Creative Confidence

Confidence is something that is always changing. Some things we feel confident about and others not so much. Whether you’re super confident or not so confident, everyone could use more confidence. We all start out with a clean slate and then things happen in our lives. We have teachers, mentors, coaches, parents, mostly well-meaning people that say things that can have an impact. My mother was told by a teacher that she was no good at art, she believed it her entire life and at the age of 70, she decided that she was going to start painting and of course she was fantastic at it.

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Miss Phillips, You Were Wrong

Here is a great story from Jack Canfield. A grade school class that was given the assignment of writing about their dream. There was one particular kid who had the dream of owning racehorses and farms and raising horses and breeding horses and doing all these fabulous things. He got a “D” on the assignment. The teacher said his dream was unrealistic. She told him that he would never be able to achieve that (imagine). Fortunately, this kid didn’t believe it for a second. He had such incredible belief in himself that he went ahead and did all these things he dreamed of just to prove this teacher wrong. Later in life, he wrote a book called “Miss Phillips, You Were Wrong”

I was too Slow

When You start to think about the things that may have happened early in our lives, it’s interesting to see who had an impact on us. Think about it for a minute. Early in my career as a brand strategist, I had a mentor who told me that I was too slow. He processed information really quickly and I didn’t. I like to take things in, think about it, ponder it, sleep on it, get other ideas, build on it. This person told me that I was too slow and I believed it. Now that I think about it, who made him like the king of speed? Who decides how fast things need to get done? I know I’m good at what I do and does it really matter? It was just his point of view and all these things are just somebody’s point of view. It’s not really true.

Who Stopped You?

There is no real truth only what’s true for you. Think about the people in your life that stopped you. Was is it a parent, a teacher? Was it somebody else? You can look at it now and say “that’s just an interesting point of view”. It’s not the truth. I’m not that. Even if it has been with you for 20 or 30 years, it’s not the truth and you can just choose to change it.

Creatives are bad at math

As creatives we get labeled that a lot. All creatives are bad at math (might be a bit of truth to that one). But again, who cares? There are enough people in the world who are good at math. You just need to partner with someone who’s good at it. The school system tells us as kids that we need to be good at everything. We really don’t.

Focus on the amazing

Sometimes something amazing happens and that stays with you. Those are the things that we need to focus on more. When I was in fourth grade I made a picture at school of a winter scene using oil pastels with paint sponged over top (below). My mom loved it and she framed it and hung it up in the house. And a few years later her interior designer asked where she got the picture. He loved it so much that he offered to buy it and my mom said it wasn’t for sale. Then he asked me If he could commission me to make another one that was similar. He paid me $300, which in fourth grade is like $1 million. Talk about confidence. I was over the moon. Those are the kinds of things that we have to focus on rather than the stories that we tell ourselves.

 

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Client love

Think of a time when you worked on a project that was a big success or created something that you were really proud of. One of my earliest clients doubled her business in 6 months after I renamed and rebranded her . Now put yourself back there and feel how it felt. A few years ago I was having a casual conversation with a client that took my business development course and coached with me. I asked her if by chance she had measurable results and she told me that she grew her business by 500% in one year as a result of working with me. That’s something that I want to focus on!

When you get client feedback, print it out and put it in a folder to remind yourself. One of my clients calls it her “client love folder”. She’s been doing it for 10 years and has quite a big stack of papers there now.

The biggest judges are not putting themselves out there

The judgment is part of reality. There’s a lot of it. Brene Brown has spent more than a decade studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She has thousands of followers and gets a good deal of nasty feedback but she doesn’t let it stop her from doing the good works she’s doing and the many people that she’s helping. Brene talks about how putting yourself out there in any way increases your vulnerability and that’s ok. Most of the judges are not the ones who are putting themselves out there!

When I started putting myself out there, teaching and coaching, I was pretty scared. Once in a while, someone will email me the rudest comment. I used to get really upset when I first started. I would take it personally. Now I say “interesting” and throw it in the trash. Next!

Building your creative confidence takes work and practice. It’s the same a starting a fitness routine. A little at a time. It’s not something that comes naturally to many. It’s very freeing to just let anybody judge and let it go. Get out of the stories your makeup. You know they are not true! Keep going back to focusing on what’s working and the places where you created your confidence. It’s a way more fun place to be. Oh, and when you slip back into the old patterns just be kind to yourself and refocus!

I’d love to know who stopped you and how you’re going to change that. Write to me in the comments below.

Discover where you’re leaving thousands of dollars in potential new business on the table. Grab the Missing The Boat Scorecard and stop missing the boat!

How to Get Buy-In on Creative Work

It’s one thing to be doing the creative work and it’s a whole other thing to be presenting it and getting buy-in. You put all the time into the creative and the presentation is an afterthought. How about building it into the project as a phase: the presentation and setting aside time to prep (not the day of the meeting).

Find out who will be there

The first thing is, is to find out who’s going to be at the meeting whether it’s in person on virtual. You want to know who’s going to be in the room and you want to know more than just their names. You may know them and if you don’t, look at their LinkedIn profile and just find out a little bit about them for example who they are in the company and what their role is. You can ask your client for a briefing and run through everyone that’s going to be there. Tell us what you know, what sort of attitude, what role they play. There’s often somebody in the room that’s going to be contentious and you can be prepared for it.

Start with a story

Stories work well to engage people. They help make a connection and when told well, give you immediate credibility and attention. Make sure your stories are relevant and engaging. Try them out on others before the meeting. Humor always has such a great effect as well.

Frame the presentation

You’re there to solve a problem. Begin by reiterating your understanding of the problem. We’re here because…Divide your talk into a beginning, middle, and end and tell your audience what that will be.  It’s a well known public speaking tool where you to say what you’re going to talk about, talk about it, and then you say what you talked about. Remember that people process information in different ways. Some are visual processors and some people are verbal. It’s obvious that you will have the visuals but don’t forget about the verbal. It’s just as important.

Be confident with what you’re presenting

Make sure that what that you’re confident in everything you’re presenting, not just, confident about options one and two but not so thrilled with number three. If you don’t feel good about it, don’t show it. You bring a certain energy to the table when you’re presenting and you want to be the energy of we know our stuff, we like where we’re going with this, we’re excited about it.

Talk through your ideas by focusing on what the problem is that you’re solving and how each solution solves the problem. Always going back to the business problem and how you’re going to solve it. Again, keep building in stories that can relate back to your presentation. When we used a similar approach for another client, they doubled their sales in six months.

Look at a presentation as a collaboration, rather than ta-da here it is. Here’s what we’re thinking and we’re looking forward to your input. It’s not you against them. Be a partner and not a vendor.

Tools for languaging

There are a number of tools that you can use with languaging for example the word “imagine”. Imagine what it could be like when the millennial audience grabs on to this. Get them really excited and engaged. Paint a picture. This is how it could work or What if we were to do it this way.  Have them Imagine what the results could be like. It’s often hard for clients to see where it could go.

Put on a show

I always think of the TV show Shark Tank. I know a lot of the presentations are silly, but once in a while a group does something very clever and there’s a level of showmanship to it. How memorable are those compared to the people that just go and talk? Think of something clever or unique. These are the things that stick in people’s minds.

Be different

Use these techniques and you’ll be different. Collaborative presentations will create partnerships and move you away from the client-vendor relationship. Decision making becomes about the best way to solve the business problem at hand and moves away from I’ll choose number one because my wife likes green. Let me know what Ideas you have!

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Is your Business Development Person Wasting Your Time?

How I got from graphic designer to business development person

As a kid, I couldn’t get my hands on enough arts and crafts. This led me to study graphic design at Parsons in NY and an internship with April Greiman in LA. After working for a few years in the design business, I decided I knew enough to start my own graphic design business. I had some business connections through my father and I became the person who got new business and my partner, Anne did most of the design work. Our small design firm business lasted about 4 years until I had my first son and Anne was offered to work as part of a team on a large and very important identity project. I was kind of left holding the bag with a studio and expenses and a baby and I wasn’t a happy camper. My friend Heather suggested I contact some of the larger firms around town. She said after running my own firm, it would probably interest them to have me. I sent out 10 letters, was contacted by 8 firms and met with each one. The one that stood out was an interesting French Canadian, Michel who owned a firm called OVE design.

I had no idea what Business Development was

Michel invited me if to do creative direction and business development for him and I said sure. He offered me a $25,000 base salary and that seemed very attractive after the feast or famine cycle of my own business. I actually had no idea what he meant by business development but I thought I’d figure it out. Long story short he gave me his mailing list of 800 names and I called each one and 2 years later I brought in several hundred thousand dollars in new business to the firm. At one point he had to tell me to stop because there was too much new business!

When I started doing Business Development, I decided that the objective was to get a meeting. I was able to get a lot of meetings but many were a waste of time. There was one time that Michel still reminds me of 25 years later when I run into him. I don’t remember what the company was but their office was far away. In the suburbs in a unit at the back of a strip mall. It was an hour drive each way and a 30-minute meeting. We showed our portfolio and they asked for a quote for a logo and said their budget was $2,500. On the drive back Michel said: “Don’t ever bring me to another meeting like that again”. I don’t do units, I do downtown meetings. We still laugh about it today.

That was in the ’90s and things were a lot different. I was really just making it up as I went. It’s now many years later I’ve figured out a few things.

I get it now!

In addition to my business development work, I’ve for 15 years as a brand strategist on large global brands as well as a few stints on the client side as a marketing director and I was the person hiring the design firm and I get it now. I know when and when not to go to a meeting. I know the meetings that will be a waste of time. I know what to say to a potential client to get them interested in working with me, I know their hot buttons I know how to price a project, close the deal and get paid. I also know how to create leverage, ongoing revenue and get more work from the clients you already have.

I know what clients are looking for and it may not be aligned with the things your Business Development person is saying to them. So is your business development person wasting your time dragging you all over the place to meetings that don’t translate to clients?

If the answer is yes, here are a few rules to pass along:

Your role in Business Development is not to get meetings. More meetings will not make you successful.

Have an in-depth phone conversation and be sure to qualify every prospect before you even think about a meeting. There is no point spending 2 hours in traffic to find out the budget is $2,500 and they aren’t even sure that they will go ahead with the project.  

Only arrange to meet if there’s a project on the table. Nobody has time for the meet and greet anymore or to see your portfolio.

Clients don’t really care about your portfolio, they care about results that you got for others.

Know the results that your firm got for others (not really talked about in the design business).

In summary, times have changed a great deal since my early days in Business Development. Back then people answered the phone (ok I’m dating myself). Even cold calling worked and that no longer works. New strategies are needed to connect with prospects and stay on their radar. Consistent marketing is a necessity (and I don’t mean holiday card once a year)! The Business Development process has completely changed and if your Business Development Person is wasting your time, take a closer look at what they’re up to!

Discover where you’re leaving thousands of dollars in potential new business on the table. Grab the Missing The Boat Scorecard and stop missing the boat!

Changing Your Mindset About Money

Money. We all want it. Some people have it by the truckload. Most of us could do with a little more in our pockets.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re in the same boat as the rest of us. So, how do we get into that big, gold-plated boat over there instead?

A Money Mindset = More Money

Back in 2010 when I started my business, I discovered there’s actually a certain type of mindset that you need to have if you want to make more money.

Most people believe their income is determined by external things that are outside of their control. We make excuses for ourselves like, ‘I can’t find the clients’, ‘I don’t have the time’, ’The economy is weak’ or ‘99designs are killing the industry’.

time is ticking watch face close up

Every single successful entrepreneur – creative or otherwise – knows that really it’s our internal dialogue, our internal mindset, that determines what we get paid.

Want to get paid what you deserve for your creativity? Learn how to create your money mindset with my free money mindset worksheet here.

 

Of course, acquiring this mindset isn’t instantaneous. It takes time, and it takes practice to figure out. Some people can do it overnight, but for most, it’s an ongoing process.

Today we’re going to start that process for you.

Step 1: Get Clear About What You Want

One of the reasons you’re not making the money you want is that you don’t actually know how much money you want.

Do you know EXACTLY how much income you need or want?

someone counting a stack of dollars close up

The best most of us have is a general idea about our income and expenses. We aren’t clear on what we want. The first step to making more money is to get clear about how much more money you want. Here’s a little exercise you can do to help figure that out:

Figure out where you want to be

Grab a piece of paper (or you can download my Money Mindset worksheet for free here) and write down the answers to the following:

What are your monthly expenses? What are your expenses and what would you like to put into savings, set aside for taxes, investments etc. Write down everything you can think of and add them up.

Now, write down what would you like extra money for. Is it for education? Travel? To expand your business? A second home? Whatever it is, write it down how much you’re going to need every month to have those things.

Take those two numbers and add on another 10% for unforeseen and emergency expenses. Now you know exactly much money you want. Simple!

Figure out where you actually are

Now, what are you ACTUALLY BILLING in your business monthly?

If you don’t have this number to hand, you need to ask yourself why not.

If you don’t have a proper book-keeping and tracking system in place, you need to get one together, and fast. Your expenses can add up incredibly quickly, especially if you’re not keeping an eye on them. You need to know that you are making money in your business.

laptop compter with reporting data on it

Not getting paid what you deserve? Use my free money mindset worksheet to start creating the income you want.

If you don’t have that expense report in front of you on a regular basis, how are you going to know where you can improve? An expense report doesn’t need to be complex software – a spreadsheet will do.

Now you have a bit of clarity on your finances, you can take some action steps.

Step 2: Save 10% – no matter what!

Your first action step is something everyone should be doing, business-owner or not; saving 10% of your income.

Whether it’s a $2,000 invoice or a $20 invoice, once you get paid, stash away at least 10%, somewhere you can’t get your hands on too easily. In a matter of months, you’ll have a nice little financial cushion in your back pocket (not literally!).

You’ll notice that as your savings grow, your mindset around money begins to change. When you feel you have money to spare, it helps to create a mindset of abundance. It’s this feeling of abundance, instead of the stress and worry that you’re aiming for.

As you give yourself a little more space financially, you’ll start to notice that the way you’re thinking about money changes too. This is something you want to encourage.

Change the Way You Talk About Your Money

You may have heard an old saying that goes something like this: “Your thoughts become your words, which become your actions, which become you.”

This is so powerful because it’s true. The words you use to think about money are actually influencing your financial reality. And this goes beyond just finances.

Start paying attention to the way you’re talking to yourself and to those around you about your situation – financial or otherwise.

are you still begggin for money for you business? homeless signs

Start paying attention to your thoughts and you’ll be surprised how much else will change. This happens because most of the stuff in our heads is not terribly helpful; it’s where we find all our worries and fears. The first time I consciously listened to my train of thought it was a bit of a shock – there was some pretty unhelpful stuff going on there!

We walk around all day with all this chatter going on in our heads, telling ourselves what we can and can’t do…

If you’re telling yourself you’re bad with money, or that you can’t afford something, or you have too much debt, or not enough time, you’ll end up being right. Henry Ford memorably described this problem: ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.’

So, think about the language you’re using. With every thought try to ask yourself, ‘is this helpful to me?’. You’ll find that a lot of it is not. The rest you know you can act upon.

How do you start creating a money mindset? Use my free money mindset worksheet – you can download it here.

 

When you’re constantly focusing on what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T, you’re constantly refocusing and redirecting your efforts for growth. Which brings us quite neatly to the final component, visualization.

Feel Your Success

All the top athletes know that success isn’t just a matter of training, or attitude, or luck. Continued, repeated success requires feeling into it.

athletic runners starting a race in black and white

Champions like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt know this well. Of course, they train hard and have a great biological platform. But that doesn’t account for the kind of success they have both attained.

There have been many studies around training, which have demonstrated that, not only does visualization activate the same neural pathways in the brain as performing an actual exercise, it can also activate the muscles.

In fact, that same study shown above demonstrated that visualization had an equal impact to physical training. Why? Because your brain can’t actually tell the difference is between reality and imagination. Children take advantage of this all the time without realizing – it’s part of their learning process.

Think about that figure you wrote down earlier – the amount of money you’d like to be making. What would it feel like to have that money coming in? What would you be able to do? What would your life be like?

Who do YOU need to BE to have that money coming in? How do you dress? How do you talk? How do you approach a problem?

When you concentrate on where you want to be instead of revisiting where you’ve been, you’re moving yourself into that reality.

man throwing arms in the air in victory

Want to start getting the income you deserve from your creative business? download my free money mindset here worksheet to start changing your mindset about money.

 

Here’s an exercise to help you get started:

Imagine bumping into a friend 5 years from now and telling them what your life is like, and all the things you’ve achieved. It might sound silly, but promise me you’ll try it out – you’ll be surprised at what comes out, and how it makes you feel!

This is the key: once you realize that having that peace of mind, feeling financially secure, and feeling empowered, is something that you project on the world, rather than be subject to, you’re starting to move into a money-making mindset.

This isn’t just about money either – this works for anything. Imagine you’re going on holiday. Imagine you’re buying that second home. Imagine dinner at the Ritz-Carlton.

You choose. You’re the creator of your reality – what are you going to create?

 

 


Photos thanks to Agê BarrosSharon McCutcheon , Lukas Blazek,  Matt Artz , Japheth Mast  and Braden Collum  on Unsplash.

How to Create Remarkable Client Relationships

Unremarkable Experiences Are Everywhere

When you think of the companies you deal with, are they remarkable – in a good way?

It’s probably easier for you to remember which companies are unremarkable. There are many successful businesses that have frankly awful relationships with their customers.

Cable companies are a great example of this, as I recently discovered when I stayed at my parent’s new house in Florida. I couldn’t sleep because of all the electronics in their spare room, so I unplugged it and got my solid 8 hours.

I woke the next morning to a household in absolute pandemonium. It turns out that I hadn’t just unplugged the Wi-Fi, I’d unplugged the whole house. The electronics was their SmartHome Hub. Everything was down: the air conditioner, phone, internet, TV, security alarm, washing machine – the lot.

unhappy customer -painted faceThe whole process of dealing with the cable company was painful; ridiculously long account numbers, getting passed between departments, long periods on hold. I’m sure many of you can empathize. Finally, I’m informed that they’ll send an engineer out to restart the system…in 6 days.

6 DAYS!

After a lot of back-and-forth, they finally agreed to send an engineer the next day. It was an uphill battle just to get a basic service from a company we were already paying. I was left stressed out from a simple phone call.

When it comes to business relationships, this was definitely at the low end of the scale! But really, you don’t see a lot of really remarkable relationships out there – at all.

Think about it. You’ve definitely had an experience that makes you remember it, in a positive light.

woman-remembers-great-experience-on-phone-smiling

Those are the companies that you recommend, the times you think of when someone asks you about your experience. Have you ever said to a friend, ”Oh, use these people, I had the best experience with them…?” I’m sure you have…

Use my free worksheet to start creating remarkable relationships with your clients – download it here!

What’s a Remarkable Client Relationship Anyway?

When someone goes out of their way to create an exceptional experience, you’ll remember it. Here’s a story I heard recently about exactly that:

My friend, Bob, gets in a taxi to catch his flight home from Houston airport. As soon as he gets in the cab, he notices a copy of the Wall Street Journal on the seat. The driver turns around to Bob, greets him formally, points out that the newspaper is his to take on the plane if he wishes, and invites him to help himself to a cool drink from the cooler.

new-york-taxi-cab-meter

This quickly turns into the best taxi Bob’s ever had. When they arrive at the airport, the driver helps him out, directs him to his check-in desk, and hands over his card, saying,

“I’d love to be your driver, whenever you’re in Houston. Whenever you’re here, give me a call and I’ll pick you up at the airport.”

Thinking about the experience later at home, Bob Googles the average cab driver’s salary in Houston. It’s around $20k. So, he emails the guy to thank him and commend him on his service and asks him how much he makes. It turns out, perhaps unsurprisingly, that this taxi driver makes $150k a year! All of that from regular clients, who call him when they’re in town.

So, this clever taxi driver is making 7x the average salary, simply by providing a great service and building remarkable relationships with his clients.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

Even A Little Goes a Very Long Way

Creating a remarkable client relationship doesn’t mean you have to perform some back-breaking client service. Far from it. Less can often be more

Take one of our BA members, who was dropping off his car at an airport carpark. All the stresses of finding a spot to park, along with the general travelling woes we can all get, was making the experience pretty awful.

But then, when the shuttle arrived to take them to the airport, all these were completely mitigated by the attitude of their driver. She went so far out of her way to improve the experience of her passengers that it changed their entire trip. She even hugged everyone as they got off the bus, wishing them a safe flight and a ‘see-you-soon’.

cool-sparklers-memorable-experience (1)

Now, that’s a remarkable experience. And if you think about it, it really didn’t cost very much at all, apart from a bit of energy and love. Those little extras really can go a very long way. How often do you find yourself talking about an airport car park in a positive light?

Southwest are excellent at doing this exact kind of thing. They take it as a matter of pride to hire people who are exemplar at customer service.

And when this naturally creates remarkable moments with their customers, they’re great at talking about it too. Even something as little as one of their pilots waving back at a little boy becomes a life-long memory (and a great viral marketing video!):

 

How to Create Remarkable Relationships With Your Clients

What does an exceptional/remarkable experience look like for your clients?

With my own business, I try to create systems that make it easy for my clients.  It used to be that everyone would be looking for the Zoom link before a group call. Then I started sending reminder notes with the link the day before. Problem solved. That’s just one point of contact but there are many.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

Commit to Creating an Amazing Experience

Try to write down what kind of experience you want your clients to have with your company. Write this down and fill in the blank: ”I want my clients to have an amazing experience that…” You decide.

freelancer-business-meeting -handshake

From this vision, you can start creating a system that you and your team can follow, to help ensure your customers have the best experience.

Whether that’s a birthday card, a ‘welcome kit’, a ‘feedback survey’, or simply reminders to touch base regularly with clients, it all helps. If you’re unsure of where to start, examine each stage of your customer’s journey and ask yourself, ‘how can I make things easy and even fun for my clients here’.

Once you’ve committed to a vision of a great experience, and put systems into place behind it, you’ll be well on your way to creating remarkable client relationships.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

Create a Memorable Client Onboarding Experience

One of the most important processes for creating great client relationships is you on-boarding; how your clients are initiated as customers.

woman-client-onboarding-creaative-agency-meeting

You want to start thinking about how you can make it easier for yourself and your team make every client interaction memorable, creating a great relationship from step 1 onwards.

Start with a ‘touchpoint’ analysis for your business. What are the touch points for your business? Can your prospects and clients find you when they want to? Can they call you? Are you creating an easy and comfortable customer journey?

Sometimes bad clients aren’t bad, they’ve just never worked with a creative before and need you to help you guide them. To remedy this, you could create a project schedule, so they understand where the project is and where it’s going at all times.

Often you may find things you think they know all about, they actually know NOTHING about. Take the time to explain the work and the process and they will really appreciate your honesty and transparency. Maybe even let them glimpse your working process, and they may appreciate the skill what you do even little more.

open scheduling planner book agenda (1)

Create Real Connections With Your Real (Human) Clients

Sometimes, just reaching out to people on a human level, genuinely being interested in their lives and listening to what they are actually saying is remarkable.

Even if you’re not going to end up taking on a project, it can’t hurt to take 5 or 10 minutes to help someone out. Giving your advice and taking the time to engage with people and figure out what they need is memorable. You’ll probably find that approaching your prospect meetings like this gets you referrals, even if it’s not from them!

man and his client having a casual conversation

The most important thing here is connecting with your clients on a human level. I always phone or Skype when interacting with my clients about anything remotely important. Not only can they reduce the confusion and time taken on a task, they also help to make the relationship real, as opposed to just a business one.

Once your clients are ‘through the door’, think of ways you can do something unexpected for your clients, things that make them enjoy working with you – things that make them say, ‘wow’.

Even something seemingly small and un-businesslike can help build these relationships. When you take the time and thought to send someone something, even a card, sharing an article, asking after their family, you’re creating that remarkable client relationship.

Get As Much Feedback As Possible

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, and implement it! Embrace all your negative feedback because it will help you to improve. Pay attention if things get a negative reaction. What can you do to make it a better experience? Often those that give negative feedback which is resolved turn into your most satisfied (and vocal) customers.

Free Download: 10 Ways to create remarkable client relationships

 


Photos by Andre Hunter, Kinga Cichewicz, John Cobb, rawpixel.com, Tim GouwCollin Armstrong, Eric Rothermel and Anna Vander Stel on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

Why Smart Creative Entrepreneurs Make Plans (and how to make yours for 2018)

If you’re like most creative business owners, you’ve been too busy getting the work done to be worrying about planning for next year. Creative minds thrive on improvising their way to success. If you made it through 2017 without a plan, consider one for 2018?

Most successful creatives eventually learn that it’s the structure and routine of a plan that allows you to be truly successful.

set aside some time for 2018 planning

Download the 2018 Strategic Planning Workbook here

Take the weekly groceries, for example. Whenever I drop into the store to pick up a couple of things, I end up spending $60 on things I definitely didn’t need.

 

However, when I plan the meal and make a list, I spend less money and use everything I bought.

It’s never too late to start planning. You might even enjoy coming up with new processes or strategies to try, new product ideas to test out, or new ways to  get clients.

The hardest part is getting started, right?

One of my favorite lessons from ‘The E-Myth Revisited’, by Michael Gerber, was that planning is the difference between working in your business and working ON your business.

One of them is going to lead to 70 hour weeks and a permanent migraine from the stress. The other leads to greater freedom and more money. Which would you choose?

Planning simply means looking forward a year (or two) and trying to assess where your market is headed, decide where you would like to go, and whether you have the right resources in place.

Planning is your big creative ‘what if’, that helps you figure out what you’re going to be doing the rest of the year. It’s your blueprint for creating a successful and stable business over the next year or more. When you break down your goals into daily tasks, processes or routines, your plan is your ‘how’. But a great plan is so much more than that too.

Download your 2018 Strategic Planning Workbook here

A great plan is your shining light at the end of the tunnel. It’s your reason to keep plugging at something when all seems lost. When you wake up in the morning and ask yourself what could possibly be the need to go to that meeting at 8:45…your plan will be there to remind you of the ‘why’.

‘Hows’ are very easy to come by, but ‘whys’ are much harder to find. Once you have your ‘why’ though, suddenly every decision you made has been made for you. When you have to decide whether to take on a project, or tricky client, or any decision at all, just think back to those yearly goals, your ‘why’ and ask, “Will this help me reach that goal?” You’ll soon know what to do if it doesn’t. How to say NO to a client. 

Your Why should be beyond making money. For example, my Why is to build community and inspire creative entrepreneurship.

Once you decide to start the process, it can be surprisingly fun. It’s a time to do two things you rarely do as a business owner. To really let yourself imagine or dig deeper into your vision for what you really want the business to be. The second, and this is the art and the challenge for most people is to figure out how much of that vision you can realistically expect to achieve and by when.

One of the most useful aspects of a great planning session is that it’s often the first time a creative entrepreneur sits down and actually looks at all the aspects of their business as a whole.

So, great planning starts with a good understanding of your current state of your business.

Download your 2018 Strategic Planning Workbook here

This process is mostly creative.

It can definitely be tricky to stay grounded in the day-to-day of your business and simultaneously critique and envision a better future, but a plan doesn’t have to be set in stone. The more often you come back to reassess your plan, tweak it slightly, change this aspect, reassess this area, the better you’ll become at it.

And if you’re really stuck, you can always book a call with me 🙂

What happens when you need to tell a client ‘no’

Sometimes no matter how well you get on or how much you want a relationship to work (professional or otherwise), it simply won’t.

Last year, one of my clients decided to fire a client. They had been working together for 6 months and it just wasn’t working out.

Despite several meetings and discussions about how to make it work better, my client suddenly became very clear that it would be best for all concerned to move on as quickly as possible.

He didn’t have the clarity right away. It took some time, but he woke up one morning and he just knew. When you follow that kind of ‘knowing’, you can’t go wrong.

Whether it’s because of a misalignment of interests, a miscommunication of goals, or poorly-set expectations, sometimes you just have to say, “No.”

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Knowing when and how to tell your client or potential client, ‘No!’ is an essential part of becoming a successful creative freelancer.

So, saying ‘no’ is what we’ll be covering today for you.

Why you need to say ‘no’ to a client

As humans and budding freelancers, saying ‘No’ to work can be a pretty scary prospect. After all, you want your clients to like you, you want their referrals, you want them to believe in you and your business. And of course, you want to keep them as a client.

But, as my little story at the beginning hopefully demonstrated, when you don’t tell a client ‘no’, you’re not necessarily helping your business.

Try to reframe what it means for you to say, ‘no’. When you turn down work, you’re turning away a project that can only end badly, or that stretches you emotionally and negatively impacts your other work or life.

The clients I’m talking about are the clients that don’t know what they want, the clients who just want it, ‘cheap’ who don’t care about design, or the clients who feel that the work is never good enough. This is stuff that is toxic, to you and your business and these are things you should be saying no to.

If you’ve been freelancing for any period of time, you will likely know exactly what I’m talking about. No matter what, those small underlying issues manifest themselves in a big way sooner or later.

It could be a refusal to pay, endless rounds of revisions with no direction, or simply poor communication and deadline-keeping (on the client side).

Whatever it is, usually your relationship with the client deteriorates to the point where neither of you wants to work with each other.

This is typically accompanied by blunt and passively (or sometimes openly) aggressive emails, delayed payments, zero referrals, lost time, wasted energy, emotional stress and ultimately – you don’t get to do what you do best.

Now, I’m not saying that these things are certain to happen. It’s just that they’re much more likely to happen when you don’t know how or when to say ‘no’.

When you say no to a client, you’re protecting yourself and your business. Keep that in mind when deciding when to say no as well.

When to say ‘no’ to a client

Knowing when to say ‘no’ is often harder than actually saying it.

The first thing is, don’t agonize over it. You’ve been blessed with the power to say no, so use it when you need to.

The second thing is, you’re the person who gets to decide who you work with and why. Don’t waste that. One of your biggest weapons in this is having a good idea of who you want to work with, and most importantly, who you don’t.

Put together a Buyer Persona or Target Audience (if you want help with this, you can download my free target audience worksheet here. This will help you get really clear on your ideal client so you can spot trouble-makers or clients that you know you’ll have problems with.

Some freelancers find it useful to create ‘Negative Target Audiences’ too. This can be a useful way of filtering your prospects out. But the most important thing is learning to actually say that little word.

As a creative freelancer, it’s only natural for you to want to please a client, whether they’re old or new.

We don’t just want to design their website, or write their articles; we want to absolutely knock their socks off.

We want them to come back a week later, shaken and confused, Google Analytics print-out shaking in their palm…”How?” they’ll mumble, “How did you do that?”

Not; “I don’t know why I don’t like it, can you make it, like, ‘pop’ more?”

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Remember this: You’ll never regret the bad jobs you didn’t take. Only the ones that you did.

Oh, and people will actually like you more when you kindly and authentically tell them no. Putting your foot down at the first signs of disrespect or unprofessionalism will help to set a precedent for your future relationship with them. Make your first impression count.

Below are some ‘Red Flags’ that should help you identify when it’s probably best to refuse a request from a client, and how to do it without ruining the relationship forever:

You may even want to include some of these in your Target Audience (grab your worksheet here if you haven’t got one yet). Then you can use these to frame questions to help filter out potential problem clients.

Say ‘no’ when the client wants you to work on spec or for much less than your normal rate.

For the freelancer, this is the first and probably the most important ‘No’ we need to learn to say.

We’ve all been there with a potential client who tries to get a discounted rate. This instantly belittles your skills and risks compromising the quality of work that can be produced.

This is a pity because the client doesn’t appreciate that a proper investment is required to ensure a thorough and quality outcome. In other words: you get what you pay for.

To avoid clients pinning you down on price, don’t reveal your day rate; this increases the likelihood they will try to reduce the price. Once they’ve told you what they want, simply tell them it will cost $X to complete the work.

If you absolutely have to reveal your day rate, set it a little higher (+25%) so that you’ve got some room to negotiate without suffering a real loss. Remember: you can always come down but you can’t go up! Don’t reduce your rate, change the scope of the work.

The client’s budget has to be part of your target audience/buyer personas. Once you have your Target Audience mapped out (download a free worksheet to find yours here), stick to it, especially when it comes to pricing.

Say ‘no’ when the client has a reputation for being overly demanding or dishonest.

This one is a little trickier to determine, especially if this is the first time you’ve come into contact with a client. However, these days a quick Google search will often tell you all you need to know about a business.

Be wary of clients who have not paid freelancers in the past, or have a reputation for being overly demanding or have unrealistic expectations.

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Also, watch out for clients who have worked with many design firms in the past; this is often an indicator that they will be a problem client. Don’t work with clients who are trying to get you to save the project for a cheap price because it didn’t work out with someone else.

What exactly makes a client a ‘problem client’ will differ depending on you, so make sure you use your Target Audience worksheet to go effect, to determine people who are not the best fit for your business. Here’s another one: don’t do the work for free, thinking that it might lead to something ongoing.

This is often a good indication of underlying cash-flow problems within the company. If this is not the case, then likely they do not value the service you provide very highly, which spells future trouble for any creative freelancer. Ask about the financial health of the company. They may not give you exact numbers but can tell you if they’re profitable.

Even if they agree, later this may manifest itself as a repeated requests for changes or work that wasn’t in the original scope. This is where a good contract can come in handy too.

If you know the client has unrealistic expectations or goals, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.

This one is tricky and is not always obvious from the first meeting with a client. However, usually in such cases, a client will have vastly unrealistic expectations about what can be achieved given the time and resources available.

A great example of this is website design/builds. A client may say they want a website when what they really want is 1,000 customers.

You can make the most beautiful website in the world but your design alone won’t bring them new customers. It’s an important skill as a freelancer to be able to pick apart what your client wants from what they say, and then determine if you can deliver to their expectations. Be sure to find out their objectives right from the start.

Setting realistic expectations for a project is key. If a client refuses to alter their expectations, and you know they are unrealistic, don’t be afraid to walk away.

When the client or project requires you to go against your moral and ethical beliefs, walk away.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Do not sacrifice your personal beliefs for the sake of a client, and certainly do not do anything illegal.

This may even be because you don’t believe in it or agree with the business behind the project. Do not skip this one, as easy as it may seem to be to ‘just take the money’. You will not do as good a job as you would if you believed in the project. Knowing yourself and your target audience is key here, as with all of these.

Say ‘no’ when you are too busy, have plans, or cannot realistically keep to the deadlines.

These are often some of the hardest decisions to make because we feel responsible. But it’s better to postpone or pass than to say yes and not be able to deliver to your full capability later.

How to say ‘no’ to a client

There are a multitude of reasons why you may need to say no to a client, both before, during, and after a project.

The most important thing is, ironically, to avoid just blurting one out; “Sorry, it’s a no. 

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When I first drafted this, I thought I would add a ‘how to say no’ to each of the main things above. But, the reality is that each situation you need to say ‘No’ to will be unique; as will each reason and each response.

All the same, here are some examples of ways to say ‘No’ that should help give you an idea of how to say to and still leave you and your client feeling good about the situation.

Saying ‘no’ when you don’t like the project;

“Sorry but I don’t think I’m the best fit for your project- here are some designers who might be a better fit.

“It’s been really interesting working with you so far but I think it’s time to let someone else a crack at it. I don’t think I’m doing it the justice you deserve, I can recommend a couple of good designers for you.”

Saying ‘no’ when the money isn’t there:

“I really appreciate the opportunity but I wouldn’t be able to make it work for that price and you wouldn’t be happy with the result. Perhaps we can work together in future.”

“That’s a pity – let me know when your budget situation improves and I’ll be happy to discuss this again.”

“That’s totally understandable – there are so many different qualities and prices for freelance work – I’m sure you can find another freelancer who will do it cheaper.”

“Sorry but I’m a small business so financially I can’t position myself to take that kind of risk – that’s why I ask for the 50% deposit.”

Saying ‘no’ when they ask for extra work (scope creep)

“Yes, we can do that, no problem. Only thing is that it wasn’t part of the original project so it will take an extra {time} and {money} to achieve – you’re looking at X$. Please let me know if you’d like me to go ahead.”

“It’s been great working together but due to some changes in personal circumstances, I’m no longer going to be able to help you out. I’d recommend {Company X} instead.”

“After doing some strategic analysis, I’ve decided to shift my/our focus to only serve a specific niche going forward. Due to this, we regret to inform you that we will no longer be able to work with you. Thanks for your understanding.”

The key here is, knowing when to say no, being confident enough to say it, and knowing how to say it in the best way.

Getting your Target Audience right is going to help you a lot with this. If you don’t have a target audience or an ideal buyer persona, you need one.

Download the free target audience worksheet, which will help you get started putting together yours. Then have a read of my post here, which will tell you a bit more about finding your target audience.

How to stop wasting time on prospects that never buy

Being a freelance creative is hard enough. You’re strapped for time. Income isn’t exactly stable. The last thing you need to do is waste your time.

Watch the Webinar: 5 Questions You Need to Ask Your Prospect Before You Even Think About Meeting. 

One of the most frustrating things you experience as a freelancer is all the time you waste writing unanswered emails, sending ignored proposals and taking pointless driving trips to see clients that you never hear back from.

Most freelancers I work with tell me they experience similar frustrations.

The first thing I have to do is tell you that ultimately, some of your potential clients will fall through. It’s just life.

Things get in the way. Life takes unexpected U-turns. You just have to accept it.

But when people first join the Business Accelerator, they tell me they are spending way too much time trying just trying to keep their business afloat.

And so many of them are making the same mistakes, so I thought I’d share with you what I tell them:

Watch the Webinar: 5 Questions You Need to Ask Your Prospect Before You Even Think About Meeting. 

Why your prospects don’t convert

Ok – as I said there are a million reasons why your prospect might not become a client.

But most of the time you’re wasting your time on someone who was never going to convert in the first place.

“What?” I hear you cry, “But they approached me!”

aI’m afraid it’s true. Often people are just shopping for a price, or they changed their mind, or life got on the way, or the project got put on hold.

The fact is that you can’t work with everyone. In fact, you SHOULDN’T work with everyone. You shouldn’t want to.

It’s like dating, some clients are just not going to be your ‘type’.

Finding your ‘type’: Why a target audience will help you grow

I’m going to keep with the dating analogy because it works well here.

Most people will have a ‘type’ of person they like to date. It may be physical appearance or mental traits; whatever it is – they’re looking for it in a partner. Even if they don’t think it.

You need to have a type of business, a type of client that you know you can work with, and that are likely to want (and be able) to work with you.

Particularly now, when there is so much choice and information available online, it’s SO important not to waste your time trying to please everyone. It just doesn’t work. Even the largest, most successful companies on the planet can’t do it. On top of that, Quite often when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no-one.

Have you ever walked into a Pizza restaurant that also serves burgers, chicken, curries, and spring rolls? The menu takes 15 minutes to read. And you just know that it’s not going to be as authentic or as good quality as it would be in a family restaurant who have been serving the same dishes for generations.

What makes you think you can appeal to everyone? Why would you want to? Even though most freelancers I work with can tell me the types of client they hate working with, they rarely act upon their experiences.

If you can’t tell me what your ideal client looks like in under 10 words, you don’t know who they are. But that’s OK because this post will help you to figure out what they look like.

Watch the Webinar: 5 Questions You Need to Ask Your Prospect Before You Even Think About Meeting. 

How to create your ideal client personas

There’s a group of people that you already know like you and want to do business with you. They’re going to be your key ally here in working out who your ideal client looks like. Who are they? Your existing clients.

1.  Survey/Interview existing clients

Without this survey, the whole thing will fail. Your buyer personas won’t be as useful if you try to do them all by yourself.

First of all, you need to reach out to your existing clients, past and present, to find out who your clients are and what they want from you, in a deep way.

Send them a quick email asking to fill out a micro-survey.

All the ‘survey’ needs to be is: ‘What is your single greatest business challenge’, and ‘Why did you choose to do business with me?’.

You can use Google Forms or Survey Monkey for the survey but an email works too.

The other part of this ‘survey’ you’re going to do yourself.

Use our Target Audience Worksheet to help you think through your clients and their similarities.

This will help you to group your clients into ‘types’ based on more than just their survey answers.

2. Use their answers to build your profiles

Ideally, the answers to their questions (and your own target audience worksheet) are going to give you a lot of really rich data about who your customer is, and what they like about your business.

You’re probably going to get quite a bit of ‘fluff’ as well but that’s ok.

Put your clients’ answers into a spreadsheet and you’ll start to see some similarities in the language people use when talking about their business and their challenges. This is exactly what you’re looking for.

You’ll likely notice is a ‘pattern of problems’ that people have relating to your service and there may be a few of these. This is great.

You want to try and put your customers into ‘groups’ or ‘buckets’, so try to find the similarities between them. To help you do this you may find it useful to add surrounding data you have on your clients from the Target Audience Worksheet.

Create maybe three or four of these groups of issues, the kinds of customers that experienced them and their corresponding solutions (or anything the client said about them in their response).

Watch the Webinar: 5 Questions You Need to Ask Your Prospect Before You Even Think About Meeting. 

3. Filter your prospects with a survey

Once you’ve put together your customer surveys and merged it with the answers on your Target Audience Worksheet, you should have three or four groups of similar people and their issues. These are your ‘target clients’ or ‘ideal client personas’.

But simply having a client persona isn’t going to help you stop wasting time with non-ideal clients. You need to act on them.

There are various ways of using your personas, all of which will help grow your business, but the one we’re focusing on today is the filter survey.

This is simply getting all your new prospects to answer a few key questions, which will enable you to sort them into groups.

Each of your groups should have one main ‘headline’ problem – this would be an ideal question to instantly filter your prospects.

This could be a simple drop-down or checkbox with options chosen from the actual words people have said back to you.

For example, you might ask:

What is your biggest challenge as a business:
1) Finding new customers
2) Delivering assets on time/to budget
3) Developing new products/services
4) Other: (leave space for them to write).

The answers you get should help you to sort your clients into groups, so you know what language to use and what solutions they are likely to want.

Usually, you’ll need more than one question to accurately sort your prospects but you can continue to ask ‘filtering’ questions as you get to know them.
Don’t be afraid to say no

One of the hardest parts about using a target audience or buyer persona is saying ‘no’ when the prospect is not a good fit. But you must stick to your guns. I talked about this on my September Webinar (click here to watch it).

You don’t have to be mean about it and you’ll find people often appreciate your honesty.

When you get a prospect that doesn’t fit in your persona, be as polite and helpful as possible but make sure they understand that you are not the right person to help them out. Instead, point them in the direction of someone who might be able to help them out. Then move on.

Not only will you find yourself wasting less time chasing clients that never buy, but if you’ve done your personas properly, you’ll also find those clients coming back to work with you again and again.

Watch the Webinar: 5 Questions You Need to Ask Your Prospect Before You Even Think About Meeting. 

Let me know in the comments below if you have any techniques or questions you use to find your perfect clients – I’d love to hear them

 

 

 

7 Problems Creative Entrepreneurs Have Growing Their Businesses (and how to solve them)

 

How good are you at business development?

I used to suck.

But years of growing my own freelance business taught me a few things about getting new clients.

Some of them I put into white-papers like the First Meeting Success Formula, which you can grab a free copy of here.

And all of them I share with my students…

We held a seminar recently with members of my Business Accelerator to handle some of their most common issues.

It was so productive that I thought it worth sharing some of what we covered with you.

Before the seminar, I collected a ton of questions from all our members.

Then I condensed them down to a few main problems that we all seemed to be experiencing.

These questions are pretty common; I’ve come across them many times over my 25-year career as a business consultant.

Hopefully, my answers can help you out too:

1. How do I craft a better cold email to clients and prospects?

I don’t recommend using cold email if you can help it.

Years ago it used to be more effective one-to-one but these days cold email is pretty ineffective.

This counts even more if you’re stretched for time.

I use Twitter to break the ice, which works well for me.

You do need a compelling reason to connect with them, not just ‘hey check out my portfolio’.

Have a compelling reason and it can open the door to an email.

To be fair, this can work with cold email too, except that your reason has to be super compelling.

You have to research that client and that person pretty extensively to do it well.

Detailed client personas will allow you to craft copy in your cold emails that will get much higher responses.

This works well when you have a specific person to connect with, but cold emailing has largely passed its time.

2. How do I strike a balance between getting the work and doing the work?

When your sales cycle leaves you no room to get work while you’re doing your work, it can be stagnating.

This needs to be your top priority – set aside time for it each week, no matter what.

Don’t skimp – it really is the most important part of your business.

The more consistently you can do it, the more effective you’ll be at it.

So block off the time and stick to it. I cannot stress the importance of this enough.

The more you do it, the better you’ll be at identifying ways to make it more effective.

For example, Friday afternoons seem to be a good time for me to connect with people.

Seems contrary to belief but it works for me.

Whatever it is, finding that set time will keep your momentum.

Want to know the formula to successful first client meetings? Download your free copy here.

Look for ongoing clients, rather than one off projects, where you can.

I’ll cover that in another blog post.

For now, just try to look for opportunities for work to develop, or long-term needs of the client you could satisfy.

3. Referrals and personal connections etc. seem to be our best source of leads – what can we do to increase the number of leads we get without attending a tonne of useless evening events?

In my experience, most freelance creatives or small agencies don’t do a great deal of marketing of themselves, for exactly this reason.

Or at least, they don’t do it consistently.

What you want to do is make sure you’re finding and working with your ideal client.

This has to start with getting a good idea of who you work best with, and who is more likely to have a problem you can solve.

Then you need to get on their radar.

You need to find where they hang out and make yourself known there.

This could be certain areas of social media. It could be specific niche events. It all depends on your ideal client persona.

Idea client personas are key to this – so you have to start with this marketing essential

Like it or not, if you want to get more clients coming to you for work, you do need to spend time on your marketing.

4. What is the best way to get clients in a new/different market?

The key with entering a new vertical is always positioning.

You need to make sure that you understand the problems of your potential clients in this niche.

Really well.

Better than the existing competitors in the sector, if you can. If you want to succeed in a niche, you need to know your audience as well as you know yourself.

It sounds really hard and scary, but it is so essential for you to buckle down and do your research.

Know anybody in the market you want to enter? Take them out for coffee and grill them for info.

Whatever it takes, for success in any marketplace, you need to first understand your audience.

5. When planning a new launch how do you work out the best channel to market in with the most success..i.e…ppc/social/email?

Assuming that you’ve put together personas for your ideal client, this shouldn’t be too hard.

So it’s largely a matter of getting down to your marketing strategy.

You ideal client persona will give you hints about where to target.

For example, which social media channel will be more effective, or keywords to target on Adwords.

The best thing to do is to use them to put together a basic marketing strategy.

PPC ads can quickly become very expensive, so it’s important to have clearly defined budget and goals.

Sit down and put together a simple plan, define a budget, some goals and a time period, and really track your results.

When your campaign is underway you’ll be able to tell if it’s cost effective or not and adjust your strategy to fit.

6. How does an introvert begin to develop business?

I get asked this question a surprising amount.

I think this is because a lot of people who are on the more creative and artistic side see themselves as more introverted too.

Most of the time I tell these people it’s a great idea to become part of a business group.

Even better if it’s one with potential clients in it.

There are a lot of different techniques I could teach you to help you get used to breaking the ice with people.

Too many for this post.

So join a business group with like-minded people, and commit to attending regularly.

As you feel more comfortable with these people, you’ll start to find it easier to get into the conversation.

I’ve put together a formula for successful first client meetings, which you can grab a free copy of here

Really if you just keep showing up, it’s great practice for meeting people.

It’s going to be hard to start, but as you get out of your comfort zone and get used to talking about your business, you’ll reap the rewards.

7. How can we deal with pricing with clients? So many clients think graphic design is easy/always want it never yesterday/never want to pay more…

Ok, this is the big one. It comes in so many different forms. But it’s always there.

It’s probably the single most common question I get asked by clients and Business Accelerator members alike.

Many people aren’t going to like this answer, but it’s the only thing I’ve found effective over the years.

It comes in two parts:

1. Become a problem solver/increase your value

You really have to work on your research here.

Find out what their problems are.

You need to consider yourself as a problem solver, not just a designer.

Most businesses don’t care about whether something looks good unless it solves a problem for them.

That’s where you come in.

By doing your research by asking the right questions, like the three killer questions I talk about here, you’ll be able to offer so much more to your clients.

Think of it like back pain. Seriously.

If you’ve ever had back pain, you’ll know what a relief it is to find a practitioner, whatever they specialize in, that can help with the pain.

When that pain goes, you don’t care if it’s a chiropractor, a physic, or tiny needles that did it.

You’re just happy the pain is gone, pay whatever it costs, and book your next appointment.

So imagine how delighted your average business owner will be if you design them a good-looking website, that also helps to increase their conversions (or whatever their problem is).

If you’re delivering that kind of value, you’ll find your clients much happier to part with their cash.

2. Don’t be afraid to say, “No”

The second part of this answer is much harder to do.

Especially if you’re struggling.

Usually, even if you’re not.

Saying no is one of the hardest things to do, in any situation, but one that is well worth practicing.

Not only do various studies that show it can actually make you more likable, it can help your business grow too.

Analyzing your existing or past clients, and creating an ideal future client profile, will help you a lot with this.

It will help you identify when a client isn’t going to respect the work you do or want to pay your prices for it.

We all struggle to turn away work.

But if you’ve ever been in the unfortunate position of wishing you’d never dealt with a client, you’ll understand the power of the word, ‘no’.

So don’t be afraid of turning down work that doesn’t pay what you need, or with clients you suspect will be trouble down the line.

It just isn’t worth it.

Hopefully, you’ve found some of my answers useful.

I’ll be adding plenty more articles and resources here over the coming months, so make sure you subscribe to get more!

 

Want to read more? Check out my 4 Steps to a Winning Freelance Proposal post