When I first started freelancing, sending Christmas/Holiday cards to my clients was one of the first marketing activities that I undertook. I even wrote about it here for my newbie writing friends: Business Holiday Cards. In fact, one of my clients thought it was a great idea, and asked me to do his, too, and I've been doing those (and billing for the hours!) ever since.
When I ordered our cards this season, I was kind of in a hurry, and guess-timated how many I needed based on last year's order. I finally got to addressing those yesterday (thank goodness I bought New Year's cards!) and had a LOT of leftover.
But that's a GOOD thing! I looked at my client list and realized that I have a higher concentration of repeating customers that have me on retainer, so to speak. Less "one-off" projects means less marketing and job-application time, less learning time, and more actual production (i.e. billable hours). In addition, these clients usually pay on a regular schedule, such as "every two weeks" instead of "sometime in the next 60 days."
Now, many freelancers want to get to that kind of stability, and it is good- don't get me wrong. At the same time, the one-off projects have their advantages. Part of what makes this work ideal for me is the variety. It certainly keeps my attention. In fact, one of my favorite projects this year was editing a dissertation. The subject matter was extraordinary and interesting, and the author had a very unique voice and tone. So, I do intend to accept those types of projects in 2013.
We'll see what next year's cards look like, right?
What about you? What do your holiday cards reveal about your practice?