When a client offers you so much work that you don’t need any other freelance jobs, it’s tempting to jump on the money. But working for one client full-time is just too dangerous.
Yes, it’s convenient. You get all of your money from one source at the same time. You don’t have to worry about anymore pitching or replying to job ads, and you eliminate the headache of juggling multiple projects.
But the risks outweigh those rewards by far.
Assessing The Risks
When you’re working for one client full-time that company controls your finances and your growth.
Your business can only grow if, and as fast, as that company allows. And if that company runs into financial problems, you’ll have financial problems.
If that company stiffs you or abruptly decides you’re not needed, you won’t have anything to fall back on.
Plus, when you rely on one client, you create a power structure that’s not in your favor.
If that client starts to get overly demanding or to tries to steer the arrangement in a direction you don’t want to go, how hard are you going to push back?
And if you push back but they push harder, you’re probably not going to be in any position to just walk away from the deal.
Situations like this are one reason that freelancers find themselves trapped in an arrangement where they’re overworked, underpaid or hating the work they do every day.
Some freelancers try to bake the risk of working with one client full-time into their contracts. They’ll negotiate terms like a 60 -day breakup fee.
It seems smart. And it’s definitely smarter than jumping into the deal with no protection. But even with a breakup free, you’re still gambling.
You can put anything you want into the contract. But if your client is having financial problems, chances are you’re not going to get paid, at least not in a timely manner.
Think about if you went to a bank to apply for a loan. Do you think any prudent financial professional would lend a business money knowing that business only has one client?
The answer is NO. Your business would be deemed high-risk and quickly denied, regardless of how long you worked for the client or how much you earn.
When to Take A Full-Time Offer
There are always exceptions. In this case, it’s the instance where the project is short-term and you don’t have any other clients.
If your sole client offers you a full-time project that runs a couple weeks or even a month and your calendar would otherwise be open, of course, you should jump on the opportunity.
But don’t stop pitching and looking for more clients. And definitely, don’t shed all your other clients to devote yourself to one.
Never allow yourself to get comfortable with working for one client full-time. Every freelancer needs a diverse client base.