Image licensed via Adobe Stock
Image licensed via Adobe Stock

There’s a very special buzz that comes with landing a new client. New work is exciting – whether you chalk it up to the thrill of the chase, the sheer novelty factor, or the joy of nailing a sales pitch.


20 JULY 2023

For creative professionals – and freelancers especially – it’s also at the heart of our DNA. We live for the new. We want our minds to be constantly stimulated and challenged. We are driven to create.

Yet in the eternal quest for new, new, new, it’s all too easy to overlook the existing clients you’ve already worked so hard to onboard – and not give them the time, creativity and energy they deserve.

In the search for the next big win often comes the very real risk of losing sight of what’s right in front of us: existing clients with many more stories to share.

At a time when creative budgets are being tightened and scrutinised by companies big and small alike, it pays to keep your eyes focused on retaining existing clients and getting repeat work. Follow these five golden rules for success, and you’ll be on the right track.

Deliver on your promises

Good reputations are slowly built and swiftly lost. Anyone can secure an exciting new project: all it takes is a smoothly-delivered pitch and a bunch of big, creative ideas. Meeting a client’s demands, however, is something else entirely.

The starting point to building a long-term valuable client relationship and being seen as a trusted creative partner is delivering on your promises. This always begins with setting realistic goals and putting mutually-beneficial boundaries in place right from the off.

When you begin working with a new client, make it clear how you work, when you work, the timescales for delivery and where the gaps are in what you do vs what they need. Agree to terms, communication methods and response times that work for you both, and then stick to them, ensuring you’ve built a buffer for when ‘real life’ inevitably gets in the way.

Add extra value wherever you can

It’s one thing to deliver on what you promise – but it’s quite another to give that little bit extra too.

What this looks like will vary hugely depending on what you do. If you’re a content creator, perhaps there’s a new social trend that’s simply too good to ignore. If you’re a marketeer, then it could be alerting your client to an emerging CRM strategy they need to know about. If you’re an illustrator, maybe there’s a new tool available that could transform your clients’ next creative campaigns.