Do you ever find yourself in the feast or famine game of entrepreneurship?
I'm sure it doesn't feel like a game, but I hear this problem all the time! Entrepreneurs, especially freelancers still selling time for money, not knowing if they will make enough to cover expenses this month.
There are a couple different ways of coping with this, but the one we will be talking about today is having a continuous stream of income through return clients.
You likely started your business because you wanted freedom - freedom from the 9 to 5, freedom from a small paycheck, freedom to do a job you love, and freedom to pick which jobs you take and which ones you deny. The sad truth is, many entrepreneurs jump in without a plan or simply a plan to get all the clients they can and charge what they're worth!
There are some problems with this.
A client base takes time to build. You can't just jump in and expect to have a full-time continuous stream of clients all at once. Even within 6 months is difficult, especially if what you do is a one & done offering.
You're working hard to get those clients in the door and then you do the job and right back out the door they go. That can't be right! Everyone talks about how repeat customers are the way to go, but you can't seem to figure out that connection. So I'm proposing a new income stream here.
Find a way to keep clients on retainer or a monthly subscription.
I'm not going to lie, this can be easier said than done for some businesses.
But hey, you're a creative right? You've totally got this!
The idea here is to not let those clients and customers run out the door. So you've got to put on your thinking cap and figure out ways to keep them coming back for more each and every month so you can start to see some normalcy in your income.
Here...let's do some brainstorming together to get your creative juices flowing.
Molly is a Copywriter, and let me tell you she is kick ass at what she does. She gets clients coming in on a semi-consistent basis maybe from social media and some referrals because her past clients love the job she did. The problem is, she's only selling website copy at the moment. She helps people write copy for launches and their website, but these are mostly one and done services and then the person moves on. How can Molly keep these clients who love her coming back for more each month?
- Offer a blog post package - X number of blog posts each month for $/month.
- Offer a blog post idea membership - $/month for 4-5 unique blog post topics delivered to their email.
- Targeted social media posts - $/month for 60 posts each month targeted at their ideal clients that will get clicks.
- Monthly writing workshops - $/month for a monthly workshop. These can hit on different topics each month or encourage people to finally write that thing they've had on the back burner.
- Offer a newsletter package - X number of newsletters each month for $/month (some people really hate doing this so this would definitely sell).
You get the idea. She can get paid monthly for ongoing tasks instead of constantly looking for new clients.
Let's do a few more so you don't think this only applies to copywriters ;)
Laura is a Logo and Brand Designer. Again, she's freakin' awesome at creating amazing logos and complete brands, and again her service is sort of one & done. So let's see what Laura can offer.
- Offer a social media image package - $/month for X number of social media images using their branding
- Blog package - $/month for 2-3 images per blog. She could include click to tweet images or special Pin images.
- Curated stock subscription - $/month to receive not so well known, curated stock photo websites that would appeal to her client base. She could also receive submissions with or without fees from photographers to list their stock images or work out an affiliate link deal for her followers.
A web designer/developer could offer ongoing support.
And of course some businesses are just built with this in mind like Virtual Assisting, Social Media Management, Coaching, and other service based businesses that work on a monthly basis easily.
Sometimes it's easier to wallow in the fact that we have a hard time getting new clients rather than creating new offerings, but please don't think this is out of reach without actually taking a little time to sit down and brainstorm. You might be surprised by the ideas that flow out of you :)