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Freelancers: Making yourself indispensable to your clients

If you want to build a long-lasting relationship with your clients, you need to make sure that the services that you offer are valuable and indispensable to their business. Becoming an integral part of their team makes you indispensable because they don’t have to re-explain branding or context to you with each project.

Your clients also get to know the quality and speed of your work. This is a good thing because when the quality and speed of your work increase the more you get to be involved and work with them because you understand what they need and how best to work with them.

UASA IP has a few tips on how you can continue to be valuable to your clients and keep the contract long: 

Give clients what they need

Often freelancers, especially new ones, will say yes to whatever a client wants. When you work with clients, you need to wear your freelancer and consultant hats simultaneously. This means that you must use strategic questions to get at what your client needs, and push back when they start asking for things that won’t achieve their goals.

It positions you as an expert and external thought partner who can often see their work differently from the outside. There are ways to build this into your process for all clients including standard project initiation questions and utilizing brainstorming processes. This also becomes easier as you work with a client repeatedly because you understand their historical context and build relationships that allow you to be more direct with your input and feedback.

Draw your boundaries

Draw the boundaries when you start the project and stick to them. Be clear and transparent on what you are doing and what success looks like with the project so there aren’t any (or at least minimal) surprises at a later stage.

Know your ideal workload

Don’t overload yourself with work. Always take on clients that you know that you will be able to manage and deliver on the agreed time. You should know the workload that allows you to deliver quality work and don’t go beyond it.

Build replicable systems for your work

These systems only get better and more efficient when you are working with usual clients because you already know that you have standard systems just for them that seamlessly fit their context. We all know it takes longer to do something the first time hence when you work with repeat clients you can be more efficient because you have done it before.

Align yourself with the scope creep

Scope creep the dreaded words that keep freelancers up at night. You start a contract with a distinct scope and before you know it, you are running a whole team, designing a whole system, or fielding all of their tech issues. There is a tricky balance you have to strike here, once you understand the larger context of the work, it is easier to see where you can branch out. This not only allows for you to position yourself as more valuable to your client, it also allows you to stretch yourself and learn new things.                               

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