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One Big Client vs. Several Smaller Clients

Freelancers are always dreaming about that one big client with huge, creative and well paid projects. They would have to stop bidding for work on various websites. They would not have to accept spec work in dire financial times.

But would you still consider yourself a freelancer if you become the staple designer for only one client? And what happens to all your connections, to all the other clients who used to send in a project once in a while? There are several aspects to consider before you take the decision to put it all on the line with one big client and ditch the small ones. Here they are:

Independence

One big client means no more independence for you. No more last minute decisions to take a break and go on a trip somewhere. You will have a huge amount of work, there will be requests pouring down in the email and over the phone. You may even be requested to come and join the client’s team and do part of your work in their office for better communication and feedback. At this point, you are no longer a freelancer, but an employee, without the social security and pension benefits.

Creativity

Big clients are corporations. Corporations have very strict guidelines for visual identity. They have a copyrighted color scheme and they will expect you to work in strict compliance with their rules. You will find yourself moving a logo one pixel to the right to conform to the official pattern. Your ideas will be rejected by the marketing department and each completed design will be accompanied by a paper from the legal department stating that you waiver all your rights over it.

Income

Big clients pay well. This is one aspect that may prove irresistible to you. One big project can bring you as much as four or five smaller projects. And if another and yet another project comes in, then you will refuse smaller jobs and focus only on the big client with the fat paycheck.

Reputation

Having a big corporation as client on your resume looks really impressive and it will boost your reputation tremendously. This will open a lot of doors for you in the long run – if being an in-house designer for large corporations is what you are aiming at. However, it will discourage small clients from approaching you, because they will believe that your fees are through the roof and they will never afford them.

Back-up Plan

Choosing one big client leaves you without a back-up plan. Remember that annoying client, with boring requests, but who pays on time? Well, if you keep refusing his projects because you are busy with big ones, he will eventually find another freelancer. And there goes your back-up plan. Because, at one point, that big client will seek another freelancer – they always try to cut off costs and you may become a liability on their budget scheme.

And then you will be left high and dry, without any of your previous connections still available to give you some work. You will have to start all over again, with the Big Client bling hanging around your neck and making smaller clients wary about asking for a quote from you.

These are just a few aspects to consider, and they are in no way the absolute truth in the matter. We would like to hear your opinions about this issue – feel free to use the Comments section below.

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Ionut B
Author
Digital Art Director with an innovative creative thinking able to translate ideas and concepts into useful and memorable interactive marketing campaigns.

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