Is it better to focus on stability or growth for your business? We explore the pros and cons of both approaches and offer tips on finding the right balance.
Finding consistent work can be a challenge for freelancers and small agencies. There’s often a feast-or-famine cycle. Either we’re overloaded with projects or are sitting idly, waiting for something to do.
That’s why it’s appealing to have clients that provide a steady flow of projects. Having a predictable workload and revenue stream is the Holy Grail for many web designers. And it’s easy to understand why someone would follow this path.
Imagine not having to go out and beg for new clients. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
But this approach could arguably lead to less growth. Steadiness may be good for the soul. But can it do the same for your bank account?
Identifying the Right Opportunities for Your Business
There are a lot of interesting opportunities for web designers. Some might even be life-changing in terms of offering a consistent workload and a steady paycheck.
However, deciding whether to commit can be difficult. Could the job monopolize your time? Would it prevent you from booking other gigs? And would this be positive or negative for your business?
These are legitimate concerns. After all, this type of arrangement might seem like the opposite of the freelance narrative. We are often told to pursue as many clients as possible to fuel growth. It’s always more, more, more.
But we’re only human. There are limitations in how much work we can handle. And sometimes we talk ourselves out of an opportunity. We don’t want to commit to something for fear that better projects are just around the corner.
Yet, we may sacrifice a chance for something good. It’s easy to wonder what else may be out there. But there’s a danger in continually asking “What if?”
Thus, it may be worth looking at long-term arrangements as a positive. So long as they meet certain criteria, that is.
When a Steady Approach Makes Sense
There are several factors to consider when deciding to book a steady design gig. First and foremost is how it could impact the direction of your business.
Some designers enjoy working with many different clients. Thus, working with the same people over a longer period can seem a bit stifling. If you see your role as nomadic, then it’s OK to stay on that path.
For others, constant change and uncertainty can become a burden. Not everyone is interested in hopping from one client to the next. They may welcome opportunities to build a business around steady work.
Once you’re comfortable with the direction you’ve chosen, it’s about finding projects that fulfill your needs. If you’ve decided to aim for stability, look for gigs that:
- Fit in with the type of work you enjoy doing;
- Offer consistent pay and workload;
- Have well-defined processes for getting things done;
- Allow you to work at a comfortable pace;
Not every opportunity is going to fit this mold. But the idea is to align yourself with something that you can see yourself doing (and enjoying) over the long haul.
Growth is Still Possible
You might worry that working with a smaller number of clients will limit your income potential. While it’s possible to paint yourself into a corner, there is still room for growth.
For example, there’s no rule that you must focus solely on long-term projects. Instead, you could leverage those clients to build a solid foundation. This allows you to pursue new projects that are of a size and scope that will boost your revenue.
So, rather than go after every new project, you can pick and choose the ones that make sense. Cutting out the low-cost/highly-stressful clients keeps your sanity in check. And you can still add to your bottom line.
In other words: If you don’t have to battle for each dollar, you can focus on the things that will improve your business. That’s why running around in circles to book new clients is often counter-productive. As you move from one place to another, you’re simply trying to recapture the same ground.
The Best of Both Worlds
There are a lot of benefits to working with long-term, steady clients. It provides a level of security that is hard to come by in the freelance world. Knowing you can pay the bills each month brings peace of mind.
With that also comes the luxury of focusing on the right opportunities. It sure beats taking every new client that comes your way.
Indeed, stability can be a driver of growth, rather than an inhibitor.
So, if you’re tired of the vicious cycle of constantly having to find new clients, think about a different approach. It might just take you where you want to go.