My friends Lori Widmer of Words on the Page and Anne Wayman of About Freelance Writing hosted a nifty little Twitter confab yesterday, #writingsquared. During the session, I asked the crowd, “Who’s your longest-term freelance client, and how did you acquire them?” One person cited a 19-year relationship that came after a speaking engagement — pretty impressive. My record for loyalty goes back to my second year in business (2000), one of the very first cold calls that I made based on Peter Bowerman’s Well-Fed Writer cold-calling technique.
I joked that might be considered a common-law marriage in some jurisdictions, but the business key is that a long-term relationship can be amazingly lucrative from the standpoint of referrals. In my case, the business that has spiderwebbed off the original client has been worth well into six figures over the course of time, with no extra marketing effort on my part.
In the comments, please share your tale: What’s your record duration for a loyal client relationship, and how did you make the initial connection? And secrets on how you *kept* them as a client? If you haven’t been freelancing for very long, that’s OK!