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Expressing Gratitude Boosts Your Freelance Business (+ Holiday Gift Ideas)

Written by Amanda Saber on November 15, 2022

Expressing gratitude doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but a genuine token of appreciation can have a big impact on your client relationships. Check out our guide to client gift-giving to ensure you know who to buy for and what to give.

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Are you smiling?  

Ok, maybe that’s a lofty goal for a hook. But a little bit of gratitude *can* go a long way to making someone feel good. And the good feelings don’t stop there. 

Expressing gratitude leads to improvements in multiple areas of our life, including better (and longer) sleep,  improved physical health, enhanced self esteem, stronger emotional and mental wellbeing, and increased overall happiness.

So how do these benefits to your wellbeing benefit your business?

When you’re in the practice of being grateful, positivity abounds. This improves your mindset, strengthens your relationships, and increases your empathy. Put that all together, and you’re a person worth working with. 

Particularly around this time of year, people take time to express their gratitude, both in words and gifts. As a business owner, you want to be sure to include your clients on your thank-you list this holiday season. 

Your Guide to Client Gift-Giving 

As a freelancer, buying gifts for all of your clients may feel overwhelming and may not be financially feasible. We totally get that. But you don’t need to spend a lot of money on a gift for it to be meaningful. In fact, the opposite may be true. Clients are likely to appreciate a small, personalized gift – even a simple thank you note – over a generic, more expensive present.

Make a List

  • Clients: Any client you’ve worked with this past year should receive some kind of thank you. Whether you completed one small project or you work with them on an ongoing basis, let them know you appreciate partnering with them. It will lead to a stronger business relationship – and could lead to more work. 
  • Referrals: Anyone who recommended you to a client, even if it didn’t convert into a job, should also get a thank you. It’s a great way to build your community. And when another opportunity for a referral arises, they’re more likely to think of you again. 
  • Leads: If you have the time and ability, add in any leads you’ve at least had a conversation with. Telling them you appreciate their time and are grateful to have made the connection will keep your name in their mind for potential future projects. 

Client Gift Ideas

The most memorable gifts will be those that are personal. Thinking of that personalized idea will truly come down to how well you know your clients, which is a good reminder to be present as much as you can. Our strongest business relationships are formed by actively listening and paying attention.  

Understanding a company’s mission, following along with their news, and engaging in conversation with their people will allow you to pick a gift that will stand out from the crowd. 

For the client who feels like a friend: You’ll learn a lot of non-business related info about some clients, especially your regulars. After a few months of working together, you may know about their hobbies, their families, their stresses. If you are on familiar ground, give a more personal gift. Suggestions: “Here’s a trial to a prepared meal service for your daughter’s upcoming basketball season. Hopefully it will make late game nights a little easier.” or “That last campaign was a doozy! I know how much you love a spa day, so let me treat you to a massage.”

For the notably [fill in the blank]-addicted client: Does your point of contact (POC) constantly tell you about the state of their garden? Send them a new pair of gardening gloves. They can’t make it through a Zoom call without refilling their coffee mug? Mail them a Starbucks gift card. We bet they’ll be super impressed at your attention to detail and thoughtfulness. 

For the pay-it-forward client: Make a donation to their sponsored charity in their name. Many organizations are proud to showcase which causes they support, and if it isn’t public information, there’s nothing wrong with asking your POC to share the name of a charity they regularly donate to. 

For the client you truly don’t know: There are some projects that are quick and don’t require a lot of face time. You may not know much of anything about those clients. If that’s the case, a general gift card gives them the opportunity to pick out something they’d like. And who doesn’t like the opportunity to shop for free? You could pick up a Target or Amazon gift card – we doubt anyone would turn that down – but check out these sites to let your client choose for themselves: Loop & Tie and Giftogram.

Don’t Forget the Thank You Note

We can’t stress enough how meaningful a genuine thank you note is. Go the extra mile and hand write it. People love getting real mail, especially a thoughtful message of appreciation. It’s such a nice touch that we suggest including a handwritten thank you with any gift you give. 

Taking the time to show your clients you appreciate them strengthens your working relationship and builds loyalty. The people already in your pipeline are the most valuable to your business, as surveys show that loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again and four times more likely to refer someone to you.

So say thank you to those people who have helped your business grow this year. You’ll be grateful you did. 

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