Freelance writing is a holistic business and not a single job. Freelance writers need to juggle with all aspects of building a successful business, if they want to be, well, successful.
And one crucial part of every business is Relationships. A freelance writing career rewards you when you can spark the right relationships with your clients, and also reprimands you if you can’t.
As a freelancer, you are the one-person army. You think you are great at what you do, and that your clients are satisfied with it. You may think your only, or primary job is to write or develop code, whatever be your freelance pick. But the thing is your clients see you as a B2B partner. They are outsourcing their work to you, and have not hired you.
This is the number one Limiting Belief of freelancers today- that they are up for hire. Freelancers are rarely considered as employees. When you are, in fact, considered as an employee, see a red flag and hear sirens all around. Beware of the clients who treat you as employees.
Note: Jobs are the reason we chose to be freelancers, right?
Client Relationship Building – What Works and What Doesn’t
In one of my posts on LinkedIn, I mentioned the WHY of relationship building with clients.
Your clients are your B2B connections. Therefore, freelancers need to chuck the notion that they are only responsible for turning in the work they are given. Instead, freelancers need to focus on customer-centricity just like any other products/services business.
To give them an experience they cannot forget soon, you need to spark a relationship.
But, there’s more:
It’s not just about the spark when you are just entering into a contract. It is also about what you build out of the spark. Now, you could get warmth out of this relationship, or you could suffer burns.
That’s how crucial relationship building is for a freelancer.
And, it does not have to be hard work. Satisfactory client relationships can be built with lesser energy than you think.
Communicate, Don’t Comply
This is seriously a two-way relationship. Your clients are not international norms, and you don’t have to comply. Because I have heard freelancers say they agree with everything their clients tell them, this is crucial.
Open communication involves both sides being transparent and accountable for what they demand and deliver.
Here’s a secret:
When you call things by their name, you actually set your standards. And, the right clients love you for that.
Because they don’t have to figure out and guess what works and what doesn’t. Simplifying the terms of the contract is one way to build a healthy two-way relationship.
The Feather Touch
Okay, hang on. I know this sounds cheesy.
But, here’s what it is:
When you keep the little things in mind, such as your clients’ birthdays, it adds a feather touch to your relationship with them.
If you truly want to be known as a business, do everything a business would.
Here’s an affirmation for you:
I am not a person, I am a company. I am a business, and I need to think like one.
Dosage suggestion: Repeat before talking to any client!
Here’s another advice:
Keep It Real
Your clients know what’s real. Humans pick up energies and know when it gets real.
If you are truly considerate about what you deliver to your clients, you will never hurt the relationship in any way.
Show them that you care, with the care you already have. Don’t make something up just because you have to have this relationship.
This is a fundamental value of being a Freelance writer. You need to worry about providing value. You need to know that you are doing enough.
You need to strive to become a successful business.
When you show genuine care and concern, you work on the weekends if you have to. You agree to travel down for the local clients if you have to. You spend time communicating over calls when you have to.
Listen the next one:
Learn How to Listen
Your clients will not want you to babble all the way. Listening is really an art. And it will be worthwhile for your client relationships if you learn it.
Better and foundational relationships are built when you understand your client’s voiced and unvoiced concerns.
When you are actively listening, you can pick up where they left and turn the conversation into a complete package. Otherwise, you would just keep saying your own stuff.
This is what happens when you strike the right relationships.
Your clients trust you.
They swear on their gods they’ll never leave you. (Unless you compel them to)
They refer you to other businesses. (Yayyy)
Building a relationship does not come naturally to some of us. But, it can be learned.
As I see it, it’s one of the most crucial aspects of a business. Even a freelancing business.
What are your tips to maintain client relationships?
Drop off in the comments.
Happy freelancing! 🙂