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How to Handle Less Than Ideal Clients – Part 2

Less than ideal clients

Missed Part 1 – The Antithesis of Your Ideal Client?

Have you ever seen the children’s pegboard game where the objective is to match specifically shaped pegs to the holes in the pegboard?  Every heard of the old adage “a square peg in a round hole”?  The potential client standing in front of you is holding a pegboard with specific shapes cut in it.  You and your services are a clearly defined peg with a precise shape, size, and composition.  Your responsibility to yourself and your client is to determine if your peg fits the hole in their pegboard.

The best way to avoid a less than ideal client is to know what constitutes a good fit for you, and how to help them discover what a good fit is for them.  That need varies from personality to expectations, timetable, style, objectives, and budget.  I have found that the majority of the clients that have been problematic for me are because they don’t know what they want and I didn’t clearly express what I needed.

When the Unforeseeable Happens

The more clearly you spell out expectations on the part of both parties in your contract, the most space you give both of you to discover if you’re a good fit, modify terms, or spell out possibilities that may increase the time, cost, or change deliverables.  That is why I cannot stress enough the importance of having all agreements and expectations in writing.  No matter how carefully you assess a potential client and every foreseeable contributing factor, there will be times you find yourself working with someone who is not a good fit.  When this happens you have 3 options: complete the project as planned, modify the project, or cancel the project. (more…)

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The Antithesis of Your Perfect Client – Part 1

ideal client worksheet

 

I am greatly enjoying writing the current series on Self Care for the Creative Entrepreneur.  The resulting conversations that I have had with many readers around the world online and in person have enlightened and challenged me in my own journey in so many ways!  I am finding that this is one of those topics where the more time I spend, the more ideas and discussion there are to be explored.  I’ve decided to make it an ongoing series punctuated with other topics of creative entrepreneurship.  Currently on my desktop I have a document with 94 potential blog posts related to being a creative entrepreneur and creative business.   Every time I have a conversation with a client or think about a particular business success or struggle I feel like I add another topic to my list.  Now to just find the time to write about them all!

The Topic At Hand

Clients.  I’ve heard the topic discussed in hushed reverent tones, within paragraphs discussing hopeful dreams, desperate adventures, and sometimes even as a swear word! (more…)

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What is Self Care?: Stop Surviving, Start Thriving – Part 1

What is self care?  Stop surviving, start thriving

After blogging about my last few months of resting and recuperating following a procedure on my spine, I have been amazed by the feedback I have received.  It seems that this topic of self care is one that strikes a deep chord in many of us and goes much deeper than just remembering to take enough down time to recharge our physical batteries.  It’s about caring for our body, soul, and spirit.  At its core, self care is the commitment to value ourselves.

What does that look like as a creative entrepreneur?  If I look at the sphere of successful businesses around me, often it seems like being a driven workaholic is celebrated; sacrificing yourself, your family, and community are a given.  The mindset that if you are not working like a mad person from early to late you are not a ‘real’ entrepreneur.

For years I bought in to this mindset hook, line, and sinker.  Quality time with my husband looked like us working late into the night side by side on our laptops.  Dates revolved around business discussions.  Clients got used to emailing me at 9 pm at night, expecting a response… the same day.  I remember several days into vacation (I used that term loosely back then!)  I was sitting in my car sending files to the printer for a client before leaving on a cruise.  I believed my clients wouldn’t survive if I wasn’t constantly at their beck and call.  Consequently because I lived that way I shouldn’t have been surprised that they believed the same thing!  I survived on caffeine and felt constantly exhausted and wondered why I was overwhelmed as my business grew.

When I caught myself prepping my resume with the intent of getting a job working for someone else the week after logging my highest income generating month in business I knew that something was seriously wrong.  Shouldn’t I be excited that my hard work was paying off?  I was burning out…correction…I was burnt out.

What is Self Care?

Self care is:

  1. Recognizing that you have a need.
  2. Discovering what that need is.
  3. Taking responsibility for making sure that need is met. 

(more…)

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3 Steps For Setting (and Completing) Goals in your Creative Business – Part 2

3stepstosettinggoalspart2

Yesterday we talked about the first step in setting and completing goals as a creative entrepreneur – scheduling time, brainstorming, and making a list – if you haven’t read it yet you can find the post here!  The next step?  Organize!  If you’d like to work through the post with today’s worksheet you can find it here.

ORGANIZE

1. Prioritize objectives

 

Start organizing and prioritizing your list by coming back to your overarching business goals and which items on your list will aid you in reaching those.  Think of your objectives as the concrete steps you are taking to reach your goals.  What order should they be in?  Do they build on each other?   If you aren’t sure where to start, step back from your list and look for categories you can put the objectives in and then prioritize within those categories.  An example category as you’re prioritizing goals in marketing your business could be ‘Social Media’ and within that would be all of your items that pertain to social media such as creating a Twitter account, how often you’re going to post on Pinterest, or your Instagram hashtags. (more…)

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3 Steps For Setting (and Completing) Goals in Your Creative Business – Part 1

Setting and completing business goals for creatives

One of the topics that comes up over and over again as I talk with other business owners is that they have big dreams but don’t necessarily know how to achieve them, or are overwhelmed with what action to take first.  Many are amazing at their craft but have no idea how to run the business side of marketing, developing a brand, accounting, or organization.  Have you ever caught yourself thinking any of the statements below?

  • I want to feel like I own my work instead of my work owning me.
  • I want to quit my current job and be a full-time _________.
  • How do I start my own business?
  • Maybe this will be the year my business explodes in growth and I can finally buy _______!
  • I would love to have the type of business that ____ (insert the name of your favorite business owner) has!
  • Where do I start in getting clients?
  • How do I keep the clients I have?
  • Why do I feel like I get stuck in so much office busywork and never quite have time to get everything done and on to what I really want to do?

(more…)

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The creative entrepreneur's guide to marketing, design, branding, and business development