Boss Responses

#24: How to Identify and Address Red Flags with Amy Ragland

December 21, 2023 Treasa Edmond Episode 24
#24: How to Identify and Address Red Flags with Amy Ragland
Boss Responses
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Boss Responses
#24: How to Identify and Address Red Flags with Amy Ragland
Dec 21, 2023 Episode 24
Treasa Edmond

In this episode of the Boss Responses Podcast, host Treasa Edmond and guest co-host Amy Ragland discuss the red flags to watch out for while interacting with potential clients. They stress  the importance of following your gut instinct when it comes to dealing with suspect clients or situations. The discussion emphasizes the need to define an ideal client profile, and to guide clients on matters concerning budget setting and project scope, enhancing the client-provider relationship.

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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Amy Ragland started freelancing in 2002, when digital marketing wasn’t a thing yet. She started her freelance journey writing copy and content for old-school hard copy materials like brochures, magazines and physical newsletters. Over the next 15 years, she freelanced part-time on the side while working and raising her young daughters. She decided to make the jump to full-time freelance in 2017 and hasn’t looked back. Today, she writes content and copy for the financial services industry, crafting content for wealth management firms, banks and WealthTech providers through her company, Luminary Financial Content LLC.
Subscribe to the How I Freelance Newsletter
Buy your copy of the 2024 Planning Guide for Freelancers, Coaches & Consultants
Connect  with Amy on LinkedIn
Find Amy on Threads

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

In this episode of the Boss Responses Podcast, host Treasa Edmond and guest co-host Amy Ragland discuss the red flags to watch out for while interacting with potential clients. They stress  the importance of following your gut instinct when it comes to dealing with suspect clients or situations. The discussion emphasizes the need to define an ideal client profile, and to guide clients on matters concerning budget setting and project scope, enhancing the client-provider relationship.

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

Amy Ragland started freelancing in 2002, when digital marketing wasn’t a thing yet. She started her freelance journey writing copy and content for old-school hard copy materials like brochures, magazines and physical newsletters. Over the next 15 years, she freelanced part-time on the side while working and raising her young daughters. She decided to make the jump to full-time freelance in 2017 and hasn’t looked back. Today, she writes content and copy for the financial services industry, crafting content for wealth management firms, banks and WealthTech providers through her company, Luminary Financial Content LLC.
Subscribe to the How I Freelance Newsletter
Buy your copy of the 2024 Planning Guide for Freelancers, Coaches & Consultants
Connect  with Amy on LinkedIn
Find Amy on Threads

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 and day four with our guest co-host of the week, Amy Ragland.

Treasa Edmond:

Today we are talking about red flags. When you start working with a new client or you're talking to a potential client, how many red flags are too many red flags before you need to pass on the opportunity? Let's jump right into the question. If you're a freelancer, business owner or anyone who deals with clients, you're in the right place. I'm your host, Treasa 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. We are here for day four with Amy Ragland, and Amy I'm going to ask you the question today. Awesome, and this one's interesting. So it says how many red flags are too many? I had a knee-jerk reaction with this one, but it gets more interesting.

Treasa Edmond:

I'm a naturally suspicious person and I recognize that, so I'm constantly second guessing my gut instincts. I've turned down five potential clients in the last couple of months for what I consider red flags and a few of my freelancer friends saying I'm overreacting. Here are a few of the things I'm basing my decisions on. The client doesn't have a set budget for the project. They can't answer any questions about exactly what they want. Their budget seems too big. They want to pay via direct deposit I don't feel comfortable giving my bank information to strangers or they asked for the W-9 before the project is completed, which, once again, all of my personal information. Maybe I'm just getting all of the scammers, but I don't think I'm wrong here.

Amy Ragland:

So the first thing I want to say is that I will never disparage somebody for going with their gut instinct, because I know that the times that I have not followed my gut instinct are the times that I regret.

Amy Ragland:

I have never regretted following it. So there's that. However, I think that this freelancer has some valid concerns. I think a few of them may need to be addressed with a little bit more information and education. For example, asking for a W-9, or you can use, instead of using your social security number on a W-9, if you're worried about that, you can apply for an employer identification number to use Exactly.

Amy Ragland:

So there are some workarounds here that I think that, with a little bit more knowledge and a little bit more information, may alleviate some of their concerns. One of them, for instance, was the direct deposit issue that they didn't want to give out their banking information. That's fine. Just know that the other options also have pros and cons. If they wanted to go with a payment processor instead, where they just give out, they're still going to have to give out their banking information to move the funds over from a payment processor like a PayPal or a Striper or something, and they're going to pay fees, but then they only give it out to one company instead of multiple. What about you? What do you think about this question?

Treasa Edmond:

With that one, especially with the bank information. You can go to your bank and they can give you kind of anonymous information that you can use for that. So banks have ways. If talk to your bank, say, hey, I have a client wanting to pay me be of a direct deposit. I do not want to send them a voided check, I don't want to give my account information, what are my options? And they will tell you all of them what the fees are for each of them and then you can make a decision on that. And I agree Most of these.

Treasa Edmond:

The EIN number I did that before I started. I'm really surprised at how many people don't know that exists. I was never going to send my social security number to clients because I just didn't want to. I'm a little suspicious too. The five potential clients in the last couple of months I consider that a red flag because something's happening there. You're either not attracting the right clients or your qualifications for your clients are not nailed down enough so that you don't have to deal with these red flags. I agree with you.

Treasa Edmond:

I've had a couple of scammy things where the budget was way too high. That's a legitimate thing. But just because a client has a large budget doesn't mean they're a scammer, because I've had a couple of clients who have done me a major service and said your proposal is not for enough money for what we're asking. We'd really like you to charge at least this much. If you get that kind of a client, it's amazing. Their budget isn't based on your work, it's based on the value of your work to them, and that's something you need to look at.

Treasa Edmond:

Not knowing what they want that's common. Yes, if you start working with larger corporations, sometimes they know a little bit too much about what they want. So there's multiple sides to this coin. I don't even need to call it a coin. It's more like one of those gaming dice with the 20 sides. But yeah, a lot of our job is to be the expert and guide our clients. Sometimes that's guiding them on setting the right budget, sometimes that's guiding them on figuring out what they want, and a lot of that's asking questions why do you want to do this project? What do you want it to accomplish? What does a successful project look like to you? If you ask those probing questions, one, the next time you work with them, they're going to come to you with those questions already answered, but guiding them through that process. That makes you a better freelancer and it makes your clients a better client. Absolutely.

Amy Ragland:

And I think sometimes two clients don't know what they want until they see what they don't want, right, and I think if we can bring suggestions or ideas to them without giving away the farm and without giving away a bunch of time and ideas without getting paid for it, but I think if we can help them articulate what it is that they want, that sets a great tone for the relationship.

Amy Ragland:

And I see, I think it's important to set boundaries with potential clients from the get-go, because that sets the tone for the whole relationship, but make sure that those boundaries aren't turning into walls. I live by the belief that my job is to make it very easy for my clients to work with me, and so a lot of my policies and a lot of the way I work is based on that is my whole philosophy of I want to make it easy for you to give me your money. That is my whole philosophy. And so if you're paying attention to red flags, fantastic, but if you're seeing red flags everywhere you look, that's a problem. That's you putting up walls to making it easy to work with you.

Treasa Edmond:

Yeah, absolutely. And one of the things as my career progressed in my business, as my business grew, as I got better clients because you do gradually. If you're looking for them, the more a client pays you, the less problems you're going to have with them. It's so true. I don't know why this is true, and for any clients listening to this, consider this If they are willing to pay you high dollar money for a high value project, they are going to trust you to deliver that. If you don't, they'll just never work with you again, which is a whole different problem.

Treasa Edmond:

But look at who your clients are. Look at who you're attracting. If you're just starting out, then set down and figure out who your ideal client is. You're a marketer of some kind. Even if you're a designer, you're doing marketing. So look at what you want to attract and then spend some time figuring out how to attract that person or that company and then narrow down your red flags, say. These are the three things that will keep me from working with a client. Like Amy said at the beginning, don't ignore your gut instinct. If a client looks too good to be true, the only bad thing that's going to come from passing on them is you're going to have to find another client.

Amy Ragland:

Absolutely. I think my gut instinct too sometimes tells me if I'm going to actually like working with this person, if I'm a good fit, personality wise, if I'm a good fit, my writing style, all of those things play into whether or not I choose to work with a client. And that's a very important thing. And I think that is also something that comes with experience, because I know when I first started out I was like oh, I can make it work, I can overcome these initial internal objections. And as I've gotten older and I've gotten more experienced and I've gotten a little bit wiser, I've come to learn that my gut instinct is usually right on. So I try to listen to it as much as I can.

Treasa Edmond:

So we hope that was helpful. It looks like you have work to do to figure out where you want your business to go and what red flags really matter. But yeah, do not undermine your gut instinct and we wish you all the best. All right, come back tomorrow for day five, where we learn more about Amy, her business and what she's doing for people.

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