At one point or another in your freelance or contractor lifetime you’ll likely be faced with the prospect of working with more than one client at a time. It’s an exciting moment and one that you won’t forget easily.
Bringing on board even just one more client gives you the security of not relying solely on one project or company for your income, and for some is the first step in the evolution from independent worker into a bigger company or agency.
As long as you aren’t spreading yourself too thin and can realistically deliver on your promises to however many clients you have, it’s well worth it. Another client is an opportunity to work on new and exciting projects, and of course, earn more money.
It's as exciting as it is challenging. For what might be the first time in your freelance career, you’ll need to learn the art of juggling multiple clients. And fast. As any independent worker knows too well, you only get one shot. Fail to keep clients happy and deliver, and there will be a queue of freelancers ready and willing to take your place. There’s simply no room for complacency.
Here’s a few tips on to how to stay on top of things and keep clients happy when you’re working on more than one project at a time…
If you aren’t required to be onsite with a client full time then don’t be - if it suits you. Working from home or your own office gives you the flexibility to jump from one project to another without worry. Working remotely gives you the opportunity to take complete control and structure your day however you want. If that means 2 hours on one project and 6 on another then so be it.
Organisation is key. With so many documents, sheets, thoughts and ideas floating around from different clients, you absolutely need to keep a separate place for each of them. Build project boards for every client on Trello, keep track of everything, set deadlines and reminders and share with clients. It’ll make your life so much easier.
Even if a client wants just a day or two a week of your time, they’ll more often than not like the idea of spreading that out across the week rather than only see or hear from you on say a Monday and Tuesday. If you work remotely this is great. Use it to your advantage. Propose a retainer, based on key deliverables, giving you more freedom to work how you want – or more importantly how you need to work. With the security of a retainer in your back pocket, along with the opportunity to work more flexibly, you can prioritise every client as and when.
Learn to say no
One of the most obvious - but when it comes down to it - trickiest words to say in business. Say no. If you’re overloaded with work with one client, don’t promise things you simply can’t deliver to another. If the request isn’t overly time-sensitive, having the strength to make a client wait a day or two won’t burn your relationships. It’ll give them the hint that next time they need to be more prepared on their side.
Bring in help
When you’re having a purple patch and the work is rolling in, don’t be afraid to pull in the help of another freelancer. The beauty of freelancing is that you don’t need to hire someone outright either. Use your freelancing friend as and when you need every time you reach your absolute capacity. It’s the perfect business model.
That said, it should be someone you wholly trust, and to keep a healthy relationship with your clients it’s probably worth letting them know it’s a collaborative effort. As long as there’s no change in the service, relationship and final product, it won't make a difference in many cases.
Any tips on how to juggle more than one client? Get commenting…