Later this week we’ll be posting highlights from our latest Coffee Break conference call on Money Management last Thursday, but in the meantime…..I got this message from a client about lessons she’s learned in the past year and wanted to pass it along in case others are in a similar boat….
Thanks again for a great coffee break talk! I really connected with the part about choosing clients that can pay you and where to find them.
I was thinking back on my experience last year with the director of a museum in California. I followed all the right steps:
- I went to an event, introduced myself and got his card.
- I called him after to thank him for the event and offer my services.
- I sent him samples of my work.
- He called me for a meeting, which went beautifully.
- He asked me to create a proposal to design an online store
- I asked about a budget but couldn’t get a definite answer. I knew it would be low but pursued because I wanted to break in to this industry. And I like them. (this was my big mistake)
- They love my proposal. It’s so clear, full of ideas and exactly what they need. Only they can’t afford it.
- I reduce my fee about 20%, but it’s not low enough.
- They go with someone who volunteers their services at a dirt cheap rate.
- My contact says he’ll keep me in mind for small projects like postcards, which he can pay about $200 for.
Through recommendations and my own pursuit, last year I met a lot potential clients with too little money and very little or no experience working with design firms – there’s A LOT of them out there. And I’m done working for them. It’s not just because of the money, but my experience. I am capable of so much more than I get to do with a tiny project.
This year I’ve changed two of my mistakes. Now I ask about the money. And if it’s too low, I pass.
However, this hasn’t resolved the frustration of pursuing someone and then finding out they’re not a good fit. I know it’s part of the process and also a reflection of poor choices on my part. Even with research it’s not always clear who has good budgets and experience working with design firms. It seems like a numbers game.
The bottom line – if I want bigger paying clients with bigger projects, then I need a regular freelancer or staff to share the work load. I know this because I had this once before. The time I had a full time freelancer was my most profitable 2 years of biz. But since then I haven’t found a full time freelancer or enough regular high paying biz to support it. And so here I am.