How To Find (and Keep) Long-Term Freelance Clients

Brad Bartlett
5 min readMar 3, 2023

Success in freelance depends on keeping well-paying clients coming back.

Photo by Good Faces on Unsplash

When you’re a freelancer, success depends on being able to build long-term relationships with clients who are happy to keep coming back for more of your services. You want them to trust you, depend on you, and continue hiring you for future work.

But I know first-hand how hard it can be to keep clients coming back time and time again. The reality of gig work is that many clients are looking for quick, one-time fixes and may not be interested in a long-term relationship.

But more often than not, clients don’t want to chase down new freelancers all the time, and they’re willing to have a long-term relationship with someone they trust.

So how do you ensure that your clients will keep coming back?

tl;dr:

  • Long-term clients are key to sustainable, lasting freelance success
  • Define the relationship with clients and iron out any legal considerations in advance
  • Follow up and follow through on tasks to build trust and demonstrate professionalism
  • Get personal — know your client’s industry, motivations, challenges, and team
  • Set up automated retainer or subscription services to encourage long-term clients

Chasing Short-Term Clients Is Killing Your Freelance Potential

Think about how much time and effort has to go into learning who a particular client is:

  • What is their preferred communication style?
  • Who is their target audience?
  • How do they prefer to engage with drafts and feedback?
  • What makes them tick, and what are their goals for the project?
  • What can you do to help them grow their business based on your skills?

Learning what makes each client unique takes time — and having to start and stop working with them can be a costly and time-consuming process. Would you rather have 5 long-term, consistent projects at any one time or 30 different, one-off gigs that you have to keep juggling and reassessing each…

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Brad Bartlett

Professional Freelance Copywriter. (www.bradleebartlett.co) Musings on #freelancing, #productivity, #self-development, and more!