Are you feeling grateful towards a freelance client? Show them!
Did you know that one of the most powerful and enduring acts of self-care you can perform is to be grateful? Gratitude helps you reframe life in ways that we often can’t on our own. Being thankful is also great for your health and mental wellbeing.
Gratitude allows you to see what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t. In business, a lot of the focus is on securing what we don’t have. More money, more clients, more projects, more prestige, more qualifications, more fans and followers, stronger SEO rankings, more publicity, more products, and so on and so forth.
We rarely stand back and admire how far we’ve come. Nor do we reflect on the qualities within ourselves or the people that helped us get there.
In freelancing, we also often find ourselves hearing the negative from our clients. It’s as though we don’t hear from them unless it’s a problem. And this is true- but are we demonstrating to them that there is an alternative?
Complaining, critiquing and giving feedback shape the work we do. Appreciating things often happens in the background.
This kind of stuff isn’t automatic. Like a music venue in a city area, it’s only the people writing the letters to complain about the loud music. The people who appreciate the colour, vibrancy and opportunity the venue brings don’t write to council to say they are super happy the venue is there.
The same is true of freelancing.
That’s a heavy load for a freelancer to carry. But it also means we have to be accountable for this lopsided relationship with clients.
When was the last time you appreciated the efforts of your colleagues? Or took time to express how much you enjoyed working with a freelance client?
Get your gratitude on
Think about a freelance client you bloody loved working with. Write them a letter to say how and why you enjoyed the project. Tell them what it was that you admired about them as a person and their company. Make note of how they treated you and explain how this made you feel.
You can send it. Or not. The choice is yours.
The relief comes from being grateful for those moments.
Oh, and even if a client was a nightmare and tough as old boots, you can still do this exercise. Use it as a way of internalising the lessons the project taught you. Highlight how you might change your processes or terms and conditions as a result of working together. Think about what they made you learn about your character. Thank them for the new boundaries you will now take into new working relationships.
Because even the moments we really wish we didn’t have to experience make us learn. And being grateful for that opportunity instead of internalising the negative helps. Especially if you want to avoid becoming jaded and cynical.
How to write an effective thank you letter to your freelance client
It doesn’t have to be involved. Simple recognition of the person and the difference they make in your life is enough.
Think about the format. For visual creatives, a lovely design or photograph or illustration online or off can make a wonderful impact. Writers might like to bust out a short story, micro fiction, poem or something similar. Audio based freelancers could consider an ASMR soundscape, recorded meditation or novelty song. Think about it as an opportunity have a little fun and impress your freelance client in the process.
The bones of the missive to your freelance client should include:
- A thank you at the top of the letter / project
- Some specific details as to why you feel the gratitude you do
- A little something about how they made you feel
- A thank you again
- Some kind of simple sign off
It doesn’t have to be involved. It simply needs to be genuine and heartfelt. Keep it brief and positive. If you write a lot, it can sound a little over the top and insincere. Oh, and the best ones are sent in close proximity to the time where whatever triggered that grateful feeling towards your freelance client was felt. That helps them remember the moment that warranted reflection.
Or you can choose key times within your freelance client relationship, such as:
- Once a long term business relationship has ended
- At the end of a large-scale project
- If they’ve referred you to another client
- If they helped you out with something specific
- At the end of the financial year
- At the end of the calendar year
- During holidays that may mean something to your freelance clients such as Chinese New Year
Upping the client gratitude ante
If you’re looking to make your client feel special and remind them of the good work you do, you can always add a little something special to the giving. Here are some ideas that help make your client feel appreciated and remind them of your existence in the process.
- Buy them a gratitude journal and write a message inside the front cover. That way, they see it every time they use it
- Consider a nice letter set to accompany that letter you’re sending so they too can get their gratitude on
- Get them a set of card for reflective practice
- Buy them an experience to make memories with
- Give them a plant for their desk with a little message of gratitude attached
You can also check out these Christmas gift ideas for your clients. Or simply tell them in a heartfelt and meaningful way!
Want more advice on how to transform your client roster into one to be grateful for? Check out our freelance blog.