The “Bread and Butter” Client

There are some clients you can usually count on to keep you supplied with a steady stream of work. I call them “bread and butter” clients.

The work can vary, depending on what the client has available, and if you develop good relationships with a few of them, you can avoid a lot of the “feast or famine” times that seem to be a part of so many freelance writer’s lives.

The Trade Off

I have a few bread and butter clients that I’ve been working with for awhile now, and the arrangment works out pretty well. I know that I can probably get a certain amount of work from them each month, and hopefully I can fill in gaps in my schedule with other project work. I find that being hired for a specific project only tends to pay a bit better, but the work flow varies.

The trade off comes in the form of choosing steady work at a slightly lower rate of pay versus the uncertainty of project work that pays better. I like to have a combination of the two,and I don’t have a problem with taking on something that will keep me working on a regular basis.

If you could choose the kinds of clients that you would prefer to work with, would you stick to the bread and butter variety, or do you want to go after more lucrative projects that may be harder to land? Or does having a mix of both kinds make more sense to you?





6 responses
  1. JR Moreau Avatar

    For some reason, I find the clients that charge less are just as demanding, if not more so than high paying clients, so I’m torn between mixing it up. I’ll take lower paying projects from friends and people I’ve worked with for a while, but sometimes i really kick myself for not setting better boundaries. I feel like when I get really good at setting boundaries with EVERY single one of my clients, I’ll be more comfortable with taking on different types of clients at my own discretion rather than out of necessity.

  2. MM Avatar

    I’ve found that having one bread-and-butter client at all times works best for me. It saves me from worrying about big gaps in business and still leaves the time to pursue one-shot projects that excite me or creative writing that I love to write, but may not sell. Just like bread and butter, though, that client needs to be reasonably satisfying, but is allowed to seem bland at times.

  3. hazel Avatar

    I generally bid ongoing assignments at a lower rate because I need to have some steady income. Clients like to know they are getting a “volume discount.” I happen to love both of the ones I have right now, and it’s just enough to keep me afloat, so when hard times come (like now!) I’m not in dire straits.

    I would like to have one or two more assignments each month, and sometimes I do. I particularly like it when the additional work is in a different part of my business (like consulting) or on a far-flung topic.

    Right now I’m just glad to have work, and a steady income.

  4. Krista Avatar

    I have four of these clients right now. I’ve been with all of them for at least a year. The prompt payments, good relationships, and steady work are priceless. Whenever I’m not busy, I apply to more lucrative, one-time jobs to fill up my week. My regular clients actually pay me pretty well – especially considering the time it takes to land a single (really) high paying job – so all in all I’m very happy. I won’t leave any of them any time soon.

  5. Genesis Avatar

    I have two bread and butter clients right now, both of which pay pretty well, which is great. It`s enough to pay the bills and keep me feeling relatively unstressed about money. However, I also take on a lot of other smaller, short term jobs as well to fill in the gaps and boost the savings account.

  6. Derek Thompson Avatar

    I find, even with regular clients, that there’s always another aspect to the work if you can look at it with fresh eyes. Sometimes, those bread-and-butter clients have inspired me to look at ideas for other pieces I can use elsewhere.

    Getting paid, of course, can be another story altogether!

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