Everyone has a different definition of what a “high-paying client” or a “large client” means.
It varies from company to company and from one industry to another.
My definition is slightly different.
I use the 5-to-1 rule, meaning if one client’s billing exceeds five smaller ones then that’s high-paying for me.
If one client’s work/project replaces five other clients’ projects then that for me is a high-paying client.
Regardless of what method you use to make this distinction before you start pursuing them.
Is it really worth going after these high-paying clients though? After all:
These are all good questions! Let’s break everything down before we get into the “how” with acquiring high-paying clients.
First of all, it’s obvious why you want to work with high-paying clients.
You will earn a higher income. It sounds like a no-brainer, right?
But, there are also other benefits of working with larger clients.
1. They Have Greater Budget-flexibility
When you work with a small business owner or an entrepreneur they have a minimal budget for web design or graphic design or content marketing.
Most of their time, focus, energy, and money is primarily focused on running their business.
They are also more likely to go to a freelance marketplace such as UpWork, etc. to find contractors or agencies.
Larger clients are different. They have more room in their budgets for projects. They usually have large annualized IT or marketing budgets to spend on external vendors.
Sometimes, they already have the budget approved and ready-to-start before they pick a vendor.
It is often cheaper for them to outsource to an agency or freelancer like you, rather than hiring someone full-time.
The chances of you winning a contract from a high-paying client is more likely if you position yourself correctly.
2. They Have a Larger Team to Support You
In my experience working with larger clients – one of the benefits I have experienced is the speed at which they respond.
It’s often because I’m working with more than one person at the company.
You’ll receive more support since they have larger teams, and also, the project you are working on may need input from multiple people.
For example, you might be working with their designers, quality assurance specialists, and in-house developers. Not to mention a dedicated accounts department to help with billing.
By working with a larger team, it makes it easier to get help and support when you need it most.
3. They Are More Knowledgeable
When you are working with a small business you are the expert in most cases.
In addition to the design or development work you’re doing for them, you are also responsible for educating them on every detail.
Let’s say you are a graphic designer, and you are helping them create a logo.
You have to explain to them why they need brand guidelines, how to create one, etc.
Larger clients already generally already have brand guidelines and a clear marketing direction. That is unless of course, they’re hiring you to create their brand guidelines.
If you provide your expertise and “wow” them with exceptional service they will more likely hire you on other projects.
4. They Are More Focused On The Business Needs
When working with larger clients, they typically already have a direct business need and a business plan for what they’re hiring you for.
That could be a design project, a marketing project, or a development project. Whatever the reason by having a clear business plan in place it makes it easier for you to understand exactly what they need.
Typically when working with smaller clients, they may say something like “I need a website”. Not very helpful without direction on what type of site.
Generally, a larger client already knows exactly what they need and is hiring you to build, design or solve it for them.
5. The Social Proof They Give You Is Significant
A bonus of working with larger clients is the social proof it gives you or your agency.
It helps you attract other larger clients in the future.
You can display the work you’ve done for them on your website or a portfolio, which in turn makes you a natural choice for other companies of their size, or from their industry.
Let’s take the example of graphic designer Sebastian from Overflow Graphics. Sebastian specializes in working with and helping mainly large financial institutions in Toronto, Canada.
He displays samples from clients from the same industry on his website. This social proof will help him win over other financial institutions with ease.
A part of that
Amrit, sorry to remind you that you must not give "free services" with your work.
Free work is not allowed by Upwork's T.O.S. Maybe you don't mean "free work" when you say "free services", but most beginners will think you advise them to give free work, which might get them in trouble with Upwork.