weekend reading | 03.27.15

weekend reading | grab a cup of tea and check out these posts!

Friday… I’ve been looking forward to you all week. We’ve had a long week here as D has been sick, our air is 100% out again, and I’ve been bit by the “I don’t want to do anything but watch Hulu or read” bug the last few days. I’m hoping to just bite the bullet on what I’ve got to get done today and then get relaxed this weekend and ready to take on a new week!

Here are some fab posts I’ve found this week –

I know sometimes as freelancers, we feel like we can’t help but get the bad clients. Well, Erin wrote about how to stop working with bad clients this week.

I’ve been loooving me some Instagram these last few weeks, and if you are, too, Amber wrote a great post on creating a cohesive Instagram feed. I’m honored to have her mention my feed as well.

What two words do you think you should stop using in your emails? This post isn’t from this week, but I loved the idea of nixing “actually” and “but” from my email vocabulary.

Christy shared a few tips on how to fully recharge during your downtime. Looks like I’ll be putting these to work this weekend!

Regina is seriously always inspiring me by how much she’s doing, but this week took the cake. In less than one day – 12 hours to be exact, she worked on creating a mini course and documented how to do it along the way.

When it comes to the technical, law related terms we have to have on our websites, I can guarantee most of us get super confused and just give up. Instead of just letting it go, Kiffanie (such a cool name) wrote about how to write your terms of service for The Business Bar!

setting boundaries with clients

how to : set boundaries with clients

One thing that can be tough whether you’re just getting started with freelancing or if you’ve been doing it for a while already is setting boundaries with clients. You know, how they email you at midnight and expect a response? Or maybe you gave out your personal cell number and they text you every time they have a problem?

Setting boundaries with your clients is such an important part of running a successful freelance business, so here are some tips on how I set and maintain my boundaries.

Start off with them When you’re starting work with a new client, right away start with your boundaries in place. If you wait until you’re midway through a project and then stop emailing back on the weekend or after a certain time at night, they may feel something is wrong with the project or the relationship. For me, this means if I get an inquiry email on Friday or Saturday night, I’m not responding until Monday. It means keeping the expectations clear of when they will hear from me so later in the project they don’t expect me to be working or replying to emails late on the weekend.

Keep them clear You have to know what your own boundaries are to be able to keep them clear with clients, so make sure you know how you want to work. Once you know, make sure they’re clear to your clients. For me, this means keeping my office hours in my email signature so people know when I’m working, thus when they can safely expect an email response to me. It also means I clearly state on my contact pages that it might take me up to 48 hours to respond to their email. If you work in any unusual way (like – working Tuesday through Saturday, or only focusing on your business one day of the week), you should make that clear so that your clients know that it’s not that you’re just ignoring them.

Stick to your guns I do occasionally work later into the evening than 5PM; however, I will not work on the weekend or respond to emails after 5PM unless it’s urgent or that I missed a deadline. If your clients see that every now and then you’ll respond on the weekend, or you’ll be willing to work right this second on a project, they’ll begin to expect it. You really have to make sure you’re sticking to your boundaries, even if you know you’re working a little late or working on a quick turnaround. If you have a hard time sticking to the email boundary, try things like Right Inbox to schedule your email so that it’ll go out during your office hours!

Know the line you won’t cross Lastly, it’s important to know the line you won’t cross when it comes to boundaries. For me, this means letting client work invade personal space or into my social media. So, I never give out my cell number to clients. If they need to reach me, they email, and if it’s urgent, I let them know they can use “URGENT” in their subject line so that I get to it faster. This also means I won’t work through social media. If something’s going on, it’s so hard to respond on social media plus, it’s just not something I want to do. So, if it’s more than just a few quick words, I ask them to email me. Plain and simple.

Setting boundaries with anyone can be difficult, but clients even more so, since they’re paying you and you can sometimes feel like you owe them every second of your life. However, I’ve found that I maintain my sanity and my life outside of work by setting these boundaries and sticking to them with every client.

Do you have boundaries with your clients? What do they look like?

how do you want your business to look

Cass originally reached out to me in early February with interest of writing for y’all. She had so many great ideas, it was difficult to choose the best one for this post. I love Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map, though, and I love how Cass has incorporated it into business. I hope y’all find it just as intriguing and inspiring!

how do you want your business to look | guest post by Cass McCrory

As an entrepreneur you have literally limitless opportunities and options in front of you. From the types of clients you work with, to the work you do, to when you do it.  Everything is up for decision and that can feel empowering, liberating (especially if you’ve worked for “the man”) and 100% completely stop you dead in your tracks terrifying. Over-choice is the biggest trigger for lingering procrastination.

So how do you figure out how you want your business to look? 

Step One: Figure out how you want your life to feel.  If you haven’t already done so you need to head on over to Danielle Laporte and soak up what she’s preaching on Core Desired Feelings – buy this book, read, marinate and figure out what it is you want to FEEL. 

Step Two: Decide how those feelings get translated into your work. I recommend writing these answers out on a piece of paper. Answer these questions plugging in each of your Core Desired Feelings.

  • What type of work helps me feel ____________. Make a list of all the things you can do that makes you feel this way. Don’t limit yourself to what you can charge for at this point – just think about what you can OFFER. Value above dollars.

  • Working with <this person> helps me feel ________________.
    • What is it about this person?
    • Are those characteristics that are shared by a group of people that could use my services?  This is going to help you get to your ideal customer.
  • The time of day that I feel _________________ is perfect for working/living/playing.  There is a lot of hustle in owning your own business, anyone that says there isn’t is wrong HOWEVER there should also be a fair amount of choice in how you run your hustle.  This question will help you get to a place where you set a schedule and it can’t be all work, all the time.
  • What parts of my business takes me away from feeling __________. We’re going to identify areas that you either need to have serious structure around to get them done because you will avoid them and hopefully identify the first tasks that should be delegated to a growing team or outsourced.

Repeat for each of your Core Desired Feelings. 

Step Three: With your answers completed go on in there and highlight the things that you have in common across your Core Desired Feelings.  Pay special attention and try to answer these questions:

  • When is the best time for me to be doing certain functions of my business. For example when are you most creative, when are you most social, when are you most likely to crack under pressure?  Design your business and working time around YOUR clock.

  • Who is my ideal customer? Figuring this out is huge. Where do they live online?

  • What needs to get scheduled or delegated so it still gets done? Does the accounting tasks or the project planning fall by the way-side? Now you know that you need to firm guidelines (and maybe some accountability help) while you still need to do this and these tasks should be first up on your Outsource/Delegate list. 

Advice from someone that’s been doing this for ten years: Don’t think you need to set your schedule, identify your products, pin down your ideal customer for the next five years, or the next year, or even the next month.

You’re running your own business so it can evolve and meet your needs and fulfill your Core Desired Feelings.

Cass McCrory

About Cass McCrory

Cass McCrory is the creator of Subtraction Project, a program designed to provide actionable prompts via email subscription to people seeking lasting change from decluttering to getting their financial lives in order. Over 4,000 people have participated in the project. Cass is also the founder of Capra Strategy a boutique marketing strategy firm.

 

currently / 19

life lately / 19

We’ve been busy around here a little bit since the last personal post for y’all even though it seems like at this point nothing will be quite as big as adopting our little friend. She’s still doing well and is growing so quickly! It’s hard to believe we’ve already been with her over a month, but at the same time it feels like she’s always been with us.

Anyway – here’s some stuff that’s going on other than puppy related news!

+ We had D’s mom and one of his brothers staying with us since Friday afternoon, so we finally got around to doing a tiny bit more decorating. We ended up just doing our guest bathroom, and we did a fun little beach theme. We’re definitely done with that room, so maybe I’ll get around to some taking some photos to share soon!

+ We finally got our taxes done! I’m surprised to not be paying more than we are, but I’m really happy with who we got to help us. Big huge thanks to Vanessa for the accountant recommendation. If you’re still looking for tax help, let me know! I’d be happy to pass the guy’s name along. Plus, we’d both get $50 off of our total cost for him doing our taxes!

+ I’ve still been reading, and I did pick up the pace there for a little bit. I’m up to 20 / 30 books that I set out to read this year. I’m currently reading Anatomy of a Misfit, but it’s definitely not the right book for me. I’m looking forward to starting Wild and Scary Close hopefully this week or next! I’ve heard such great things about both books already.

+ Last and probably most exciting is that today is D’s birthday! He’s just about five months older than me, but he’s 24 now. As I mentioned above, we’ve had his mom and brother (who shares the same birthday with him) in since Friday, and we’ve been doing all sorts of stuff. Mostly eating out and loving on Zoey. It’s been nice to have family come visit and be able to show them around this new place we call home!

That’s about it around here for now. I’m staying fairly busy with work, and I’m eagerly awaiting the nice, sunny weather to come back around now that it’s cooled off and gotten rainy again.

What’s going on with y’all? I’d love to hear how y’all are doing and what you’re up to!

weekend reading | 03.20.15

weekend reading | grab a cup of tea and check out these posts!

I don’t have too much to say today since D and I are quickly preparing for his mom and one of his brothers to get in this afternoon. They’re coming to stay until Tuesday morning, since D and his brother’s birthday are on Monday. So, we’re cleaning, and making sure everything is ready when they get here.

Here are some great posts from this week for y’all:

Tara of Braid Creative touched on what dream customers can do for you. You know, other than being a dream to work with!

Nesha shared some really great tips on how to get clients from Facebook groups. I’ve gotten maybe one or two clients from them, so it’s definitely doable!

looove the bright mood I get from this moodboard by Katelyn. Seriously makes me excited for summer!

Feeling stuck on what to share on your blog? Lisa shared the ultimate blog post guide!

Last but not least, Jessica shared about Foto RX, which is something I’m definitely considering nabbing after seeing her awesome review of it!