good job serving them, should be easy to get work from again. Now, depending on who your client is and what kind of work schedule they have, your success may vary. But when I go into a relationship with a new client, immediately I don’t start thinking about who my next client’s gonna be after them. Rather, I start to invest into the relationship with the client that I have, and I start to build an affinity with them. I start to learn about their business. I start to learn about their brand, what their business goals are. And at first project that I have with them is a terrific primer to really get in and start building relationships with the people that work for that business. The goal in my mind is to always create a long-term engagement, is to always create an opportunity for myself to be able to do work long after the initial project is over. I’m looking for opportunities to where I can jump in either on a regular basis or on a periodic basis. I want to be the person who kind of becomes that go-to guy for that business and be able to solve a specific problem that that business owner has.

The more that I get to know that business owner, the more that I understand their business and I can become a better problem solver for them, and they have a trusted resource in me that’s consistent and trustworthy. So number one, it’s way easier to build relationships with an existing customer than it it is to go out and find a brand new customer. Reason number two, when you build trust with your client, they’re going to be more apt to call you when you have a relationship with your client that is built on trust. When you serve your client with integrity, and when you are fully invested in playing as a part of their team, they’re going to have a value built into you that will help carry you month after month after month.

When I got my first retainer, when I got my first client that hired me on retainer, that was a sign to me that this customer really values what I bring to the table. So much so that they want me to be available on a monthly basis and they’re willing to pay me every month for a piece of my time. And getting that first retainer was a bit of an aha moment for me because then I’m like, so I’m going to be invoicing this client not just this month, but next month and the month after and the month after and the month after. And when you have that steady trust built with a customer, you can start to build a long-term relationship that will provide you with some consistent ongoing income. And if you’ve ever been on the feast or famine rollercoaster, you know how real and how stressful that is to have income one month and then the next month, you’re just kind of wondering what’s gonna happen this month, right? So having a relationship with a client who’s going to hire you month after month is super valuable. So that comes with trust, and we want our customers to trust us and see us as a part of their team.

Reason number three is there’s a long-term play that can happen when you become a trusted member of your Freelance client’s team. And I can tell you with 15 years of full-time Freelance experience that this is very possible to have a customer that will work with you month after month, year after year for a consecutive number of years. In fact, I’ve got Freelance customers that are in my book of work that I have been serving now consistently for over 15 years.

I don’t say that to brag, but I do say it as an example that when you start today to identify ways that you can serve your client, make yourself valuable to them, and not just see them as, I’m gonna do this job. I’m gonna take as much as I can and I’m gonna get out and go find another one. When you work with a client, you want to be kind to them, you want to be respectful for them, you want to be courteous, you want to have good customer service, and you want to have all of those things so that that customer not only feels like you value them as a client and as a business owner, but they see you as a trusted part of the team.

And as long as you continue to serve them and continue to give them great results, there really is no end to the the type of relationship that you can build. Now, circumstances change, and I’ve had clients that I’ve had retainer relationships before that I, I I have ended. And we do not, I don’t do work for them as much anymore or not at all.

But then there are some clients that to this day I still get work from. Now, here’s the little pro tip that comes when you actually have work with a client that trusts you. When you start to build a relationship with a client, they will give you work and they will require some sort of a bid or estimate to get that work done. And that’s part of the job, and I understand that. And so it’s not an issue, but when you find a client that trusts you, when you find a client that is counting on you as a part of their team, it’s almost like the relationship they have with you goes to an entirely new level. I can tell you that I have multiple clients now that when I hear from them, they just know that when they request something from me, I’m going to get the job done. We don’t talk about price, we don’t talk about rate. All they know is I’m gonna get the job done at the end of the month. I’m going to invoice them for my work. I’m going to detail out the work and the services that I provide to them, and they happily pay my invoices. That is a reality that for me is a freelancer that I don’t have to go in and bid and nickel and dime. Every hour that I spend for a client is so invaluable to me that I have that trust level with my customers that they would allow me to do work for them and not haggle or worry about the invoice that I’m going to send them.

That really, my friend, is when you get to a level that that trust is so good with that client that they’ll just call you up and ask you to do work for them. To recap here, you know, three reasons why you should stop the gigging and start building relationships is, number one, it’s, it takes way less effort to do more work for an existing customer to build a relationship with an existing customer than to go out and find a brand new cold customer.

It just takes so much more effort to go out and find a new customer than to cultivate and build a relationship with an existing customer. Number two is that the more that we have a trust factor with our customer, then the more work that they’re going to feel like they can give us and it will give us more opportunity to create opportunities to solve problems and get more work from those customers.

And number three, there’s the long-term play that we can have impact in our customers lives, not just for a short-term, but in extending into months or even years. And the lifetime value of a client at that point can be very, very significant and can help make your Freelance business even more profitable. So I hope that these, these tips will help you start thinking about cultivating relationships with your existing clients and investing time with them, not spending as much time going out trying to chase down called leads. You may need to do a little bit of both, but don’t neglect the customers that are already in your book of work and let them help you build your Freelance business.

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