Stepping up and showing out
The used car from the local shop. It’s nice. It’s all cleaned up on the outside, the inside too. The engine has been fixed up a little, oil has been changed. It’s ready for you. It’s at a special limited time low price. Once you get the car it’ll get you where you need to go.
Then. The problems. The check oil light comes on. No biggie, that’s an inexpensive easy fix. The tire light comes on. Same, no biggie. The air doesn’t blast as cold as you like, ehhh that’s okay. The check engine light flickers on and off. That’s a problem. Car almost stalls at a red light maybe once a year. But you get to your destination safely.
So in the end it does work out. But the journey was a little bumpy.
This was how I was running my business.
My wife used to have a quote. When we started dating after college she’d quickly let me know that certain things people would do (people usually being me) weren’t up to par and say “thats not okay.”
I’d take on projects at a discount. I’d start strong. I’d over communicate. I’d go above and beyond staying ahead of schedule. Then boom! I’d lose interest, get a little stressed out or accept a new project and my progress would dip. I’d send emails a bit slower. I’d do what was needed but would discontinue going above and beyond. This was not okay.
I found out why.
- I wasn’t standing firm
- I offered discounts on top of discounts
- I was accepting projects just to pay bills
These are recipes for disaster. I’ve learned my lesson.
- Discover the product, the service, the specialty
- Pinpoint the customer, the client or audience
- Get the audience’s attention // peak their interest
- Select the price (don’t budge)
- Deliver incredible service
That’s it. Repeat the process.
Agreeing to do work I wasn’t really interested in or work I enjoyed at a price that was less than what I deserved quickly put me in a bad space. It’s cool to collect on an invoice and to add to the client list. But not cool to do good work with good timing. It is a must do great work ahead of schedule. That’s the winning formula.
The Good News
I have learned from my mistakes. Now I choose to work on projects I enjoy at rates that I deserve. If I get pushback on the rate, I respectfully decline the work, refer that client to a friend and keep working on my own products until a new or existing client has something for me to work on and agrees to my terms so I can deliver them something magical.
The Not So Good News
The sounds awesome. But it may not be that easy. Declining the paper is hard. Telling people no can be hard. But our success is measured by how many uncomfortable conversations we are willing to have.
I drafted an email detailing that I have a new set of business practices and that I have put in the time to learn new ways to solve both old and new problems. Noting that these advances will yield quicker, more accurate results for my customers and because of that, respectfully there is a price increase that has very little to no wiggle room.
That email is ready to go for the customers that want all of the discounts with all of the revisions. They are hurting business.
These new practices — delivering quality work for the price it deserves, creating a marvelous memorable experience now has me operating like a new Benz or BMW. These points have elevated my process far beyond the local used car to a luxury foreign automobile as it relates to quality in service.
Call to action
Use some of these tactics in your business. Let me know how it goes for you on Twitter @ejordanill
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I’m Eric Jordan but go by EJordanill (Eric Jordan Illustration) I’m a designer and consultant. My aim is to share relevant apps and resources to help the entrepreneur “Fire Their Designer” and get it done themselves. Check out my ebook here www.fireyourdesigner.co
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