Boss Responses

#19: How to Navigate Last-Minute Client Demands with Leslie Lang

December 14, 2023 Treasa Edmond Episode 19
#19: How to Navigate Last-Minute Client Demands with Leslie Lang
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Boss Responses
#19: How to Navigate Last-Minute Client Demands with Leslie Lang
Dec 14, 2023 Episode 19
Treasa Edmond

Ever been stuck with last-minute client demands and unreasonable requests? We have too! Join host Treasa Edmond and guest co-host Leslie Lang as they navigate the choppy waters of setting boundaries and maintaining quality work while dealing with last-minute work requests. They discuss how clear project timelines, rush fees for urgent tasks, and a well-thought-out communication plan can help create successful client relationships.

About the Hosts

Treasa Edmond is a content strategist and consultant, best-selling ghostwriter, and podcast host. On Boss Responses, Treasa and her weekly guest hosts explore how freelancers and small business owners can navigate the sometimes tricky path of client management and communication. She also teaches content professionals and small businesses how to create SEO-optimized content strategies so they can grow their businesses by connecting with their audiences.
Connect with Treasa on LinkedIn
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Leslie Lang is a former journalist turned freelance B2B content marketing writer and content strategist. She specializes in writing about technology and Higher Ed and K-12. Leslie's work includes white papers, ebooks, case studies, ghostwritten articles, op-ed pieces, blog posts, and infographics for marketing agencies and clients such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Dropbox, Adobe, Salesforce, and Verizon. Interested in Hawaii? Check out Leslie's booksMauna Kea: A Guide to Hawai‘i’s Sacred Mountain, Exploring Historic Hilo, and What Would Our Kūpuna Do?
Check out Leslie’s YouTube channel Midlife Dialogues, where she interviews people doing interesting things in midlife.

Support the Show.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to listen to Boss Responses. Have a question you'd like answered? Send it to info@bossresponses.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever been stuck with last-minute client demands and unreasonable requests? We have too! Join host Treasa Edmond and guest co-host Leslie Lang as they navigate the choppy waters of setting boundaries and maintaining quality work while dealing with last-minute work requests. They discuss how clear project timelines, rush fees for urgent tasks, and a well-thought-out communication plan can help create successful client relationships.

About the Hosts

Treasa Edmond is a content strategist and consultant, best-selling ghostwriter, and podcast host. On Boss Responses, Treasa and her weekly guest hosts explore how freelancers and small business owners can navigate the sometimes tricky path of client management and communication. She also teaches content professionals and small businesses how to create SEO-optimized content strategies so they can grow their businesses by connecting with their audiences.
Connect with Treasa on LinkedIn
Follow Boss Responses on Instagram

Leslie Lang is a former journalist turned freelance B2B content marketing writer and content strategist. She specializes in writing about technology and Higher Ed and K-12. Leslie's work includes white papers, ebooks, case studies, ghostwritten articles, op-ed pieces, blog posts, and infographics for marketing agencies and clients such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Dropbox, Adobe, Salesforce, and Verizon. Interested in Hawaii? Check out Leslie's booksMauna Kea: A Guide to Hawai‘i’s Sacred Mountain, Exploring Historic Hilo, and What Would Our Kūpuna Do?
Check out Leslie’s YouTube channel Midlife Dialogues, where she interviews people doing interesting things in midlife.

Support the Show.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to listen to Boss Responses. Have a question you'd like answered? Send it to info@bossresponses.com

Treasa Edmond:

Welcome back to the Boss Responses podcast. Today is our last question with guest co-host Leslie Lang. I've really enjoyed her wisdom and guidance this week and I hope you have as well. Today we're talking about what you do about that client who's always last minute. I have a rush project. I need this done tomorrow. I need these changes made by tomorrow. All of those unreasonable requests Do you do them? Do you charge more? Let's go ahead and jump into today's question and see what Leslie's response is.

Treasa Edmond:

If you're a freelancer, business owner or anyone who deals with clients, you're in the right place. I'm your host, teresa Edmond. I've been dealing with clients and running my business for nearly two decades and in that time I've dealt with my share of doubt, imposter syndrome and not knowing what to say when a client asks a question. I wasn't ready for. I created this podcast to empower you with the Boss Responses you need to grow your business. Each week, my guest co-host and I will bring you five episodes packed with practical insights. Monday through Thursday, we answer your questions, and Fridays we dive deep to explore how our co-host embraced their role as the Boss of their business. Welcome to Boss Responses, leslie. What is the question for today?

Leslie Lang:

One of my clients, who is otherwise great to work with, consistently asks for rush projects without giving me adequate time to deliver quality work. Design takes time and I'm not sure she realizes how much. How can I set clear expectations about project timelines and avoid compromising the project?

Treasa Edmond:

This is a great question for anyone in any field. You set these expectations before you ever start the project. It needs to be done in a statement of work, in your initial email, in your contract. However, you do the first part of your business. You need to have a very clear project timeline and you need to have deadlines for both parties. So if they are not getting you what you need and then you have to turn it around really quickly, that's a problem. So make sure those are in there. But if they're asking you for rush projects, you need to be charging for rush projects. When you charge someone 50% more or 100% more for a project, all of a sudden it's not really a rush anymore. They can wait an extra week for that design. So make sure that is figured into it. If they're asking you to do something that isn't really feasible in a specific amount of time without you giving up the rest of your life, then you need to be charging rush fees, especially if it's over a weekend. What do you do, Leslie?

Leslie Lang:

Well, this is just making me think. I have a client right now, a great client. I love working with them. They pay just fine and they're wonderful to work with, but they have a habit of assigning something. A lot of the work is done along the way, with really detailed outlines and interview questions and such, but then the email happens. They always want to get me the transcript by the end of the day, friday, and they want to do Monday. It's just there, I know.

Leslie Lang:

And the first time I saw that I thought, and I just immediately I don't generally work over the weekend, so that doesn't work for me. Can we push that back a little bit? And so every time it comes to me and then I push back and then they extend. I don't know why we have to play that, but it's fine because they understand and they do it. I'm at this point in my career, as we all should be, where I'm working the hours that I work and I don't want to, there's no reason that has to be done over the weekend, and so you need to roll of all of these things.

Leslie Lang:

like you said from the beginning, look at the timeline, figure out what's reasonable and know that they've got time built in on there, and almost always, because it's got to go through several steps on there and just bring it up. But bring it up first, don't start working on it yet, and come to some sort of agreement that makes sense.

Treasa Edmond:

And for design work, because you have an idea of how long it takes you to do a specific project. Let them know this project will take this many business working hours. I work Monday through Friday. Anything outside of that is considered rush time or time and a half, and then I'd say that for you too, leslie. Just say, even for the smallest writing project I take, anything less than 48 working hours is a rush fee. Actually, on mine it's anything less than three days. So anything less than three business days is a rush fee for me, and that's for tiny things like a social media post, because those are sometimes harder than the big thing. But yeah, I reached a point long ago where how do I say it? Your lack of preparation does not constitute an emergency on my part.

Leslie Lang:

I agree completely. Yeah, there are projects that I do charge rush fees. For this one I don't, and there's reasons for that. But what you said is interesting when you do charge a rush fee, it either isn't a rush anymore or they pay it, and that's great too, because it's a lot more money. So I agree with that completely.

Treasa Edmond:

And I learned a long time ago. I did this out of frustration. For the first time I had a client that wanted me to do something and I had plans. I have no life, so when I do have plans it's a thing I don't want to lose out on those. And they were going to cause me to miss my plans and I'm like, so how much money would it take for that to be okay? And I put a pretty painful amount out there and they're like, oh no, no, we can wait, wait until the following week. And I'm like there we go. And then the next time it came up and that happened, they actually did need it because they had not planned and it was an urgent situation. And they paid the money and I was fine with it. I just moved my plans and then that fee paid for all of them and a little bit more, so that's nice.

Leslie Lang:

But yeah, that's a great point. That's a great point. There's always a number where I won't feel resentful having to work on this over the weekend or when I was going to do something else. So really be honest with yourself what that number is and throw it out there and see what happens.

Treasa Edmond:

Or even if you are still resentful, you're going to be the happy resentful instead of the bitter resentful. Just never cross into bitter land. That's my thing.

Leslie Lang:

I'm talking about the number that is not resentful anymore.

Treasa Edmond:

If you really want to pay me $5,000 to do this $200 project, I've got it. I'm going to do it right now. But yeah, so for the person who asked the question, make sure that you know how long it takes to do certain types of projects and then make sure you include that in your statement of work and your initial discussion. I actually will bring that up on bigger projects, especially ghostwriting books, because those take time and a lot of people are like well, you can have it back to me next week. No, no, no. So I will actually, in the discovery call, say that's great Projects like this usually take, and then I'll put the timeframe out there and if I'll have had their budget and I'll let them know that, I'll send a proposal for the final cost, although for design work you might have set costs.

Treasa Edmond:

So you can just say this type of project takes two weeks and here is the fee.

Treasa Edmond:

Or you can say this type of project takes two weeks, I'll send your proposal with the fee in it, and then you can offer extra things like branding and fun stuff like that as well. But, yeah, always do it as soon as you can in the conversation so that you just don't have to deal with it after the fact. And then, if they come back to you and say I really need that tomorrow, but the deadline isn't for two weeks, you can say well, according to our original statement of work or our original scope of work, it wouldn't be due until this date and you'd signed off on that. I'm willing to look at accelerating it, but I cannot do it by tomorrow. That doesn't allow enough time to do the project and deliver quality work, which I want to give every client. And then you can actually just move forward and bargain with them to see what does work for both of you and then, if necessary, charge them an extra fee for accelerating the project. Yep, so.

Treasa Edmond:

I agree completely All right, and tomorrow we talk all about Leslie, so join us as we learn about her, her business and how she handles her clients.

Clear Project Timelines and Rush Fees
Discussion on Project Timelines and Fees

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