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 attract like for like 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.
My Best Piece of Advice to You
Once you've figured out the above questions - tighten up your business and qualifying process to your standards so you attract ideal clients only and don't waste 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.
I Turn Work Down
Could you say that for your business?
Well, I don't do it often - but recently I had a discovery chat with a potential client about a design project that would be ongoing. So it would be a nice little retainer.
At the end of our 20 minute phone call they said something I wasn't expecting - they asked me to come to their office so they could meet me in person. And then they asked if I could do an example piece of work for them .. for free.
I didn't take the enquiry any further.
To ensure I achieve the lifestyle I want my days have to be productive: if I'm not earning money, I'm spending it with my son. So, as above I don't waste time on potential clients.
I give potential clients 20 minutes of my time to see if we gel but that's it. And I don't do work for free.
On the other hand ..
You could argue that perhaps if I had taken the time to do what they had asked they might have hired me. But they also informed me they had a designer visiting them that afternoon for the same project who 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.
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.
For more of my nonsense on design tips and business owner advice, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter .. big kisses, Claire xx