The Perennial Debate: Quality vs. Quantity?

Alisa BonsignoreWhen I started out as a freelancer, I used to say that the ideal scenario would be to have a steady client for that consistent paycheck, and then an assortment of per-project clients to fuel my desire for variety.

And then 2011 rolled around and the long-term, steady, baseline clients started appearing out of the woodwork. One wanted me to be their one and only for one or a minimum of two quarters. Another wanted to take 75% of my time for the foreseeable calendar year, and possibly on a permanent basis. How do I put this delicately? Uh, no.

The fact is that once I embraced the inevitable highs and lows of freelance work – and even after all these years, there are always crazy weeks and calm weeks – I learned that I didn’t need to have that consistent client. I’ve come to appreciate my slow, quiet times (blogging weeks!) just as much as the paychecks that come with the crazy 12-hour days.

I’ve also come to realize that I don’t want to have to cast aside the rest of my clients while I focus on just one at a time. Too many interesting projects come along for me to be satisfied with the drudgery of back-to-back meetings that come from effectively being an offsite, full-time employee.

I like the satisfaction that comes with closing out a project with finite parameters; I don’t like open-ended projects with vaguely defined scopes. Just this morning, I handed off a project for final review, leaving me with a great sense of satisfaction and a quiet afternoon reserved for blogging. If you ask me, this is the life.

Do you have the steady client that keeps your business going, or are you a project hopper?

BTW: If you want to learn how to get both steady clients and the variety Alisa’s talking about, come to the Creative Freelancer Conference June 23-24, 2011 in Chicago. Register by April 1 for the early bird price.