You’re a freelance writer. You complete a gig, and you get paid. This is how it works, but there are challenges. For one thing, you need a constant stream of new writing jobs. What if you had clients who paid you each and every month, whether you did any writing for them or not?
A “retainer” is a fee you’re paid to secure your services when they’re required, and there are many different kinds of retainer services.
Some freelancers operate subscriptions. You might sign up clients for a subscription service which guarantees them that you’ll create and post ten blog articles for them each month, for example. Or your clients could subscribe to a website updating service: you enter the company’s specials each month, or each day.
In essence, when he pays you a monthly retainer fee, a client knows that no matter how busy you are, the $500 a month (or whatever retainer fee you charge) ensures that he’ll jump to the top of your waiting list of clients. You’ll complete his project ahead of other projects you’ve taken on.
Want to get clients on retainer? Of course you do. If you have ten clients on retainer, and you charge each client $500, you know that whatever else happens in that month, $5000 will hit your bank account like clockwork.
Here are a couple of tips which will help you to get retainer clients. Put them into practice today.
1. Want Retainer Clients? ASK.
Here’s a secret. The simplest way to get retainer clients is to ask. Clients are as busy as you are , and their focus is on their current projects. Most won’t even be aware that they can hire a writer on retainer.
Having a competent writer on retainer is appealing. Business moves FAST in 2014. Companies miss out on opportunities because they have no one on staff who can handle a quick project, and hiring a writer takes too long.
When you complete a writing job, ask. Say something like: “I offer ___ (blogging, copywriting, Web content or whatever) services on retainer. I charge ____ (retainer fee) for ____ (the service), which guarantees that you’ll receive ______ (what they get). I’ve got a couple of spots left, and I can sign you up for that today. It means that you move to the top of my client list.”
2. Set Up Retainer Services, and Promote Them to Past and Current Clients.
Once you’ve decided what you’ll offer, decide on a fee. Not sure what to charge? You can make your retainer fee similar to what you’d charge for a basic gig. So, if you charge $200 for a webpage, with a $500 minimum, charge $500 a month.
Then promote your retainer services. Start by sending a message to your mailing list. Send personalized messages to your best clients. Call clients – you can’t get retainer clients if no one knows what you offer.
Consider creating a presentation to explain exactly what clients get when they have you on retainer. You can walk clients through the presentation, customizing it for their company.
Not all your clients will need your retainer offerings immediately, but a surprising number will. My students are shocked when they realize that yes, their clients want to pay a retainer fee. Their income immediately goes up.
Is there a downside to retainer clients? Of course there is. You’ll often need to work on weekends, for example. However, the security of knowing that you’ve got a guaranteed income each month more than makes up for that.
In summary: many clients are happy to put you on retainer, so put the tips into practice – TODAY.
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