How to Manage Your Clients to Maximize Your Freelance Income

Freelancing, even today, is often misunderstood as a limited stream to earn one’s living.

Freelance IncomeThis is the reason you will see many people pursuing freelancing as a ‘second source of earning’ and continuing with their illusion of a secured job and monthly checks as their ‘primary source of income.’

Did I just say illusion? Absolutely!

Your so-called full-time secured job is an illusion we have created in the last few decades. You never know when you will get the pink slip out of the blue…

A full time ‘secured’ job as an employee does not give you the right to control your earning whereas earning from freelancing is just the opposite.

With freelancing jobs of any kind, you get to choose the sources to earn money, control your money inflow and create multiple sources of income.

How to maximize your freelance income

(This is relevant to any kind of freelancer)

Managing Your Clients

One of the main hindrances to creating multiple online income sources is not having the ability to handle your clients.

You don’t need to have an MBA or attend online seminars to know how to handle clients. But know this; failure to handle clients means doom for your business as in loss of clients.

Now what does client handling mean?

(1) You must know how to communicate with them
(2) You must know how to stick to deadlines
(3) You must be clear about financial matters
(4) You must never be clingy

Again, failure to do so creates lots of problems. So how do you manage? Read my personal experience.

As a freelance writer, last year I had about 23 clients to manage simultaneously. In other words, I had 23 online web contents projects to manage and I didn’t have any clue on how to do that.

I didn’t have a team of writers, a day just had 24 hours, I had to update clients daily and most importantly, submit web content daily…I was going mad!!!

I couldn’t refuse the clients at the 11th hour because the money was good and I didn’t want to come across as unprofessional.

What did I do? (This is something I practice even today)

(1) I communicated clearly

First, I divided the projects into ‘most important,’ ‘important’ and ‘not so important.’

By importance I meant the urgency to complete them. I contacted the ‘important’ and ‘not so important’ project clients and negotiated a different time frame for completion.

Note that before I did this, I was afraid to put this proposal in front of my client because it could have meant losing that client but I had to draw a line somewhere and this seemed to be the best idea…

I sent the clients an email requesting them to reconsider the tight deadlines. Out of 23, 15 received my email, 12 agreed and 3 dropped off. Not bad, I would say! You cannot please everyone…

Now I was better placed in terms of time and client expectations…this is so important!

(2) I kept deadlines

While there are clients who are very flexible with deadlines and don’t mind numerous extensions, a freelancer should never take it for granted.

A website I write for cuts 10% off the fee everyday if any freelancer goes past the deadline. If you are working from home, I would suggest to maintain a time spreadsheet where you note down the number of hours you will spend everyday for each project and obviously, start with the most urgent ones first.

In fact, if you want more value for your services, you can multiply your income by charging higher for urgent services like in the next 24 hours or so…

Clients that are flexible can be charged less.

(3) I was firm on financial matters

See, any kind of job that involves money matters should be communicated clearly. One of my friends is a web designer. Six months back he got a $800 project to build a customized website for the client.

He had 20 days to complete the project but my friend delayed and finished the work in 46 days, taking 26 days extra…

Now I must say that the client didn’t complain or threaten about non-payment.

However, when my friend asked for the project fees, (no advances were paid) the client dilly-dallied, became unresponsive and finally paid $600 (yes, deducted $200) after 26 delayed days.

Well, to me it seemed the client was teaching my friend a lesson here.

My intention to tell this story is to make you aware that if you want to earn money from multiple clients from freelancing, it is important to maintain your professionalism, that is, never take the client for granted.

Once you attain this professionalism, you can negotiate with the client on money matters properly.

For instance, you can draw up a contract stating the amount of advance to be paid, project milestones to be followed and the final payment date.

As a kind of guarantee, you can even write down the amount of money you will waiver off if you delay the project…some clients will readily accept such conditions.

(4) I never cling to clients

In my freelancing career, there were clients with whom I did one-time projects spanning 10 days and there were clients I worked with for more than a year.

The point is a freelancer cannot assume that the client will hire his/her services every time. While it is good to send a follow-up email once or twice to the client, please refrain from using pressurizing tactics.

My friend, the web designer, used to send follow-up emails every 12 hours to those clients who didn’t get back to him offering more projects. This is a very negative and annoying strategy.

By doing so you will dash whatever hopes the client had in giving you a second or third project, thus resulting in your business loss!

It is a general misunderstanding among any kind of freelancing work that the more clients you have, the more you can generate money.

Financially, this is true and if a freelancer has a team then handling more projects becomes relatively easier…

However, when a freelancer is working alone, it is always advisable not to take on more clients at one time if you can’t handle it. Doing so will harm the quality of work done and thus, impact your income negatively.

Learn to manage your project clients and you can easily maximize your freelance income.

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