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Freelancing: Repeat Business is Everything


Freelancing - Repeat Business is Everything - Title PostFreelancing full-time is a great way make a living, and has many benefits that can’t be found in the traditional 9-5.. but it’s not without it’s perils. To sustain a ‘liveable’ income and beyond, repeat business is crucial for survival. In this article we’ll look at some of the main considerations in maintaining positive working relationships with your clients, and scoring more work on the back of a ‘job well done’.


Reliability beats Talent

This is a point that can’t be stressed enough – Reliability, more often than not, will always beat talent, especially in the context of repeat business. When referring to ‘reliability’, this can mean meeting deadlines, speed of communication (responding to emails etc.) and ability to process instructions.

You’ll find this issue gets worse at the lower end of the skill spectrum, and the classic adage ‘you get what you pay for‘ is right on the money. Many clients seek out bargain bucket, or even ‘free’ work for their creative projects, unaware that they will ultimately lose money due to the constant back and forth, or even worse – the creative completely disengaging and refusing to reply to emails or calls. This could be due to general tardiness or the lack of financial incentive to get the job done.

To become the ‘go-to’ guy or gal, respond to your emails and calls as soon as you can, don’t let them fester!! Complete your tasks within the assigned timeframes, maintain good communication and be pro-active in getting the information / resources you need from the client.


Be Indispensable

Competing on price is a dangerous game, in any industry.. If all you can offer is a ridiculous concession, there’s an army of hobbyists, students and ‘weekend warriors’ out there, hungry to outprice you – and in many instances, provide more value. You are easily replaceable.

So what constitutes an ‘indispensable’ Digital Artist?

For starters, if your work consists of a chopped out stock image and some awkwardly positioned type – there are practically legions of folks out there who now have this skill-set, and they’re willing to work for much less than you. You are not bringing anything new to the table.

Indispensable can mean a unique aesthetic style, an identifiable over-painting technique, a world-class knowledge of a particular niche, an approach to processing, you name it. A visual style is a brand, if all you have is a homogenous ‘me-too’ approach with your work, then you are easily replaceable. Differentiate yourself, be remarkable, be unique, have an identity, have an identifiable brand. Couple these qualities with reliability, and you’ll find repeat business coming in.

Nobody does it quite like you.


Be Cool

It may be the case that you can offer ‘perks’ in some form, to make your service more attractive to your client. If your competitors have a convuluted pricing structure, or charge excessively for extras or resources, you could offer a ‘flat-rate’ or an all-in service to make life easier. It’s as simple as meeting people halfway, understanding their needs. Amiability and decency goes a long long way in this industry, and if you build a reputation for being hardworking AND a good person, you’ll build trust and mutual respect.

This doesn’t mean being a ‘push-over’, always stand your ground – this is about being flexible, less rigid and willing to go beyond the call of duty when needs be.


Stamina for Revisions

This is a biggie in the world of Digital Art. If you don’t have the chops for going through cycles of revisions, or in some cases scrapping everything and starting over – you’re in the wrong business.

Some revision requests will be legitimate, some will be downright nauseous, the trick is to maintain composure and push through the project. This requires a special kind of mindset, and not everyone has the stomach for it. Clients will remember those who have the grit to ‘keep on truckin’. If you can undertake this process without kicking and screaming, the client will most likely keep you in mind for future projects – as opposed to the guy who flakes.

Be reliable, unique, decent and good under pressure – these are the qualities that are likely to bring in repeat business, the lifeblood of the Digital Artist. Get these nailled, and word will spread, your clients will tell their friends and your professional network will grow.

Image credit: Mackintoshi by calimano (SXC)



I haven’t made an official announcement on the site yet, but SurrealPSD is going FULLTIME!! In a nutshell, this means we’ll be posting a lot more content, three posts per week to be precise. I’ll do an official announcement on the site very soon. Do you have requests? Give us a shoutout in the comments below.

Did you know our full Photo Manipulation course has been unleashed into the wild? Be sure to check it out: Art System Photoshop

Conzz 8-)

Follow on Twitter: @Conzpiracy

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