Destroying Disruptions, Part 2
#2 Teaching Your Clients
You identified & set up your boundaries on Day 12. Awesome! Now it's time to turn your clients into collaborators, instead of distraction-fueled creative kryptonite.
Now, you might think that teaching them about your boundaries simply involves telling them. Nope. Think of this step not so much as education but "Training Your Clients." Like a dog. Or a dolphin at Sea World. Here's a kipper… now don't call me! Good sea mammal!
Kippers aside, you teach your clients how to treat you, and what to expect from you.
If you jump and do a jig on demand every time they have a little brainwave, you've taught them to expect that kind of responsiveness forever. It's easier to train a new client; it's harder to train an existing one (but it can be done). This is a hard habit to disrupt, but you can do it!
For new clients, simply tell them about your boundaries up front. If they grumble and want you to be on call all the time, explain how it helps them.
You may want to put this in your contract or proposal as an FYI. People have a way of forgetting things, and it's always good to be able to point to a signed document as a reminder.
For existing clients, tell them you're working to be more efficient and you hope they'll help you. Then teach them about your new boundaries. (This works remarkably well! Rare is the client who doesn't want better work in the same amount of time.)
(If your clients truly need it, you can always add an emergency clause.)
Sample Client Conversation Starters
"The reason I do boundary x is to help you get the most for your money! The longer I can focus in one go, the faster & better I can deliver results for you. And the fewer times you'll get hit by my minimum billing increment."
"I love hearing from you [by phone]. But sometimes it's hard to get back into the work zone after we talk, and that's costing you money! Feel free to call me any time, but outside of x — y pm, just leave a message. I'll call you back or write you an email by z time/day."
"Let's try something new to cut down on miscommunication. We usually talk on the phone, but it's hard to document, and think about, what you're asking for, while also talking. if you'd write me an email with the details instead, I'll be able to do focus totally on what you need instead of trying to multitask."
As you can see, the key is to focus on what they get out of doing what you want. (That's the key to all persuasion!)
Now all you've got to do is stick to it!
When you break your own rules, you're communicating something very important to the client, so it's important to stick to 'em!
Step 3 is Assessing: ensuring you're stickin' to your rules, and that they're doing their job.
The best way to ensure you're guarding your time & energy is to track and bill for your time — all of your time, even those piddly little 10-minute changes. That can be annoying with most time tracking tools, which force you to track time their way.
Noko is designed to make tracking your time a pleasure. (And to help you analyze your productivity!)
At Noko Time Tracking, we believe that everyone wins when freelancers like you charge what they're really worth. So for Freelancember, we've lined up lots of great gifts to help you do it! Keep checking back.Feeling guilty for not tracking your time? Noko can help!