Get the most out of 1-to-1 Projects

Once a contest's over doesn't mean the fun has to stop! Build a hands-on relationship with clients so you get regular paid projects.

1. Introduce 1-to-1 Projects to your client

Did you have a great experience with a client in a Design Contest? Think you have the skills to help them with some follow-up work? Reach out contest and pitch them on how you can continue helping them with creative work via 1-to-1 Projects. 
Remember that you should never accept or propose free extra work in order to win a contest. Not only is it against 99designs site policy, but it undervalues your work. You’ll actually end up earning more in a 1-to-1 Project.  
For more on 1-to-1 Projects, check out our handy tips and fact sheet.

2. Start a 1-to-1 Project

If your client is interested, walk them through the process of inviting you to a 1-to-1 Project.  
You and your client have a few options:
  1. If you were the winner or a runner up in their contest, direct your client to the Invite to work page and your name will be pre-populated as an option.
  2. Clients can visit your portfolio and click the “Invite to work” button.
  3. Visit the Your Clients page and click the “Create project” button to work with previous clients. 
  4. For off-platform clients, you can email them your proposal by going to the “Create a project” page
Once the invite is set up, you’ll have a dedicated workspace to share your designs, keep the project organized and communicate with your client.

3. Hammer out the details

Before starting your 1-to-1 Project, you and your client will need to hammer out the details. This includes deadlines, fees, number of drafts and payment structure. This will set you up for success and protect you if something unexpected happens in the middle of the project.  
Read more about setting expectations and fees here.   

4. Reply fast

Fact: clients are busy. Sometimes they respond slowly or don’t give appropriate feedback. Unfortunately, it comes with the territory.
When your client does give input, follow-up fast. Remember that your client may be in a different timezone, so changes will take more time. Acknowledge their requests and ask any questions as soon as you see a message. Don’t wait until after you’ve made the changes to communicate.
This may be hard to manage if you’re only freelancing part time. Try setting up email notifications so you don’t need to check in on the project throughout the day.

5. Follow up afterwards at regular intervals

It never hurts to follow up with your client from time to time. Once your project is done, reach out to see how the project is going and if they need anymore help. Holidays, birthdays and other special occasions are also a nice way to get back on their radar.
Not sure what to say? Try something like this:
Hi _________,

Just thought I’d drop you a line to see how the project is going. Let me know if I can help in any way.

Remember that most of your clients are entrepreneurs. They might be too busy to realize they could use your creative help.

6. Throw in a little extra

Think about what else you can do to improve your client relationship. 
Take the time to research where your client can get the best price for the stock photos you used or where they can compare prices for typefaces. 
These extra touches add up and make a world of difference to your client, who might not be as tech savvy as you. Your client will appreciate it and, in turn, might propose another project.

Starting a 1-to-1 Project? Learn how to set fees and client expectations