This is a guest blog post by Christina Scalera of The Contract Shop
Imagine this: you’ve just started your business. You snagged a cute little logo off Etsy that you spiffed up with colors that were oh-so-you and while you know it’s not the best website in the world, you’re pretty proud of the home you’ve crafted online.
You get your first client inquiry, and the excitement builds. “Will she book? Will she like your work?” The questions race through your head. This could be it– the start of the end (of your 9-5 job, that is!)
Fast forward and this new client loves you. She wants to work with you! You get started on the project or event together. Things are going well at first, but subtle things you used to dismiss as “she’s having a bad day,” or “that’s minor, it doesn’t matter,” suddenly starts to wear on you. Before you know it, the client is threatening to leave you a bad review. Or she is making unreasonable demands at all hours of the night, killing your family time. Or worst yet, she has totally ghosted on you with no payment for all your hard work in site.
While it sounds like a “worst case” scenario, the truth is that if you haven’t faced any of this yet, you will if you do this entrepreneur thing long enough. It begs the question– is there anything you can do to protect your time, sanity and, uh, hello, paycheck?
Here are the three things you need to put in place TODAY to avoid mega-drama later, which has an uncanny knack of always striking at the worst time.
This is going to sound boring for a sec so hang with me– I bet you’ve shied away from creating communication policies, such as defining your office hours, or letting your clients know when it is perfectly fine to text/call you, and when it is actually not.
Oftentimes, we want to work with a client so bad we’re willing to overlook a lot of their flaws, like texting us at 2am on a Saturday with a new Sunday deadline they’ve just imposed. The thing is, most people like boundaries. They like being told what to do.
For example, when was the last time it was fun for you to get together with friends and just sit around to think about where you might go to dinner? Not fun at all. However, the sigh of relief is almost audible when one group member finally pipes up and declares, “we are going HERE,” and the rest of the group follows. It’s fun to let someone else decide for us– which is what you do when you tell your clients what is and what isn’t allowed.
You show up as the pro they need, and they respect you + your time for doing so.
Hands down, this is the best way to avoid (and deal with) any drama that ever pops up. Whether it’s intentional drama your client stirred up, or accidental because something was overlooked (oops! It happens), you want to make sure that all possible situations are accounted for.
There are two ways to do this, one bad and one good: (1) duct-tape a contract together from a friend + Google, and fix it every time a bad situation pops up where you live and you learn, or (2) grab a pre-made contract template for creative entrepreneurs. You can click here to get a done-for-you solution that is used by some of the biggest names in the creative industry.
The latter sitch will get you up, running and protected in less than 10 minutes, and most contract templates now come with a hand-holding setup course so you know you did everything 100% correctly. Spending a few hundos today can save you thousands (plus headache and heartache) later.
[PSSSSTTT!!!! Now through Cyber Monday (Nov. 27), you can snag one of these templates for 40% off!! Click here to take advantage of the sale.]
Note from Reina: You KNOW you need some legal help but you think it’s not affordable to hire an attorney. I get that, but can you afford to be bullied out of money for services rendered because you didn’t have a contract? It doesn’t have to be so hard. Christina’s made it so easy to be able to protect your assets. Grab your contract template now!
Attention to details
We’ve all had needy clients. It’s not that they need you, they just need attention and/or reassurance that they’ve made a sound financial investment in your services. Be sure to give them access to something that lets them feel heard and supported.
It could be a simple PDF you create from a Google Doc that walks them through your process, assuring them you know what you’re doing. It could be something a little fancier, like a client gift or a handwritten note.
If you’re a little more advanced, you might consider hiring a virtual assistant who could be your client concierge and point clients to helpful articles you or others have written while they’re waiting on a response from you.
With these three things in place, you should have no problem wrangling even the thorniest of clients. Which one of these could you implement today? Comment below by tagging a friend who does this really well! Grab your template here!