Dear fabulous creativepreneur, freelancer, or service-based business owner,
Does the prospect of talking with a client about money give you sweaty palms?
Have you ever ended up losing money -- or not getting paid at all -- because you were too afraid to push for payment?
Does your reasoning for not pushing said payment sound anything like the phrases below?
"I don't want to come off sounding demanding and harm my reputation." // "I'm afraid I'll look money-hungry." // "Well she IS a friend of mine." // "I really want to avoid starting a nasty fight." // "Maybe the check is in the mail and I'll get it next week." // "I have no idea what to even say!"
If so, I love you + let me buy you a latte.
You're not the only one, nor are you the "bad business owner" you fear that you are.
What you might be?
Even "sensitive." (And by the way? I'm claiming that word for all positive things, NOT the "ohhh you're just too sensitive, get over it" remarks that
not-nice non-sensitive people like to say.)
But lousy, incompetent, and all those other awful things?
No. Those words will not be uttered on my blog.
So let's talk, generous woman. How do people like you and I get clients to pay up without coming off as greedy + cold?
I just happen to have a few tips (plus 4 fill-in-the-blank client scripts!) for you:
Knowing how to delight your customers is a big deal, and something that really, truly, seriously intimidates a lot of new entrepreneurs + freelancers.
I know because when my freelance business in web and graphic design started getting serious (you know, I wasn't doing things for free-ish), the burden to make sure my clients liked me + my work was super heavy.
I felt -- and still feel -- that the entire key to my success in business was going to hinge on how my clients perceived me. And THAT would depend entirely on how well I could serve them.
This would have to be achieved not just by doing GOOD work (hellooo -- clearly a non-negotiable!), but by making sure their entire experience with me was pleasant, smooth and, well, utterly delightful.
I know back then I was hungry for any and all simple advice from people in a similar space as me on how to deliver this great customer experience , which is why I decided to pull together the collective brains of some impressive entrepreneurial women in this post today.
They have been incredibly generous to share the little, unassuming things they do that make a biiiig impact on their customer happiness, and I'm so SO excited to pass them on to you.
Here's what they had to share with me:
You're probably wondering how I came up with such a loopy topic.
Middle Ages? Business quotes? Wha?
All I can say is that I have a slight obsession with both subjects and decided the only fitting thing to do was to mash the two together and see what kind of mess I could create.
Tell me truthfully: do you ever think about monitoring your online reputation?
I know a lot of you probably hear me say that and think that sort of thing is for Fortune 500 companies, Angelina Jolie, and Presidential hopefuls.
And yes, you would be right.
But I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't tell you that you're also dead wrong.
That's because monitoring your reputation on the interwebs is not just for the already powerful, rich, and famous.
Please believe me when I tell you that if A) you exist in this world and B) hope to have any sort of successful public presence that brings in an income or other opportunities (I'm talking to you entrepreneurs, business owners, freelancers, bloggers, actors, artists, authors, models, executives, and those who have a career of any kind), you need to know what's being said about you on the internet.
What I'm going to share with you today is an easy, free way to start doing that using Google's alerts capability.
It's not a full-fledged, comprehensive option for catching everything that's said online, but it will get you started. I think you'll find it helpful, and (good news!) it's not going to require any real maintenance from you once you set it up.
(Though I would go back and tweak them every so often as you or your brand develops.)
Here's my step-by-step beginner's guide to monitoring your online reputation with Google Alerts:
When people first hear about Help A Reporter Out (HARO), they freak.
"You mean I can get quoted in The Huffington Post or CNN with no PR firm or marketing budget? Where has this BEEN all my life?!"
Shortly thereafter they usually embark on a binge emailing session, cranking out response after response to the dozens of journalists' queries landing in their inbox (in full -- yet deeply misguided -- expectation that by the next day they'll be #BreakingTheInternet along with Kim Kardashian).
But after about a month of this, a new reality sets in. And it sounds wayyy different than the first:
"Why are none of my responses being published? Why are reporters not contacting me?! Is this HARO thing a scam or what???"
The problem, of course, is not with Help A Reporter Out.
The problem is with the way people approach the reporters.
So with that, here are the top 5 reasons why people are not getting published on HARO.
Whip out your fanciest pen, my friends; it's time to take some PR 101 notes!