On this blog, you will often read about the importance of having a returning client who needs your work. They are very important for freelancers and companies everywhere. Sometimes you might get stuck in a bad deal with an old client, but they usually bring a safe income. Even if not, at least you got to know them, and you already adapted to their way of operating. That means you know what to expect and you know how to react to the problems along the way.
Valuable or Invaluable
I’m sure there’s a formula to calculate the value of a returning client., but I didn’t want to explain that here. To be honest, I always tried to make some kind of a bond with clients who respect my time and work. Few times, I even made what many people would call “a bad deal” because I decided to work with someone again. I value returning clients and consider them precious.
For years I was stuck in a team that had very few clients. Even fewer (if any) of them chose to return and work with us again. We were very proud of accepting any kind of work under any circumstances. I was sure that is the way this industry works, and everyone out there had a similar situation. As it turned out, this was one of the alarming issues and I should have known something needed to change.
I was on my way out of that team when I started working with a new one, and I was in for a hell of a surprise. 🙂 My test for this new job was very straightforward – few tweaks to a simple corporate website. It was a client my new company has worked with for over 5 years at the time.
Meeting a New Old Client
My first real project was making a website for a software development company. During the negotiation phase, I was able to figure out all the problems my previous team had. Of course, it’s because I was able to work in a different way now. I was able to have a clear communication my colleague, explain how much time we need for this job and why. I even elaborated why we should set the budget a bit higher and how that will help us in the long run.
What happened next? The client rejected our offer. 🙂 I couldn’t remember when was the last time that happened to me, and to be honest – it felt great. Of course, no one was angry because of the rejection, and I wasn’t the one to blame. It was a team decision, and this turned out to be a very valuable lesson and a blessing for our team culture later on.
Let Them Go and They Will Return
The client was in a bit of a hurry and we weren’t able to deliver as fast as they wanted. What we didn’t know at the time is that there was no actual hurry. All it was is a simple decision by the CEO, due to the lack of other activities at the moment. After having trouble with another company, the client returned and accepted our offer.
We completed the work under the initial terms and everything went well. Six months later, the client decided to redesign again and work with us. They had a change in branding, developed some new software and wanted to show it to the world.
I don’t have to tell you what was the only company they considered hiring this time. We set up the timeline, formed a budget and once again everything went great.
I hope you are able to learn something new from every piece of content on this blog. This post is more about the marathon aspect of freelancing. Although I know most of you find sprints more motivational, you should learn to value the long run too. But in the end, whatever race you choose, prepare for it and be ready to run the distance. The best way to run it is on your home field and at a comfortable pace.