Are you through with the stress and pressure of the feast or famine client cycle? Learning to add recurring revenue to your freelance business is going to give you a reprieve from the treadmill of one-and-done clients while providing you stability in your business, decreasing stress and anxiety.
At its core, recurring revenue means getting paid on a consistent basis, whether it’s week after week, month after month or year after year. The idea is to create predictable and consistent income.
When I first started freelancing, I was part-time, so when I had a gap between clients, the lull wasn’t that noticeable. But as I started freelancing full time, I started becoming VERY aware of the periods of time when I was not getting work, and it created a lot of stress and anxiety.
Nowadays, I’m always on the lookout for a new client, but I don’t do it out of a sense of desperation like I used to. Instead, I’m looking to uplevel my clients and bring new opportunities to my business where I can serve and get results for new customers.
So, what changed?
Well, I started to learn ways I could serve clients on a more consistent basis – creating recurring revenue.
Watch the video to find out more, or scroll down to keep reading.
The Power of Recurring Revenue
Early on in my freelancing career, I had a client that wanted to update a piece of work I had created for them – something they would need to have updated every few months. I was able to set up a contract so that I would be available to them when needed; they would send me the updates and because they had me on retainer, they knew I’d make time to get the job done.
At the time, I was blown away that there was going to be someone who was planning to pay me over the course of a year so they’d have access to my design services. It was music to my ears.
This experience helped me understand the power recurring revenue had in stabilizing my business and taking the stress out of working for myself. It was my “a-ha moment.”
Recurring revenue creates predictable cash flow. When you have recurring work, it helps you plan for expenses, which can significantly decrease stress and anxiety.
When you start to work with your clients, be on the lookout for opportunities to serve your clients long-term. Remember, it is so much easier to sell to an existing client than it is to find a brand new one. If you find a client you really like working with, it’s up to you to start to find ways you can provide that customer some additional services.
Increasing Trust and Dependency
It’s exhausting for clients to have to find freelancers to work with. They have to put out a request for proposal (RFP), get all the bids, evaluate the work and establish a new relationship.
But if you already have a relationship with them and have provided excellent work and built that trust, it’s going to be that much easier for them to hire you for the job. They have a skilled freelancer at their fingertips that can do their work, and they don’t have to go through the evaluation process which helps get the project done that much faster.
Some of my best clients simply pick up the phone, and say, “Hey Mat, we have a new project we’d love for you to do for us.” That tells methey trust me and they know what I charge, so they are comfortable with me doing whatever it takes to get the project finished.
Earning this trust helps a great deal when it’s time to add recurring revenue to your freelance business.
Long-term Client Growth
Cultivating a solid relationship is one of the best things we can do to ensure recurring revenue from a client. To do that, communication and trust is paramount. I make sure my clients are taken care of and serve them with excellence, and if I can provide additional value (ie, more services) then great!
The important thing is to have a client that knows, likes and trusts me, so they are going to call me whenever I have a project. This creates stability as well.
Cross-Sells and Up-sells
Again, with these long term relationships, you get a chance to really learn your clients’ businesses. You know their products, their services, their marketing. This gives you a great vantage point to see opportunities to help them. You may have complementary services or skills that could be valuable to your customer.
Your clients may or may not know that you have these complementary skills, but the longer the relationship that you have with the client, the more opportunity you have to suggest a new service that could potentially turn into recurring revenue.
For example, when I was getting started as a freelancer I built websites. We typically use whatever hosting company that the customer was used to using. Over time I was developing relationships with customers who didn’t have a website. Maybe I was doing some graphic design or branding for them and the conversation would come up about websites and I’d offer to help them get set up.
One of the ways I was able to quickly get some recurring revenue was that I was able to develop a relationship with a webhosting company. The webhosting company allowed me to host all my clients at a fixed cost, and I was able to resell that space to my customers.
For me it allowed me the chance to work closely with my customers, provide additional value, and generate work that was recurring month over month. Again, I’m leaning on the trust and dependency they have with me because they trust me and are willing to give me more work.
Remember, recurring revenue increases stability, creates an excellent environment for long-term client growth, and creates the opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell complementary skills. More trust and recurring revenue helps reduce the stress level and anxiety you have in your own life, and gets you off the feast or famine treadmill.
Have you had the chance to check out my Freelance Business Blueprint yet? It’s a free resource which walks you step-by-step through all the things you need to run a successful freelance business. Grab it here!
Want to be part of a great group of freelancers where you can share ideas and get support? Join my Freelance on Fire Collective on Facebook HERE.