For me, finding freelance clients is a lot like dating, except I have a much better success record with finding clients than I did with dating. Before I met Science Guy, I was positive that every person I dated was going to be my husband. I still have a tendency to do that with job postings and potential clients. “THIS IS THE PERFECT AND ONLY CLIENT/PROJECT FOR MEEEEE!” comes out of mouth at least once a week. (Fortunately, I do not actually write this in my proposals.)
But with dating and finding freelance clients, no one wants to feel clingy or desperate, and no one wants to be around someone who’s clingy and desperate. As a wise friend once reminded me about relationships, good ones shouldn’t be work. That’s not to say that marriage or good client relationships don’t require effort and sacrifice. But neither should require constant mental, emotional, and logistical gymnastics, particularly in the early stages.
The one that got away…
At the end of last year, I got hired on Upwork to do a little bit of VA work for a photographer. Some Googling revealed that she’s a premiere Canadian photographer whose smallest print package cost more than the photography service for my entire wedding. I have background in the photography industry, I’m good at computering, and her blog was last updated in January 2016. LOVE ME PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!!! So she was a little slow in responding, no big deal, of course she is because she’s a big-time photographer and I want to work for herrrrrr.
We discussed another VA project she had on the docket and I told her I’d be more than happy to help.
After a few days, she backpedaled, pleading the holiday rush, so I waited
like an overly attached girlfriend MUCH PATIENTLY SO WOW before messaging her at 12:01am, January 1. Two weeks of silence later, she told me she was going a different direction. (Is that an acceptable break-up line, BTW? Because I kind of want it to be.)
…and the one worth waiting for.
You know what happened a week after that? I found my actual dream client right here in College Town. She’s creative and organized, prompt and thorough in communication, and perhaps most importantly, believes in and engages with my process. Oh, and she runs a cool boutique carrying slow-fashion, made in the USA, body positive styles. All the heart eyes!
Side note: I actually almost didn’t meet with her because I’d had a week full of sick toddler, snow days, night wakings, and general chaos. Plus the initial job posting listed an hourly rate that I simply couldn’t work with, and I wasn’t sure she’d be open to a monthly retainer. I was literally writing an e-mail to cancel the interview when my intuition feebly called out over my roaring reptilian thoughts and told me to go.
The thing about searching for a committed romantic partner is that you only need one. And now I try to take that approach to finding clients and projects. I don’t need every prospect to hire me. I just need the next one.