So you’ve decided to go it alone. No longer will you come in to your office, sit down and have a supervisor or senior designer tell you what to do. For most of us, this is what we long for. We want to set our own schedule and have more freedom to do the things we enjoy, while making great money. It happens every day and thousands of freelance designers are successful at it. I’ve covered many topics about freelancing before, such as how to get business and how to find new clients, but I’ve never discussed how you can lose clients. Getting clients is one thing. We can all promise them the moon, but keeping them is a completely different story. So How do you lose clients as a freelancer?
You Can Lose Clients as a Freelancer By Making Promises You Can’t Keep
We all want new business. Its a sign of growth. For some of us, it’s the thrill of the hunt. For others, it helps with confidence. Getting new clients is great. Get all the new clients that you can possibly handle. Where the problem comes in is when some designers make promises that they can’t keep just to land their new client. This could range from setting unreasonable deadlines for our own work, to promising a specific amount of business growth from our design solutions. It could also mean that you said that you could design something that you just don’t have the skillset for. This is a bad practice and it will come back to haunt you in the end. The consequences could be that you have to outsource portions of the project and it cuts into your profits. Another possibility is that you could lose your current client. An even worse possibility is that you could lose potential clients that they would refer to you. 70% of my business is via referrals. The other 30% is strictly Google and my website. Always keep in mind that what you do now can drastically alter your business’s future.
Why do you think your client gave you a deadline in the first place? It’s because they wanted it done by that time! They may have an event, or a sales rush, or they may need your work to boost their sales during a slow time. If they get it after the fact, what good will it do then? Don’t procrastinate, don’t take your sweet time, just do the project and get it done for them on time, or even ahead of schedule.
Just Being Slow
You can’t take forever to do things. Most clients call you because they are excited about what’s happening with their business, or they need results quickly. If you decide to work on your projects whenever you feel like it, or you take a week to deliver something that can be done within 24 – 48 hours, it makes you look bad. It makes you look like you just don’t care. It also causes them to lose their enthusiasm towards their own business. Work diligently to complete projects for clients.
Not Returning Calls or Emails
Nothing is more frustrating than when you need to get a hold of someone who is supposed to be doing something for you, and they never get back to you. You call, you send emails, and you wait. Then, you wait some more. You may never hear anything, which just causes anxiety and negative feelings. I know you may be busy, but be sure that you set a time each day, maybe even twice each day to return phone calls and emails. Your clients will be ecstatic that you took the time to get back to them.
Looking at Clients as Numbers
You just can’t do this. When you start looking at clients as revenue instead of business that you provide services to, your work starts to go down hill. If you don’t care about your client, it will show. You should always have their best interest at heart. You can do this and still make great money. In reality, you’ll make even more money, because your care and enthusiasm will show. Combine that with great design services, and your client will be excited to come to you to do their design work.
Not Solving Their Problems or Meeting Their Objectives
The whole point of our work is to solve problems for our clients. They have come to us for a reason. Most likely, they aren’t getting the results they want. That’s where we come in. Make sure that the solution you provide for them has their best interest in mind and solves the problems they were having before they hired you.
It’s really not hard to keep clients pleased. We all hear about nightmare clients. They are out there, but for the most part, our clients are business owners, just like you and I are. They expect to get great service for their money and if they don’t, every other business in town will hear about it.