Anyone who is a small business owner or a professional will tell you that he has a lot of competition. It's true. There are many ways to distinguish oneself from one's competition, however, one of the best ways is to be available 24/7. I can hear the pushback and it's deafening! "Nobody should have to work 24/7!" "Are you crazy?" "Aren't I entitled to have a life?"
I'm not saying that you should work 24/7: I'm saying that you should be available 24/7. To be more specific, I'm saying that you should be available, anytime, for your good, long-term clients.
This is not an easy thing to do as everyone needs some r&r (rest and relaxation). However, there are a few ways that you can do this without feeling resentful or put-upon. One way is to charge more for off-hours, weekend, and holiday services. Another way is to take time off to make up for the r&r that you missed by being available 24/7. A third way is to have a reliable backup person in place.
If your long-term clients know that you'll be there for them when they need you, they are very unlikely to replace you with one of your competitors. Loyalty is a two-way street. The more you are willing to put yourself out for your clients, the fewer reasons they'll have to shop around. You will also earn a reputation for being a service provider who truly goes the extra mile for his clients.
Good, long-term clients are not that easy to come by. It makes sense to go out of your way to accommodate them.