Take That: Meeting
Some work you find, some work finds you. As a freelancer you should always take any meeting.
It’s simple advice but it bears repeating – take every meeting. Even if you’re a freelancer with a bevy of contacts from time working for an agency. If you’re not there’s no harm in hearing a potential or current client out, even if you have enough work for the moment.
Meetings are opportunities, and every opportunity is a chance for change. Not just change of clients, but the variety of work you do and the rates you charge. Taking meetings can provide all the evidence you need to implement the Pareto principle.
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
For freelancers that means 80% of your work or income comes from 20% of your clients. If it doesn’t, then it could. Which is why you should take those meetings, you may actually find a better paying clients. At the very least it’ll give you the opportunity to diversify. More on diversification can be found in my post Diversify With Passive Income Streams.
Paring down your client base according to the Pareto principle may seem like you’re doing the opposite of diversifying. And in some cases you will be. But concentrating your efforts on clients, work or projects that are the most satisfying or provide the greatest return actually allows you to diversify. By concentrating on your strengths be they fewer clients, more fulfilling work, or stronger sources of income, you’re granting yourself the freedom to diversify.
You’re allowing yourself to take those meetings. All while scoping out potential clients, new varieties of work and potential increases in your income, without risking your business. At the very least you’re eliminating aspects of your work that you don’t like, be they people or types of jobs.
If you’re unable to fit in more work or you can’t pare down your client list further meetings are still a good thing to have. It gives you a chance to better understand the client and their project, then either pass them on to someone you know or take the work yourself and subcontract it out. But more on subcontracting to other freelancers in another post.
Meetings have the benefit of maintaining relationships. They’re a great opportunity to get feedback on previous work, something clients are unlikely to provide otherwise as it’s not worth their effort to give it to you. A meeting though, is a face to face chance to ask questions and work to better understand how your client thinks. And for all your focus on work, you won’t have more if you don’t maintain your relationships with clients.
All of that said, meetings need to be productive. That’s time you could be using to complete another project. So in setting up or accepting meetings make sure you hold them at a time and place that’s convenient for you. You’re not just spending the time at the meeting, but the periods traveling to and from you appointment. Unless it’s time that’s built into a project you’re not getting paid for these meetings.
So take those meetings but do so with a goal in mind. New clients, new varieties of work, more money, maintaining relationships – are all good reasons to have a meeting.