When I restarted my freelance business in 2008, I was lucky enough to be welcomed back by long-time clients. I’ve always felt that who I work for is just as important as what I do.
Earlier this year I had a tweetup with someone I met through Twitter, Nick Thacker (@nickthacker). A successful young entrepreneur, he runs several businesses while finishing his college degree. When I mentioned that I’ve known one of my clients for 24 years, he looked a little shocked. That’s probably longer than he’s been alive!
When I was an agency director for that client, Pearson & Co., I had a quote on my wall from the actress Ruth Gordon: “To be somebody you must last.” I only lasted there five years, though that can be a long time in the agency business. But I’m gratified that our relationship continues, and they still provide me with some of the most challenging and interesting work I have.
I met with another long-time client, Métier Marketing Communications, last week. I think our relationship is going on 10 years now and we’ve worked on just about every kind of project there is. In fact, I was their client when I was with Catholic Charities. We’re still helping Catholic Charities, and that is some of the most personally satisfying work I‘ve ever done.
While at Catholic Charities, I was introduced to Kerk Communications. We now combine talents on writing, editing, and messaging projects for nonprofits. We also team up with Métier for design and production services. We love working together and it shows in the results.
The same is true for Inspiration Quest—another long-time member of the Catholic Charities community and a strategic consultant to a number of other great nonprofits.
I’ve been thinking about my luck with clients because through various social media avenues, I’ve discovered a number of websites listing freelance jobs for writers. These are usually quick-turn/one-off projects paying by the page, the word, or the hour.
I assume most writers use these jobs to fill spare hours in between projects from regular clients. But are there writers who rely mostly on this kind of work? I can’t imagine doing that. I usually get introduced to new clients from someone I’ve known a long time, whose judgment I trust. Referrals like this are golden.
My clients are hard-working, experienced, and caring, and they’ve taught me much over the years. I’m grateful that they have “lasted” with me. I wouldn’t be in this business without them.
Feel free to share your good client stories here. It’s always nice to hear about other successful business relationships.