All your eggs in one basket: The dangers of relying on one big client

Landing a big client is a big achievement, but it comes with a few considerations. Maybe you signed a big, lucrative contract. Maybe you turned a small client into the biggest slice of the pie. Either way, managing them can be more difficult than managing lots of smaller clients. The stakes are higher and you spend more time with them.

Whether you’re new to self-employment, or you’ve been in the game for a while, this is what you need to think about before you get into bed with that big, new client.


If they leave, replacing them is a tall order

First there’s the obvious - you’re reliant on them for most of your income. If your client cuts costs, changes strategy, or decides to replace you with someone in-house, that’s obviously not good news. Self-employment is already quite precarious, and losing your biggest client isn’t a great position to be in.

If you have a contract with them, they might at least have to give you notice. If you don’t, you’re resourceful and flexible enough to replace them sharpish, but it’s a bucket load of stress you definitely don’t need.


You lose some of the freedom of self-employment

The self-employed are actually a lot less stressed than people in normal employment, according to a survey by AXA Insurance. Being your own boss is the key. Even when you’re working hard and short on sleep, you’re doing it for yourself.

If you have a great relationship with your biggest client, you’ll work together fairly harmoniously. If there’s any tension or difficulty, you’ll spend the majority of your time dealing with it. That sounds a little bit too much like having a boss...


Lack of variety = boredom?

Sometimes consistency can be the key to getting a strong footing in a new industry, develop specific skills, or introduce you to other clients. However, make sure you take a regular reading of your boredom levels! It can kill your creativity.  

Focusing on one client and one niche can work really well if you’re keen on consistency. But if you’re easily bored, and like switching between topics and industries, it could all get a bit tedious.


Some of your skills will stay in their box

Working on one thing all the time can make you a bit rusty. A developer working exclusively on one app for one client might start craving a different kind of user experience job. A designer who’s become all too used to one particular colour palette and software is bound to get restless.

As we’ve said, it’s easy to get bored. It’s also easy to let some of your other skills gather dust while they’re not being used. If your big client isn’t interested in something, you won’t have many opportunities to use it.


Only you know if it’s a good idea to start working with a client who’ll have the lion’s share of your time. You might love the challenge of it and be unbothered by the possibility of replacing them one day. However, if you’re easily bored and like to take your stability where you can, keeping it varied could be a better long-term plan.


Solna can help you find out more about your clients before you start working with them. Our credit reference data shows you their credit score and limit. Best of all, it’s free.

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