A couple of weeks ago, I asked what you, as a fellow freelancer, most wanted to read about. Here is the first post in reply to the suggestions from Cookies & Java which were: “I’d like to read more about your experiences with growth and how you’ve handled moving up the client ladder. When/How to drop low value clients, how to communicate and justify rate increases.”
Experiences with growth
As a freelancer copywriter (and previously freelance PR person), my growth is limited to the number of hours I can work in a week, as I choose not to employ anyone. As I mentioned in My Freelance Story, when I started freelancing for PR agencies, I pretty well filled my time straightaway and I kept it that way by ensuring I maintained a steady level of marketing activity.
When I left PR and moved across to copywriting, once again, I quickly got work and, in fact, my first year as a copywriter was one of my best ever. (Lots of marketing in the form of mailshots and cold calling.) When I have too much work to handle, I call in the help of other copywriters to help me out.
Moving up the client ladder
On the subject of ‘moving up the client ladder’ – by this I guess Cookies & Java means starting with small clients and then moving on to work with larger ones. As I target web and graphic design agencies rather than end clients, this isn’t all that relevant in my case. The agencies that need freelance writers are small to medium in size – the larger ones have their own in-house writers. However, I’d be interested to hear how you have moved up the client ladder.
When/How to drop low value clients
I haven’t yet dropped any client on the grounds that they don’t give me work of high value. One particular client I have in mind may give me a day’s work or two every so often. That doesn’t sound a huge amount but I’ve worked with them for many years and when you add it all up, it’s quite high value. I also enjoy the work I do for them.
How to communicate and justify rate increases
When I put my rates up, I tend to tell clients by email. So far, I haven’t had anyone complain. I justify my increases my saying I’m putting them up in line with inflation. (Which is true.) I’d be interested to hear how often you put up your rates and how you let clients know.
More replies to your suggestions in a future post….