I wish I could tell you ‘yes’. If cash was being handed out based only on actual creative skill, there’d be a lot more talented and hard-working creatives earning the income they deserve.
If being great at your craft isn’t enough to land you the high-paying clients, what else are you supposed to do?
This is where it pays to have some business knowledge stored in your brain. There are steps you need to take to set yourself up for success; steps that have nothing to do with your skills as a creative.
Here are 5 reasons why you need specific and clever business processes.
Good processes instill confidence
First of all, let’s be clear about what I’m actually talking about here. When I said the ‘client process’, I’m talking about everything you do after they’ve contacted you for some info about your services.
Let’s paint a picture for a moment. Someone sends a message to your social media page, asking for your prices. What do you do now? Do you reply with a standard hourly rate? Do you schedule a Zoom meeting to discuss? Do you hyperventilate and call your mum for advice? Trust me when I say that landing the client starts from this very moment.
There are sales techniques you can start to implement right from the beginning. Having clear, succinct, and professional business processes provides confidence that you can and will be true to your word. If luxury car salespeople scribbled info on post-it notes, prospective buyers would be far less likely to purchase. The same applies here.
The right business processes allow you to charge more
Believe it or not, there is a ton of psychology behind pricing (which you can learn about in my pricing course here). You may assume that companies tend to go for the cheapest quote, but believe me, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Where you price yourself helps to establish your place in the market. If you want to attract flaky and difficult clients with no money, make being the cheapest your competitive edge. However, clients looking for quality are more likely to believe that’s you if your prices reflect that.
I bet there are some everyday items that you buy based on price, and others you buy based on quality. If you’re buying ingredients for a fancy dinner, you’re probably leaning towards the brand name ones because you assume that the quality is higher. The same applies here.
Having professional, clear, and purposeful processes helps to justify the high price you quote. If you don’t, the client can’t help but question if you’re really worth the $$ you say you are.
It enables clear communication and eliminates confusion
I cannot stress enough how important clear communication is in business. When people are handing over their money for a service, they need to know exactly what they’re getting in return. On the flipside, effective communication allows you to set strong boundaries, terms, and conditions. At some stage, it’s likely you’ll need this to protect yourself against dodgy clients.
A clear and professional-looking service agreement (for example) can outline your terms and conditions, as well as everything that’s included in your fee. This can be anything from your set business hours to the number of revisions included in the quote. Having a client sign this before handing over their deposit can really save your butt down the track.
It sets you apart from your competition
There’s a good chance that this cashed-up, prospective client is getting quotes and information from your competitors as well as from you. While your work is no-doubt outstanding, theirs might be too.
Having a schmick and seamless process may be the key reason they take a second look at your proposal over someone else’s.
It keeps all the information organised and easily accessible
Once you land the job, there’ll no doubt be quite the ‘back-and-forth’ between you and the client. Once you get started on the project, you’ll find yourself needing to look back on your notes and communications. Having a set recipe that you follow for each job enables you to quickly find the notes and information as soon as you need to.