The best piece of business advice I was given was to run my business to my values and my vibe - this makes me in control of my business and it ensures I only work with my Ideal Clients.
Check that you aren't running your business to other people's expectations, ask yourself: what do I want?
What sort of person are you and what sort of people do you want to work with?
What is your personality like and does this come through in your marketing / branding?
How many hours do your want to work per day / week?
How much money do you want to make per month?
How much do you want to charge for your products / services, based on questions 2 and 3?
How would you like to be paid? (for example an hourly rate or by project)
What are your contactable hours?
How would you prefer to be contacted?
How will you manage and plan your work?
What do you expect from your clients so you have a good relationship?
Be authentic to yourself - you shouldn't be afraid to make your business, YOUR BUSINESS.
If you need to go back and check that your business foundations are perfect, check out >
Cut Out Time Wasters
Once you've figured out the above questions, my best piece of advice to your is to tighten up your business policies and qualifying process to your standards, so you only attract ideal clients and also that you don't waste too much time on potential clients.
It might feel productive to have loads of chats and emails and meetings with someone who has made an enquiry because you're seeing pound signs and feeling flattered - but it's not productive.
You're wasting time on someone who hasn't spent one single penny on you yet.
My current clients are where the money is at. These are the people that know me, trust me and are already spending money with me. So only when I onboard someone do they get all of my love, attention, emails, chats and meetings because they are paying me.
That's the way it should be.
This will sound harsh to some people reading and in itself will put them off from subscribing or even hiring me in the future. But to others they will respect my work ethic and loyalty, appreciate my honesty because they know where they stand with me and have #FOMO because they aren't on my client list. My point is made.
Just Say No
I turn work down. Could you say that for your business? .. it might seem like a terrible way to run a business but if a potential client doesn't appreciate your business policies and boundaries then this is a red flag they will be a giant pain in the arse to work with.
I don't turn work down often because nearly every call that comes through is from an Ideal Client (someone who wants to work to my terms), however I had a discovery chat with a potential client about a big design project that would be ongoing.
It was an exciting job that would have earnt me a chunk of money.
But at the end of our call they said something immediately put me off: they asked me to come to their office so they could meet me in person. And then they asked if I could do a sample piece of work .. for free.
I didn't take the enquiry any further for three reasons:
1) I run my own business and I don't do 'interviews'. I'm happy to do a 'face to face' Zoom call but I'm not wasting time travelling to meet someone with no guarantee they will convert into a client. My time is precious: if I'm not earning money so I can pay the bills, I'm home educating my son. So the time I send on potential clients has to be kept to a minimum because I'm not earning money or home educating.
2) If a person can't make up their mind with all of the information I provide within my marketing and website (i.e. details of my service, what's included, the benefits, the cost, examples of my work and reviews from previous clients) - plus having a one to one chat with me - that in itself proves they will be a giant pain in the arse.
3) I don't work for free. If people would like to see 'samples' of my work I have a portfolio on my website.
On the other hand ..
However, you could argue that if I had taken the time to do what they had asked they might have hired me.
And you might be right - but their attitude from the beginning warned me that they would be frustrating to work with, so 'bending' my own rules and entertaining their request would have done neither of us any favours.
SPOILER ALERT! During our call they told me another designer was visiting them that afternoon for the same project .. and they also told me that designer probably wouldn't get the job. But that designer didn't know that and they wouldn't find out until AFTER the visit (and probably the free 'sample' work).
So what a waste of time for them and why it's important to have (and stick to) boundaries.
Is your marketing doing its job?
Way before I chat to anyone interested in working with me, I make sure that my marketing is effective. You have everything you need to know about me on my website and in my social media - chatting to me is just the icing on the cake.
Lucky old you!
Before picking up that phone you can see:
my portfolio and reviews on my website
my brand vibe and message in my marketing
the services I offer and my prices on my website
the terms in which I work on my website
So after all of this, if someone can't make up their mind and decide if I'm right for them, then they aren't for me.
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