This channel is for questions and thoughts related to working with clients. Whether it's a question about communication, proposals, or anything else – if it related to working with clients, it probably goes here.

This space is intended to be free-flowing, so share away! No need to overthink.
Do you invoice your clients and the beginning of your term with them or after. Before you provide service or after?
I'm another fan of 50% up front and balance on delivery.
It depends. I have a minimum initial fee. In excess of that, I typically do 50% down and 50% upon completion. But I've done longer/larger projects where the payments were made monthly (with a deposit and a chunk due upon completion).
On the first day of the engagement (kick-off date), we invoice and then automatically renew clients on retainer every calendar month on the same day. Simple and automated so we don't have to worry about it.Β 

For clients that aren't on retainers, depending on how they came in and the size of the work we may only invoice at the end/after the work has been completed and delivered (however, this is if and only if there is a signed contract to prove that they authorized the work).Β 

Calendar/scheduling question!


Are there any tools that essentially force your clients to book 3 upcoming appointments instead of just 1?

Say they grab one-time slot, then it says, "book 2 more" or something like that.


I'm doing a 3-month project with a client, but one of the stipulations is that they book their monthly meetings ahead of time.

Heya again, Leydis,Β 

I can't think of anything that does this out of the box, but I could code something using the Calendly API that would do exactly that within a few hours.Β 
I'm not familiar with this either; I do a lot of multi-bookings with clients, and I just confirm the dates/times with them on the first call and send calendar invites. If we have to change them, we reconnect and change them!
How do you follow up on ignored emails when doing cold outreach? I couldn't find any good examples online. Care to share your follow-up email?
I think it depends on what your initial email looks like – I reallyΒ tryΒ not to do much cold outreach to potential clients at all, I try to build from warm relationships. I do a lot of cold outreach for podcast guests, though, and I can share more about that strategy.
Adem Hodzic replied
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What Do You Think About Publishing Your Project Fees?Β 

What do you think about publishing your project fees? I'm of two minds. On the one hand, I think publishing a price range for a specific service manages prospective clients' expectations, weeds out those who are not willing or able to pay your project fees, and makes the whole thing a little more transparent. On the other hand, I've often been told that you should never publish your fees. But why not? What are the downsides to providing prospective clients with a range? Doesn't every prospective client want to know how much it will cost?

I'd love your thoughts on this one!
I also agree withΒ Josh Robbs that it makes sense to publish a price for a productized service. And while many of the services I offer have a rather narrow range, the cost of developing a content marketing strategy varies widely, so I'd either need to post a big range or nothing. I am intrigued byΒ Jay Clouse's idea of publishing a minimum price, perhaps for each of my larger service areas (content marketing strategy, content writing, and developmental editing). I'll keep noodling this around a bit! I'd love to hear from others, especially those who do publish minimum prices or price ranges for non-productized services.
In my experience, the best clients I had are the ones that don't really care about my rates and want to hire me because of the value and experience I provide.Β 

Your rate also depends on the complexity of the project so there's no 'one-size fits all' solution.

You should focus on showcasing your value rather than your rate.


Boom!

The best clients are the ones that don't really care about my rates.

That just smacked me right over the head! I put together a list of ranges for my services so that I can respond with confidence to a client's question about cost on an exploratory call. But Adem Hodzic's statement above is the best reason I've heard for not publishing my rates.

Focus on showcasing your value.

This is perfect. Thank you, Adem!Β 
Adem Hodzic replied
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How do you find clients on Linkedin? For me is like hard homework.
I have not yet converted one of my connections on LinkedIn to a client, but I have connected with a lot of prospective clients and I am actively building those relationships. For me, the key has been taking those relationships offline. When someone asks to connect with me, or when I initiate the connection, I will often ask them if they would like to schedule a one-to-one call to get to know each other better. It is NOT a sales call. It really is just a 30-minute call so I can learn more about what they do and they can learn about me. It helps me to deepen my network. Several people have told me that they'd like to work with me but are not in the financial position to do so. I let them know that I appreciate their position and would be happy to schedule another call to chat about how we might be able to work together in the future. These follow-up calls deepen the relationship even further. Folks are signing up for my email newsletter, commenting on LinkedIn posts, and staying engaged. So, we'll see!
I really think of LinkedIn as a top-of-the-funnel spot more than anything else. When I meet someone new, I add them to LinkedIn.

Then, I create my own content on that platform and continue to stay in their line of sight. If I'm top of mind, I just may get a project opportunity or referral.

I think it's tough to scout and convert someone into a client from LinkedIn quickly – toΒ Erica Holthausen's point, it's easier to start and build relationships there coming from a place of NOT selling them.
How do you think about pricing your work?
Estimated time X base rate + some padding (because I can't estimate worth a damn) = minimum

But I try to follow value-based pricing principles.
Jay Clouse replied
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I've never quite gotten the hang of value-based pricing. All of my estimates include a set project fee. I rely on three methods:Β 

  1. The AWAI publishes an annual pricing guide with ranges for 75 different types of writing projects. I try to stay within those ranges (though I sometimes think the prices are too high or too low.
  2. I also estimate the time and an hourly rate to come up with a starting point. Like Josh Robbs, I may add a bit because my estimating skills are a work in progress. I also add a pain-in-the-ass tax for prospective clients who are especially challenging.
  3. Gut instinct. Very scientific, I know.Β