As a freelancer, regardless of your profession, having a stable client base is a must. There also needs to be some variety in your client base so that there are other options, options for expansion and potential leads for you in the future. Many freelancers wonder how many clients they should have or how to put together the right portfolio. The answer is simply that you need as many clients as you can feasibly handle with a few extras and the portfolio needs to include items that will appeal to clients in several niches.
Start with a Steady, Base Client
As a freelancer it is ideal to work on securing one steady client first. You want this client to have several projects and ongoing needs. It is important to stress what you are looking for when advertising so that the right potential clients come to you. The base client/s should be within your primary niche or area of interest so that the work you complete is stellar and impressive.
It is perfectly fine to start with a base of two main clients.
Put more Eggs in your Basket
Freelancers can have too much work but is it ever really too much? This is the question you have to answer ad you have to decide how much you can take on. Not every client retained is going to have steady projects. Some will only contact you once or twice a month, perhaps less frequent.
This is the reason it is important to fill your basket with as many eggs and opportunities as possible.
Consider drawing up contracts that have specific volumes of wok attached with each client so that you can maintain a steady and lucrative income.
Work on your Network
Once you have established a small client base, including a client or two in your main area of expertise, it is time to branch out. Network with others in your same profession and ask for leads that can potentially become clients of yours too for more work options. Always use the person giving the lead as the reference for the client. As long as the referrer is in good standing with the client, work is likely to be sent your way as long as the client wants to expand his or her team.
Make Small Investments
By investments this means creating something that has residual income attached to it in the long term. For writers, this means writing an eBook or cookbook that will bring in revenue over time. Artists can make prints of originals that can be sold by galleries and retailers to bring in residual income. These initial investments are quite beneficial.
Set your Rates Wisely
Always know what you are worth. Sometimes, taking a lower offer is necessary to maintain good financial status. This does not, however, mean that you should cut deals for every client or offer a client a lesser rate to keep them. You must price the work that you do in accordance with the time and effort involved. This does often mean that each project for a single client has a different value.
It is important to have a diverse client base. It is a good idea to have clients both inside and outside your comfort level as a challenge helps keep freelancers motivated. Challenges help freelancers become in-demand in their profession. When you impress a client with your talent, this does lead to referrals from that client and more work comes your way. Your continued success may mean that you need to add a few members to your team to help with the increasing workloads.