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5 Reasons Why You Never Get Repeat Business As a Freelance Writer

By Jackson

I like to tell people that writers rule the internet – but not just the internet, they rule the world at large.

Everything that’s read today be it articles, books, e-books or otherwise, they are all written by writers. I usually remind myself of this fact each time I need some motivation to keep up with my freelance writing career.

My question is: how many freelance writers get repeat business?

If there is one thing that’s certain, it’s the fact that many freelance writers leave some good bucks on the table for clients to walk away with. This is money they should have in their wallets.

So how do you figure out the cause of your failure as a freelance writer?

The answer to the question above is exactly what this post is going to help you unmask today! So keep your mind open to the 5 reasons why you never get repeat business as a freelance writer even when you feel you are doing everything right:

1. Appearing as a Robot in the Eyes of Clients

The day you chose writing as a career to land you some cool cash was the day you took an oath to uphold the professionalism in writing. This is generally not the case today. Many writers now act like robots which are engineered to move from point A to point B without much care for the actions they take.

The clients who come to you are generally smarter than you and may challenge you to the point where you lose your ground as a writer. The question will be – how do you know when you appear as a robot in the eyes of clients? Here is one common sign to watch out:

When you say a straight “Yes” several times to a client without a corresponding “No” to balance it up.

Tip: Remember you are the one in charge of writing so speak up when necessary by saying “No” when there is a need to say so. Believe me when I tell you that most clients like to challenge you before making you an offer. They always want to see how timid or confident you are. When they see you’re not smart, or that you won’t speak on your own behalf they doubt your ability to deliver.

2. Not Defining Your Specialization from the Beginning

Believe me no client or business-oriented person wants to deal with writers of no specialization. What makes you a Pro and expert is when you choose one thing and continue to do it over and over again.

If you’re an expert at writing paid guest posts or website content, but not so good at copy writing or email newsletters, make it known to your client(s) that your specialization centers on guest blogging services and website content writing. Don’t be a writer that opens up his wallet for every Dick and Harry to throw some dollars into it.

When you try to major in everything, you might get lucky at first and have it work for some time but it won’t be long before your clients discover your flaws and take to their heels.

3. Missing Deadlines As If You Are Your Client’s Boss

This is by far one of the major reasons why you don’t get repeat business and also accounts for the reason why most freelance writers lose huge amounts of money. Tell me who will want to deal with a man who says he will deliver in one month’s time and then end up giving excuses as to why he can no longer do so.

Most times, the money involved with a deal you made with a client can cause you to make unrealistic promises. The thing is this, when you make such promises you make the client believe two things:

  • You are competent and can deliver when the work is due
  • You take up offers irrespective of the timing

So what happens when you fail to achieve the above? It’s simply what I call “Missing deadlines as if you are your client’s boss” and this is what the client will do:

Rule you out as his writer because your missed deadline(s) may have caused him some losses (which also affects you payment- wise)

So what is the ideal thing to do?

It’s very simple; just tell it like it is. Remember the first reason which I discussed above about seeing yourself as a robot. This is what you should fight. If you know you won’t deliver or meet the deadline of one month, tell the client before taking up the offer that you will be more efficient or will deliver in six weeks’ time (that way you’ve given yourself two weeks extra to get the job done). If you peradventure finish before six weeks, you make yourself more valuable and resourceful – which leaves the client no choice but to upgrade his trust level in your writing business.

4. Mismanaged Communication

I also like to call this NUC (Not Updating Clients). The question will be – why did I call it mismanaged communication?

Remember there was a communication session which started up the business between you and your client, and so the chain of that communication is what I am referring to. Staying professional in writing becomes more important and serious when it comes to communication. The way you communicate or update your clients determines whether the client is going to do a repeat business with you.

Let me ask you this question – how do you feel when you submit a guest post and the host author sends you mails to update you on the progress of your article? You feel great, right? That’s exactly what your clients need from you. They like it when you keep them updated on the progress of their project(s).

The one big mistake you make is waiting too long before sending a quick mail, or calling your client(s) to show them you have their projects at heart. This is one big effort for which reward comes with much appreciation – leading to repeat business.

Most times your client might be the one sending the emails asking for updates. When you do receive such emails my advice is to respond immediately by all means. Failure to do this leaves you with no repeat business because you are definitely losing that client.

5. Playing Deaf Ears to Client’s Revision Requests

I’ve seen a couple of writers who cancel executed projects once they are paid their money in full. To these writers, any further request by clients is either billed again or forgotten.

If you have this kind of mindset I suggest you change it immediately. The business of writing most times calls for revisions and is something you should work with your client to achieve. This is your own customer service! Since you are the one who wrote the content or created the product, the client – who happens to be your customer – reserves the right to call on you for revisions. When such requests come, do not frown at them or play deaf ears to them, go ahead and do what is right. The truth is that such clients never forget how good you were to them and for this treatment they will appreciate your effort with more repeat business.

Have you been getting repeat business? If you are, what other factors do you think add to a freelance writer’s inability to get repeat business and what measures do you think should be taken to overcome the likely problems?

Let’s get this discussion started in the comments section.

Jackson Nwachukwu is a freelance blogger and content writer who writes based on his 3Es Writing Rule – exposure, experience and expertise. He shares his ideas and successes at his blog, Daily Tips Diary Dot Com.

14 Comments on "5 Reasons Why You Never Get Repeat Business As a Freelance Writer"

  1. Amber Daniels says:

    Hello Jackson,

    This is an article worth reading. I am really moved to look back to my writing business to see how well or bad I have been doing.

    Thanks for sharing this piece with us.

    • Hi Amber,

      I am glad you found this article helpful. Looking to your writing business in terms of how much repeat business you are getting is worth the move.

      See you at the top!

  2. Daryl says:

    Hey Jackson, I definitely agree with your points. In ensuring that I get repeat work, here are a few things that I do:

    1. ALWAYS reply within 24 hours
    2. ALWAYS over deliver in terms of quality.
    3. ALWAYS ensure that I ask if there are any changes to be made or if there is anything else that needs to be done to increase the quality of my content.

    • Sagar Rai says:

      Hey Daryl,

      Hope you are getting good business, because the things which you have mentioned is really necessary for a business especially for a free lance writer. TQC IS NEEDED.

      1. TIME
      2. QUALITY

      • Hey Sagar,

        TQC as you mentioned is cool. It summarizes the points mentioned in this article.

        Thanks for your comment.

    • Hello Daryl,

      The three practices you mentioned above are awesome and constant use or implementation of these practices is a sure way to getting repeat businesses.

      Keep rocking the content writing market bro…

  3. Great post! I really enjoyed reading the last two reasons. I think some writers are so passionate about what they write that they can become cynical if the client wants thing changed. But we must remember that our passion may not be the same as theirs and its good to have a difference in opinion.

    • Hello Shawn,

      I am glad you enjoyed reading this post. Actually the last two reasons touches greatly on reasons why most freelance writers fail at getting repeat businesses.

      Thanks for your comment.

  4. rblee says:

    Your article truly does tell the true blue way to stay on top. I remember times when I became a robotic prong, following a scripted software to its key. Not trying to care about a certain client. How it claimed our relationship, or I should say how it resulted in a lost of revenue for me. I was sad on that part but I was and still am somewhat happy on another.

    • Hello Rblee,

      That was really a lesson worth learning. Caring for clients and doing what is right helps to straighten the business relationship between you and clients.

      It becomes more fashionable when you learn from the above reasons as mentioned in the article.

      Thanks for your comment.

  5. Ann-Louise Truschel says:

    No, the clients who come to me are generally NOT smarter than I am. Did you really mean to insult most of the writers on the planet?

  6. Hello,

    I read your post and it was very informative. The biggest turn off for me is a freelance who does not meet their deadlines. I have had a very hard time finding freelancers who can meet my requirements. Once you find a great freelancer make sure to treat them very well since they are hard to find.

    • Jackson Nwachukwu says:

      Hi Nancy,

      You are right on this. Finding freelancers is cool but finding great freelancers is great.

      They are worth keeping and treating well…

      Thanks for your comment.

  7. Tim at IMM says:

    Lot of good points here. I especially liked the one about how the clients will try to “test” you! I will have to be on my guard not to “blink!”


Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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