A long term freelance project provides both benefits and risks to the contract worker. A long term project provides job security and removes financial guesswork for the freelancer. However, once you're locked in with a long term project, your opportunities for additional jobs diminish, and you must commit to the project for the duration.
Long term projects allow you to develop or deepen your client relationship. You can learn more about her business while you work on the project, and find out the client's future plans, which could possibly include future projects. If this is a new client, a long term project will also allow you to identify how the client works and to discover his pet business peeves and expectations.
Working with a client long term can be rewarding or a nightmare. On one hand, an easy-to-work-with client can make the long term assignment enjoyable and pleasing. However, a difficult client can create a damaging long term work environment, which could make you miserable for an extended amount of time.
Long Term Risks
Working on a long term project has its drawbacks. For example, while you work on a long term job, your rates or material costs could increase. If you quote a certain amount of money and sign a contract for that price, you could end up having to eat any additional costs should they change. Additionally, you could accommodate the client's budget needs for a long term job, however find that you monetarily short changed yourself.
Another risk includes not being free to obtain additional business while your time is consumed with the one long term project. Also, sometimes projects look do-able or rewarding from the outside only to find out that they are chaotic and difficult once you attack it.
Long Term Benefits
The primary benefit of a long term project is the monetary reward. Long term work allows you to financially plan and meet your home and business needs. Having a known financial variable is valuable for a freelancer and provides many cash flow benefits. Another benefit is being able to intimately learn more about the client's business.
Long term projects essentially allow you to peek further into how the company operates, its goals and future (which provides you additional work opportunities). If you know this business as well as its employees, you will be more likely to earn more projects. Learning more about the client's business will also assist you in getting future business from other companies who offer similar products and services. For example, if you are a graphic designer who has worked on long term projects for a credit union, you can leverage that experience to promote your design services to other credit unions.
Freelancers aim to obtain the right long term project. Financial security and a deeper business knowledge typically result from a long term project. Ensuring that you've landed the right long term project is always your challenge.
_________________________Gina Ragusa is a freelance writer and mom from sunny (and sometimes not) South Florida. Her 15 year experience ranges from writing about banking to tattoo parlors. Read more about her adventures at http://blog.wahm.com/