Are you shrinking your business to fit less than ideal clients who expect more design services for less money?
Are you reducing your design fees because you heard that someone else is doing it for less, and you are afraid if you don’t do it for “peanuts,” you won’t get the job?
Do you have cash flow problems because you are taking on big design jobs with small retainers, because you don’t know how to write the Letter of Agreement and ask for the money?
Have you ever been hired for a job with a reasonable and fair design fee, but let the client add to your scope of work without charging additional fees?
Is the problem that you don’t know what to say?
Or is the problem that you don’t know how to turn a request for design services into a Letter of Agreement that clearly states what you will provide to the client?
Or are so uncomfortable with asking to be paid more, you just do the additional work for nothing rather than discuss money with the client?
And then to top it off, you feel resentful and complain loudly about how cheap and demanding your clients are!
Or whine about how hard you are working and how you don’t have any money to show for it.
All of these scenarios are about personal boundaries.
Better said, these examples are about a lack of personal boundaries, and not about cheap clients.
Lack of personal boundaries, and believing that you can’t do anything about it, leaves you feeling poor, unhappy, overworked and dissatisfied.
Here are some simple steps you can take to help you establish and hold onto your personal boundaries so you are paid what you are worth.
Step #1 – Let go of the old belief that you must do whatever it takes to make your clients happy.
No matter what the cost is to yourself.
This might be a belief that you hold for your family but it is not appropriate to apply it to your business.
In business you need to define the scope of the job with the Client, and then do exactly what you agreed upon.
This is defined in a Letter of Agreement that clearly states what you are going to provide, and how much, and when you will be paid.
Big jobs have big deposits and a hefty payment schedule. Little jobs have smaller deposits and may be paid in two installments. Right from the start, it is important to define when payments are due so you are paid before you do the work.
Your Letter of Agreement should also state that if additional work is requested, the designer’s prevailing rate will be billed. You should be paid for all of the work that you do, period.
Step #2 – Learn about boundaries and money from successful people.
If you take advice from someone who is struggling to keep clients happy and can’t make ends meet, then chances are you will find yourself in the same situation.
If, on the other hand, you look to successful mentors who have proven that they know how to create respected
boundaries, and make and manage money in a design business, then you are more likely to rise to their level of happiness and success.
Clients respect and pay higher fees to designers who establish clear boundaries.
So next time your well-meaning designer friend tells you that you cannot charge that much, or that you have to jump to take Saturday morning appointments, take into account what their finances look like!
Step #3 – Stand your ground and don’t cave in. Present your offer in writing and then be quiet. Do not apologize, attempt to explain, or back down. Wait for your client to speak.
Remember, when you change your behavior expect to get some resistance. Clients are just checking in to see if you really mean it.
Establishing good boundaries around your time and services is the first step for moving your design business up-market to those good clients and great creative jobs.
If you want to learn how to set strong boundaries around your work, convert requests for design services into Letters of Agreement that sell the job, protect your time and get you paid what you are worth, and much more…
Attend Designing For Dollars 3.0 LIVE on April 3 and 4, 2014 where I will be teaching and training for two full days at the Sheraton Four Seasons, Greensboro, NC (just before High Point Market begins)
Reserve your seat here