Boss Responses

#35: From Chemist to Content Specialist—Eagranie Yuh’s Business Journey

May 31, 2024 Treasa Edmond
#35: From Chemist to Content Specialist—Eagranie Yuh’s Business Journey
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Boss Responses
#35: From Chemist to Content Specialist—Eagranie Yuh’s Business Journey
May 31, 2024
Treasa Edmond

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In this episode of the Boss Responses Podcast, host Treasa Edmond interviews special guest co-host Eagranie Yuh, a white paper specialist and podcast consultant. They delve into Eagranie's background as a chemist, journalist, and marketer, and discuss her journey towards becoming a business owner. Eagranie explores the challenges and strategies involved in running a business, managing client expectations, and setting processes and systems in place for better workflow. She also shares insights on choosing the right clients, handling difficult client relationships, and the importance of having honest, upfront conversations in business. This one is more than a podcast episode, it's a masterclass in how to run a freelancing business the Boss Responses way.

Eagranie Yuh helps marketers in risk, insurance, and HR build brand authority with white papers and podcasts. She’s an award-winning writer and journalist, and she’s written for publications like The Washington Post, The South China Morning Post and Saveur. Her work has been anthologized in Best Food Writing and has received several M.F.K. Fisher Awards. Prior to starting her own consultancy, Eagranie was the editorial director in a marketing communications agency, where she helped Fortune 500 companies conceptualize, develop and implement content marketing programs.

Connect with Eagranie on LinkedIn.

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

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode of the Boss Responses Podcast, host Treasa Edmond interviews special guest co-host Eagranie Yuh, a white paper specialist and podcast consultant. They delve into Eagranie's background as a chemist, journalist, and marketer, and discuss her journey towards becoming a business owner. Eagranie explores the challenges and strategies involved in running a business, managing client expectations, and setting processes and systems in place for better workflow. She also shares insights on choosing the right clients, handling difficult client relationships, and the importance of having honest, upfront conversations in business. This one is more than a podcast episode, it's a masterclass in how to run a freelancing business the Boss Responses way.

Eagranie Yuh helps marketers in risk, insurance, and HR build brand authority with white papers and podcasts. She’s an award-winning writer and journalist, and she’s written for publications like The Washington Post, The South China Morning Post and Saveur. Her work has been anthologized in Best Food Writing and has received several M.F.K. Fisher Awards. Prior to starting her own consultancy, Eagranie was the editorial director in a marketing communications agency, where she helped Fortune 500 companies conceptualize, develop and implement content marketing programs.

Connect with Eagranie on LinkedIn.

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. It is day five with our special guest co-host Eagranie Yuh, and that means today we get to learn about her, her business and what she loves about running a business. Eagranie is a white paper specialist and podcast consultant. If you ask her why white papers and podcasts, she'll tell you that long form content, when done well, builds trust and authority, and I happen to agree with her completely. She'll also let you know that when it's done poorly, it can be self-serving and boring. Eagranie is anything but boring and I know she does a good job with her work as well. She draws on her experience as a chemist, journalist and marketer to explain complex ideas in plain language, find unique perspectives and make strategy and story play nice. And if you've ever tried to make strategy and story play nice, that takes skill.

Treasa Edmond:

Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Eagranie has joined us this week from Tasmania, Australia. Let's go ahead and jump right into the conversation with her. I know you're going to enjoy learning about her as much as I did If you're a freelancer, business owner or anyone who deals with her. I know you're going to enjoy learning about her as much as I did 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.

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-hosts embrace their role as the boss of their business. Welcome to Boss Responses, Eagranie. Thank you so much for being here with us this week. It's been absolutely fantastic and I can't wait to hear what we talk about today.

Eagranie Yuh:

It's been so much fun. Treasa, Thanks so much for having me.

Treasa Edmond:

All right, tell us a little bit about you, what you do, why you got started, an overview of your business, all that fun stuff.

Eagranie Yuh:

So what I do? I'm a white paper and podcast specialist, so it's taken me a while to connect the dots between those two things. But it's basically I really like long form content that builds trust and authority and credibility in sort of softer ways. So they're not salesy pieces, although they obviously play a role in the sales process, but they're really these long form content pieces where narrative is really important, where unique perspectives are really important and where there's a human touch, like there is a perspective and a voice and a value that's given to whoever is reading or listening or otherwise consuming these things.

Eagranie Yuh:

And it comes about because I took a scenic route in my career, so I've been a scientist and I love data and I love explaining data. I've been a journalist, so I love interviewing people, I love research, I love finding a story where you might not otherwise see one, and I have a mini MBA in marketing, so I have the strategy and the business side of things. So I kind of mashed them all together and thought about the content pieces that I really liked making and I landed at White Papers and Podcasts. And I also worked for 11 years in a content marketing agency, moving up the ranks and leaving as editorial director before I thought.

Eagranie Yuh:

I just kind of done all the things here. I got to work on pretty much every form of deliverable on the content and the coffee side. We worked for giant companies, fortune 500s and big global brands and it. It was really exciting. I learned a lot. I got to work with some very smart people, but I went out on my own about two years ago and haven't really looked back. I've run other small businesses along the side as well, but this particular version of the business the white papers and the podcast is still relatively new. I live in Australia, so I moved last year from Canada to Australia and I was a good move, a crazy move, but I'm glad we did it.

Treasa Edmond:

I like the journey. I am a journey person too and have done the different things and tried the different things, and I think it's nice when we get to that point in our business, absolutely. So let's talk about your business now. So, scientist working with the agencies, and now you're out on your own. Was there a moment when you're like I just can't do this anymore. I have to run my own business. Or was it more of a natural progression for?

Eagranie Yuh:

you. I think it was a more natural progression. I'd been freelancing a lot off the side While I was in this content agency. I was also a freelance journalist, and that is in its own sort of business. I haven't mentioned this, but I was also a chocolate expert and consultant, so I ran that business as well, the big difference being that I think I thought of those businesses as a freelancer. I was a freelancer doing those things. I don't really know that. I thought about them as businesses, even though I called the chocolate thing a business, but I certainly did not have the mindset of a business owner when I ran it. And so when I was in the agency I'd had these other freelance things and it just started to creep in.

Eagranie Yuh:

I never really planned to stay at the agency that long. It was really meant to be a stepping stone, but then the work was interesting, the clients were interesting, I liked my workmates and then I kept moving up in the company and so I stayed. But towards the end there I was definitely just feeling like I didn't have that same energy that I had when I started and I wasn't as excited about new projects or new teams as I knew that I could be and I knew that ultimately, that wasn't fair to myself, to the agency or to our clients and it took me a long time to leave. It took me a really, really long time before it was like that little whisper that got a little louder and then finally it was like do you need to leave this company? It's like, yes, okay, I will leave this company.

Eagranie Yuh:

And I have to say that it coincided with my daughter starting school. So I don't know how common that is, but I really felt like prior to that I didn't. Really I wasn't in a position to make a big decision like that because I was busy raising this small human and then I got her into school and I was like, oh, I got my brain back, like all of my brain, and I feel like I am in a good position to make this decision. I gave them my notice and I went off on my own and I haven't looked back. It's been really good. It's been much more challenging this time around because I planned to start a business and that comes with a lot of inner work as well as a lot of personal and professional development that I don't think I fully appreciated, especially because I'd been a freelancer before and this time felt very, very different.

Treasa Edmond:

Yeah, and you talk about the inner work and this is something that's come up on the podcast before and I'm sure it's going to come up a lot in the future is making that leap from I'm an employee doing this on the side to being a business owner, and I'm a firm believer that if you are doing freelance work, it doesn't matter what you call it contractor, all of that stuff you are a business owner.

Treasa Edmond:

That changes everything. And but I think isn't it funny that it's our internal thought, it's our internal mindset issues. I think isn't it funny that it's our internal mindset issues. I think that take longer to work out and I was talking to someone not long ago that they said when they got started with their business, they actually came into it with a business plan. And a lot of the people that I know they don't do a business plan until they've been in it like 10, 15 years and they're like, oh, maybe don't do a business plan until they've been in it like 10, 15 years and they're like, oh, maybe I should do that, because they're at that point when they're really wanting to up level to six figures or more in their business and they know they can't do that without a cohesive plan. So whenever you were starting out, did you have any kind of business plan? Were you really structured about it, or were you just like I'm going to do this thing and just went on willpower alone?

Eagranie Yuh:

I think it was more the latter. I think that I, having come out of the agency, where there's a lot more structure and there's more of the order taker, like the managing directors were really determining, like, which clients the agency worked with. Like I didn't get to decide those things, and so there was this sense of I can decide who I work for, what do I want, like it was this really confronting question. I'd been very fortunate to have a lot of the freelancing that I was doing. I was freelancing and content as well.

Eagranie Yuh:

That had fallen in my lap was people who had left these giant companies and gone to startups, or people who I had a relationship with and they'd all come to me. I was happy to take that on and very grateful to take that on, but that's not a, at least to me. That wasn't a very sustainable way to build a business and there were elements of those people that fell into what is now my ideal customer profile. But it was this moment of oh crap I don't know if I can say that on your podcast, teresa.

Treasa Edmond:

You can.

Eagranie Yuh:

Like, oh crap, I get to decide who I work with. That's really awesome. I'm super excited by that and I'm also terrified by that, because what if I make the wrong decision? What if I choose wrong? What if I like? Suddenly with great power comes responsibility, kind of thing. Really kind of wrestling with being able to make those decisions but also owning the responsibility of making those decisions.

Eagranie Yuh:

I would say that I didn't. I definitely didn't have a plan. I just followed my nose, as I have for most of my career, and it led me to some really interesting places. Like I took a long-ish contract with a podcast production agency and I'd worked on podcasts before, but I made it up. And then I worked with an actual agency and realized, oh, I made it up, but I got pretty close to at least how this company is doing it. So I must know a little bit about what I'm doing. I definitely I leveled up my podcast game and then I did this mini MBA in marketing, which was weird because I'd worked in marketing for 10 years and but I was primarily a writer. You know, like I was a writer who got business strategy, but I did not have a business background. And then I did this mini MBA in marketing and I thought, okay, this is good, I'm going to be able to offer more strategic services to my clients.

Treasa Edmond:

That's why I?

Eagranie Yuh:

wanted to do it, but it actually propelled my business forward, because all the things you learn about marketing you choose a client, you choose which ones you can best serve, you position yourself, you develop your offerings, you price them, you promote them these are things that every business owner needs to know how to do. And so, about halfway through, I realized every business owner needs to know how to do. And so about halfway through, I realized, oh, I'm doing this for me, yes, I can bring this to my clients, but I actually am doing this for me. And that really propelled things forward, because now I had a framework. Oh, there's a way that marketers do their job. Of course there is. That seems so self-evident and I knew bits and pieces of it, but it got packaged and put together in a way that I could really use and use in my business, and it gave me so much more confidence to move forward and be a business owner and not a freelancer ahead.

Treasa Edmond:

I don't know that you can place too much value on that, which is why I recommend that people who have just been doing freelance or people who are just starting actually step back and take a look at why you want to do it your personal motivations, not just your business motivations because otherwise you're not going to enjoy it.

Treasa Edmond:

You're going to be an employee of your business and we all don't want to be employees. We want to be bosses. That's the thing. But I really appreciated when you said that you reached that point where you figured out that you get to choose your clients, and to me this is almost a coming of age thing for business owners because it's all of a sudden oh, I don't have to work for every client who comes to me. In fact, it's better for my business if I'm highly selective, if I only choose this one little group of people and I learn to specialize and really give them what they need, even if they don't know what they need. So I love that you've already reached that point and I think all of your random experience chocolate business that might have led into that. I'm thinking the chocolate was just a driving factor in all of this.

Eagranie Yuh:

Absolutely, absolutely Fueled by chocolate Aren't we all All right.

Treasa Edmond:

So what were some of the challenges that you faced, or are still facing, and managing multiple clients simultaneously? Now, I say this with the caveat that you had agency experience, so you already had experience managing multiple clients at once, but how was that different and how do you address any of those challenges running your own business instead?

Eagranie Yuh:

Yeah, I think the biggest challenge with my business now is that I'm a team of one, right. So when you're in the agency and you have overflow work and you've got different people right. So when you're in the agency and you have overflow work and you've got different people right, so you've got the people doing the biz dev, bringing the clients in, and then you have a whole team of people so you can manage the capacity a lot more easily. Hey, okay, like I can't do all of this, but it's however many people you can put the team together, you can get it done. And so now, as a team of one and I don't currently subcontract.

Eagranie Yuh:

So now, as a team of one and I don't currently subcontract I'm on the fence about that because I'm a bit of a, I can be a control freak and I there are very few people that I would choose to work with. I have met them. But so when the work comes in, the, when you're a team of one, it's almost that feast and famine thing, right? So I've really experienced that in the first couple of years of this business is sometimes I'm run off my feet and all the work, even though you do your best planning, even though you ask for the deposits to start the work and you've got the schedule, things always happen right. Something gets pushed back and suddenly all the things are due at the same time, and so that's definitely a challenge and making sure I do my best to. Every bride on her wedding day wants to be the only bride.

Eagranie Yuh:

So my clients are, of course, aware that I have other clients, but I don't advertise that to them. When I'm working with them, I give them the attention that they deserve. They're the only bride on that day who's getting married, and so a lot of that is diplomacy. A lot of that is having upfront conversations. If you have planned the schedule, here's what to expect. And if it gets pushed back, two weeks, having that conversation okay, just so you know. Now we're pushing into my schedule or space that I hadn't allocated for this. We might need to be a bit flexible about this.

Eagranie Yuh:

And then in those sort of like famine stages, like this summer was really slow for me, which was fine. I went on vacation. That was amazing. I spent a month just marketing, like doing a ton of marketing. I had all these lead gen things that I wanted to get off the ground and I couldn't because I was double booked for the rest of the year, and so, like I think part of it is like working with the flow of the business.

Eagranie Yuh:

So you know, knowing that there are certain things you should be doing all the time, you should probably always be marketing, you should always be on top of the admin and your processes and whatever it is. But when, when all that work comes in, you do the work but you hope like there's going to be a little bit of a slower period and then you double down on those things. So I was able to make that work and I'm sort of hopeful, like a lot of my clients just go on vacation in July and August and I knew this from my agency dates. Like I knew you don't get anything done in July and August. I went on vacation for July and I spent all of August on lead gen pieces and that would be a great rhythm.

Eagranie Yuh:

Now that I've said it out loud, of course it's not gonna happen again but I was like oh, wouldn't it be great if everybody just went on vacation for two months and I spent 10 months on client work, one month on vacation and one month just working on the business? That would be awesome. I would love that. So yeah, it's challenging. I think it's been a weird year, especially in talking to other people, so I don't know what's going to happen next year. But that's what I'm dealing with is the. Can it be a predictable flow of work? I don't know. I don't know, but I'm figuring out ways to deal with it.

Treasa Edmond:

Yeah, it's very interesting. And do you know, you're two years in freelancing and you've already figured out that you need to spend focused time on your business. It took me 10 years it was 10 years before I decided Fridays are business day. So for me, I work on client work Monday through Thursday and then, unless it's an urgent situation, on Fridays, I focus on my business, on marketing, on all of those things, and there are always things that get in the way. There are always things you need to do and you can let that push your business to the back of the stove.

Treasa Edmond:

It's on the summer burner, you don't really have to do anything. That's when I do my marketing, so that it constantly happens. So you reminded me of that. I've taken time off to get this podcast started and you reminded me that I need to make sure, when I'm really getting back into this Friday's our business day. Yes, so you mentioned systems, but you didn't say the word systems, but processes that you take admin, marketing, all of those fun things. So what systems and tools have you already implemented to streamline your client related processes and your business processes, and which ones are you planning to implement in the future?

Eagranie Yuh:

Sure, oh, this is a great question. One of the things that I used to do in the agency was I would help clients who didn't have an editorial process set up. Yes, so what? And inevitably it was like some version of SharePoint, which just is not super fun. But it was also coordinating, like where all the moving pieces, who does this, who does that, what's, what are the things that you need to get done and how do we get those things done. So it's a lot more challenging to turn it around on myself, because I just do the things. Do you know what I mean? Oh, okay, I've got a new client. I guess I'll just send them the contract and I'll do this and I'll do this. And then there's that little voice this is an SOP. You should be documenting this by the way you should probably automate some of this too.

Eagranie Yuh:

And so it's really. I've been a little bit more organic about it and that when I'm working and I'm doing something, I'm like, oh wait, this is a process, okay, what am I doing right now? And I force myself to step out of it. So I'm not sitting down and saying, okay, this is my onboarding process, I'm going to document it. But when I onboard somebody, I'm much more conscious of what are the steps that are involved. What am I doing? How can I not have to reinvent my brain wheel every single time that I do this? Can I just refer to this checklist? So that's where I'm at is. I've set up a couple of, I think, key pieces, like a lot of. It is just like Google Docs, to be totally honest, I got set up with Airtable, which is a relational database. Yeah, it's evil.

Treasa Edmond:

But you like data, so I'm sure it's right up your alley.

Eagranie Yuh:

But it has the potential for all these automations and data integrations and formulas which I haven't even scratched the surface of. But I thought, okay, I'm just going to get set up with the tool. And then for cold prospecting, which I've been doing a lot of, I have Streak, which is a CRM that integrates with Gmail. So I have these like major pieces. I tried playing with Notion. It was too complicated, it was too far out of my workflow.

Treasa Edmond:

You think Notion's more complicated than Airtable. I think Notion makes so much sense and Airtable makes me want to jam my head in a wall. I think it's just our brains are different. I wrote down tell her after the call about Notion.

Eagranie Yuh:

I can give it another try, definitely. But I had like maybe 15 minutes and I was like I can't be bothered to learn another tool. And so now I'm at the point where I'm aware that I need processes and I'm just starting to scratch the automation surface where you know, oh, you can automate that thing that you do over and over again, you can automate that. And I just always felt like I didn't have, I wasn't grown up enough to do that Basically. Oh, I don't have.

Eagranie Yuh:

Because you look at automation things and you're like, oh, I automate this click in Asana which goes into my Gmail, which sends a thing over here, and I was like I don't have all those tech stacks in place. I feel like I have just confetti all over the place. But I'm learning from a couple of other small business owners. Like, no, no, you can totally automate that. Here's how I did this. And so I think that's really what I'm working on this year is because I spend a lot of time just doing the same things over and over again and it doesn't have to be that way, and I realized that I'm grown up enough to deserve automations. So that's a big focus of the rest of the year for me is more automations for sure.

Treasa Edmond:

I'll share some of mine with you. I have a client onboarding process. I have an onboarding packet I send them. That's actually really pretty. And then I work on the really large projects a lot of times so content strategy, which is months worth of work, or ghostwriting a book, which is months worth of work. So I have my onboarding process, I have my offboarding process and then all the communication stuff in between. I checklists. I never liked checklists until I started running a business, but now they're my best friend. I have a discovery call checklist and content strategy, kickoff checklist and all of these things. It makes a huge difference and if you're like me, you hope one day to hire in that VA to help with some of this stuff. And if you don't have operating procedures mapped out, it's so much more difficult. Yes, yes, yes, totally I struggle. Do you do this? And maybe this is just my weird brain, but I'm like I can do it myself faster and I know it's done right the first time.

Eagranie Yuh:

I have trust issues, I know, but it's also you're so busy doing the work that it's like ah, it's like another thing to document or to do it, and then it's another thing to trust somebody to do it, and so it's another thing to trust somebody to do it. And so it's that dealing with that discomfort, and maybe I would say to somebody else, like what is the smallest step that you could take to get yourself a little bit further out of that comfort zone?

Treasa Edmond:

but applying it to yourself, which is always harder to do, when I'm coaching someone or helping a client, it's so much easier to tell them to do these things than to actually do it.

Treasa Edmond:

It's do as I say, not as I do. Do as I say, not as I do. You're going to be better for it. But yeah, it's a thing and I honestly think that's a growing pain that any business that wants to progress past a certain level is going to face. Let's move into expectations, because the trickiest part of our business is our clients, and I love my clients. I choose clients very carefully. That's just one of the things that I do, but I'm really careful to have honest, upfront conversations where expectations are clearly outlined when I start working with a client. So how do you set expectations with your clients? And then how do you make sure that they have a clear understanding about all of the project stuff? So that they have a clear understanding about all of the project stuff so scope, timelines, deliverables, all of that fun stuff.

Eagranie Yuh:

These are big, hairy conversations, right? Everyone? Yes, I think the first thing is in even before, that is, in knowing your ideal client, right? Like who is it Cause? You've got signals that you're looking for before you even have those conversations. Is this person going to be a good fit in terms of the type of work that they're looking for? Are they a good fit in terms of values? Does it seem like we have some kind of rapport or like point of connection where I actually want to work with you and spend some time with you, where, if you send me edits that I think are unreasonable, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt rather than be like what is wrong with you? The working style? Are you going to be texting me in the middle of the night Because I don't do that?

Eagranie Yuh:

Do you expect? I don't do fire alarms. I have learned this. I don't do events. I don't do launches. I don't do anything where you need a quick turnaround, because that's not how I do my best work, right, I don't enjoy it and that's just not. There are people who love that, who love the adrenaline of it. Go work with them. That's not what I do. I do really. I have certain things that I'm really good at, like I'm good at really complex things being distilled into something that's engaging and accessible. I'm good with story. I'm good with data. You need to appreciate that right, it's not like, oh, love me, I'm so amazing.

Eagranie Yuh:

But, like you, you need to be looking for somebody who was good at the things that I do, because then we have shared value, right, we're going to be in alignment there. So once you've identified okay, like I've just got like gut, check, check, check, check. There's our checklist, right, icp checklist Then it's about having those like clear, honest conversations. Like one of the things that I have to discuss because I'm in Australia is okay, time zones, depending where you are, may not overlap a lot. So are you okay with that? Trust me that sometimes it works to your advantage. Like East Coast time you give me edits at the end of your day, that's the beginning of my day. You get them the next day, like it's almost like you've offshored the work. So sometimes that really works to your advantage. But if you're the kind of marketing person who wants to be on a chat all day long, I'm not going to be a good fit for you because I'm not.

Eagranie Yuh:

You know, I don't know many people who would be okay with that, but sometimes it's just about sometimes they like the option, even though, like in my like how many years of agency work and in my freelancing, I've never had I think I've had one like impromptu phone call with a client in that entire time Right, they just like the option of being able to reach you and sometimes, if you just talk it through and you're like okay, so you're not going to be able to do that, are you cool with that? I will respond to you as soon as possible. The project we're working on doesn't require that. You have to like consciously address those objections, and so I think that's part of it is like knowing in advance what are the possible objections here, what are the things that are going. If this thing were to go wrong, what would they be, and talk about those things. So I'm hearing that you like to work with people who blah, blah, blah. I just wanted to let you know that I prefer to do this. Let's talk about that. Don't be afraid of it. Don't shove it under the carpet, because that's going to be the thing that comes to kick you in the butt the minute that you get a little clue, because you're going to get clues from the emails, from the conversations. Oh, we need to talk about that, that that could be an issue, that could be an issue. It's more about you have those conversations and you're mentally making this checklist these are the things that are going to derail this, and then you talk about them. So, honestly, that's a really like vague way of talking about it, but it's like that active listening, listening and not shying away from those conversations and having the script to talk about it.

Eagranie Yuh:

I hear that blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I need to let you know that blah, blah, blah, blah blah. How can we talk, how can we work together on this? Right and just putting all of those things out in the open. The other thing that I do cause scope creep is is creep is one of the questions I get from starting freelancers. How do you manage scope creep? And I mean the answer is you're going to make a lot of mistakes, like the more projects you work on that are similar. You're going to find those mistakes, but you talk about all the things. So one of the things that I put into my contracts, for example, is this project includes X, y and Z. It does not include A, b and C, and that's really important, because then when they come back to you, if I'm doing a white paper, I will do the marketing collateral that goes around it if you want me to, but if you don't, that goes so it's like in the contract. This contract includes two rounds of revisions, blah, blah, blah, blah blah. It does not include any marketing collateral associated with this project, so that when they come back and they're like, oh, could you do you mind just doing a couple of social posts, or oh, like, we just need a couple of blog posts, okay, well, that's out of scope. We talked about that. Here's our contract. Let's talk about this as a separate project. So then there's no confusion about do I take this, do I not take this? Because then you're just in an awkward position. Nobody wants to say no, nobody wants to be the bad guy, but you don't want to do work that you did not agree to do.

Eagranie Yuh:

Getting ahead, super clear what does this project look like? How long is it Do you have for white papers? Are there charts? Is this a data intensive thing? How many rounds of interviews are you expecting? Who are the people you want me to interview. Who are the people that are going to be reviewing it, going into like insane detail? Because it's like the picture in my brain has to match the picture in your brain and the closer those pictures are the same, the fewer issues you're going to have and sometimes it seems, I don't know almost pedantic to be discussing it in so much detail. But I just find usually the client appreciates having the clarity of what it is that you're actually doing and what you're making, because then they can also defend it inside their company when somebody comes out of left field. Why don't we do this Actually? Here's the brief, here's what we're doing. Here's why it helps everybody do their job better.

Treasa Edmond:

Yeah, and I would say for everyone that's listening go back and listen to the last minute and a half again, because that is a masterclass on boss responses. One you are having the conversations. You're not sweeping them under the rug. You're seeing problems that are going to pop up because of your experience and you're just bringing them out into the open. You're not saying whoa, whoa, whoa, you're going too far here. Instead, you're saying these are the things that I do. Does that work for you? Because you both have the opportunity to walk away.

Treasa Edmond:

The other thing you talk about and you just went over this is that whole ability to go through the conversation, and I call it detail mastery. And people are like my clients don't want to answer that many questions. Your clients want to answer that many questions Because when you ask those clarifying questions, when you get all of those details, you'll watch them. Get on a Zoom call with them and watch them. They're going to start sitting back in their chair, they're going to start relaxing, they're going to start taking notes because you are proving with every single question that you know exactly what you're talking about. You know exactly what you're doing with this project and they're starting to believe that all they have to do is hand this off and you're going to hand back something amazing that is going to cut down on revisions in a mighty mighty way, because they start to trust you at that point and it just goes on. That's a boss response 100%. When you say I want to make sure that we're on the same page, let's go through this checklist, and then I just have a few questions.

Treasa Edmond:

People love answering questions. It makes them feel more sure about themselves. It works. I love that.

Eagranie Yuh:

A friend of mine calls it driving the bus, right? So she says when somebody hires you, you need to drive the bus. You're not holding their hand and walking along beside them. You are driving the bus, you are asking the questions, you're setting the direction, you're saying hey, I heard that you wanted these are your big picture goals. Here are a couple ways that we could do that with this deliverable. What do you like?

Eagranie Yuh:

And my recommendation this is something that I've started doing recently is like when you're giving options, give a recommendation. So here's the problem you want to solve. Here are two ways we could do it. I would recommend A, because blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. More often than not, they choose A and they're just like great, okay, I just wanted an informed opinion. You were demonstrating that you are aware of the problem, right? So you're solving a problem for them, you're presenting them with options and you are recommending what they do next. And who doesn't love that? Right? When you're hiring somebody, especially as you grow the business and you're getting to higher ticket prices, people expect that Like. That is the difference between sure, I can write your thing and okay, let's talk about this thing and how we're going to make it awesome. It's a huge. It's a huge difference, but you have to drive the bus and a lot of that is mindset and confidence.

Eagranie Yuh:

That took me a while to figure out how to drive the bus.

Treasa Edmond:

And the way I put it and I love the driving the bus thing. I might adopt that the way I say it is. You are partnering with your client and in every partnership there's a leader at different stages. They are hiring you to be the expert for this stage of the relationship. So it's up to you, if you are the boss of your business, to step forward and take leadership. And there have been a couple of tricky conversations in my career usually not with my primary contact, it's usually with a C-suite that gets involved in the process about two-thirds of the way through and you're like no, but you have to be willing to step forward and say what you do is amazing, you are the expert in your business. I am the expert here. Let me help you get the most out of this, and the more confidence you can say that with, the better it's going to be at the end.

Treasa Edmond:

And you do an amazing job with that, so I'm excited. All right. So that leads right into difficult client land. Talk about a big, hairy conversation. Difficult clients they're challenged, they really are. For any freelancer or contractor I know they pop up more often in the beginning of the career. Yeah, and you bring your agency experience of being a client leader. But have you dealt with any difficult clients in your business so far, or are you just prepared?

Eagranie Yuh:

In this current incarnation of the business not yet. So I'm very thankful for that. I feel like I've done a better job of choosing my clients. But when I was freelancing earlier, and certainly when I was in the agency, we did have our share of not a ton, but we did have difficult clients. One was me being so excited about this client. I really they were doing, the tech they were working on was really cool, the application was really cool and I'd managed to finagle an introduction to their marketing lead from a current client. So it's a bad recipe because I'm excited about this as a person, not as a business, and I was beholden to it because I've asked for a favor to get into the company without knowing too much about them to it, because I've asked for a favor to get into the company without knowing too much about them, and it just ended up being like it wasn't a very mature marketing company, like the marketing and company wasn't very mature. They had no brand guidelines. They had no voice guidelines. They hadn't worked with a writer before. They'd done everything in house, but the marketing manager was clearly not a writer they were hiring but she knew her limitations and I just knew we had this call with the marketing manager and the COO and it was also a startup and I don't typically like startups. They're a bit too chaotic for me.

Eagranie Yuh:

So we're on this call and they said something and I said something about what's. If you don't have company guidelines for voice or for brand, do you have like videos, like how do I know what the tone of voice is that you're looking for? And I said our tone of voice is the CEO's voice. And I said, okay, and so do you have? And what might that sound like? And like he really likes big words. And it was just red flag, red flag, red flag. And I should have at that moment, I should have just been like are you open to other approaches? Like how firm is that, can you? And they sent me some videos and he was a very smart man. This was like this was an AI company. He was founded in AI companies clearly very smart, but founders aren't should typically not be. That's a whole other conversation. His voice could not have been the company's voice and I should have walked away at that point, right.

Eagranie Yuh:

So a lot of it like we weren't just we hadn't gotten so far into a project, but I was just so invested in it. I personally was now invested in this, so I learned from that. Vet your clients better. If you see a red flag like that, especially early on, just be like I'm out, this is not a good fit, and just listen to that voice inside of you. The other example I can think of is in my agency days.

Eagranie Yuh:

We had one client who gave us a ridiculous brief, like she wanted. It was a really complex project that was arguably outside the wheelhouse of what the agency really did. It was a huge messaging project for a company whose messaging was constantly in flux and had changed five or six times in the last six months. And I got the impression that this marketing lead had tried to nail down the messaging with several different agencies or freelancers and nobody had really been successful. And that's a red flag right, like at some point, like there's something wrong with this project or with how you're trying to nail this down.

Eagranie Yuh:

And we did our best, but it was just like the task was impossible. She gave us something like 70 decks that we had to pull from to make to figure out this messaging, which she couldn't even explain to us on a phone call. To make to figure out this messaging which she couldn't even explain to us on a phone call. But then she had a limited budget, so she wanted us to do it in a ridiculous amount of time and it was just not a good situation. I went to the managing directors and I was like listen, I'm not sure about this. I just want to flag with you that this project could really easily go off the rails. These are the reasons why I want to raise this now. And they were like okay, that's cool, and inevitably it did. She wasn't happy with what we did. I think we gave her a first draft and then she complained that it wasn't polished and we're like no, it's like a, we wanted to know if we were on the right track.

Eagranie Yuh:

It was just, it was a disaster. And then she disappeared for six months and then came back and wanted us to pick it up again and this is clearly not a good client relationship. And I think the key is just like honoring those red flags and being like I'm out, like this is not and having this is not a good fit. This project, I'm not able to serve you in the way that you need. I'm not able to add value to this. I think that we should part ways. I don't think this is going to work for us, but I think at least in my freelance example, I was too afraid to say that, and in the agency example, I did raise it and ultimately that wasn't my place to fire the client and I wish the agency had fired that client sooner. But these are the things you learn.

Treasa Edmond:

But agencies seldom do sooner.

Eagranie Yuh:

But these are the things you learn, but agencies seldom do. I think we know when we have a bad client.

Treasa Edmond:

Yeah, I had the second one already as a red flag the client who says I've hired five writers to do this and none of them could get it right. You just walk away from that every single time. But the he likes big words. I do brand voice as part of my content strategy. I've not had that one come up and I now know to walk away if it happens.

Eagranie Yuh:

Yes, that's scary, it was not good. And they were like I was a scientist. Right, I get big words, I love big words, but these were big words where I was like I can't pronounce that. What does that mean? Do you actually use that? And he would use it in like investor videos. I'm like I this boggles my mind that you've gotten away with this and that nobody has said anything. And I signed up to their newsletters for a while afterwards just to see if maybe somebody had talked some sense into them, and they were just unintelligible. I was like, okay, that was not a good fit.

Treasa Edmond:

I got out. Yeah, did they survive, just curious. They're still around. They are still around. I wonder if they've changed their voice.

Eagranie Yuh:

I don't know. The tech is so good and their use case is so compelling that maybe it just over sometimes your product is good enough to override bad marketing.

Treasa Edmond:

But very rarely anyone who's a business that is listening. All right, so you mentioned that you might be doing a white paper. Was it a course or a workshop?

Eagranie Yuh:

I toyed with the idea of doing a white paper course. I have done a couple of masterclasses and so there's one that will probably come around in the next six months. It's not official yet and I'm working on so this previous August that I spent working on lead magnets. So I've got one where it's just it's a checklist. We all have a checklist for B2B marketers on the strategy side. Before you even commission a white paper, have you thought about these things? Because I find a lot of people make a lot of mistakes before they even get to hiring the writer, and so it's a shame to see like white papers are such a heavy lift that you need to make sure you're doing it for the right reasons and that you've thought about some of the things that could possibly derail you. So that's going to be a downloadable and then with it is a five or six part email course where we look at some of those things in a little bit more detail. So that's coming down the pipe.

Treasa Edmond:

Well, I'm going to recommend that all of my strategy mastermind people just automatically get that, because that will be helpful for them from a strategy perspective. Now, how would they keep in contact with you? Is there a newsletter they can sign up for, or just follow you on LinkedIn? How do they find out when these drop?

Eagranie Yuh:

So follow me on LinkedIn. Newsletter is coming and hopefully I've got a couple of things in the works, but the newsletter will be that first piece of it for sure. So yeah, I'm active on LinkedIn. I post a lot about white papers and podcasts and freelancing and writing and the occasional goofy post, and that's where I spend most of my time.

Treasa Edmond:

All right, we will have links to all of that and the newsletter when it's live in the show notes, all right. Last question you ready? Yes, all right. What advice would you give to service providers looking to create lasting, successful partnerships with their clients?

Eagranie Yuh:

I would say put on your big kid pants, right? So much of it is us being afraid to say the thing, or to ask the question, or to point out the thing that is going to go wrong. Because we know inherently, if you are freelancing, you have enough skill that you've been able to go out on your own with whatever the thing is that you do. So you know these things. When you recognize them Like whenever I don't ask this question, things go wrong. Or oh, that person said something and that's going to be an issue. We know these things right. The thing is you have to say them out loud, you have to say them back, you have to say you have to raise them with the client, because if you don't, that is going to be the thing that comes back to bite you in the bum and nobody wants that. So you have to be brave, you have to say it, you have to get over. I constantly have this thing around.

Eagranie Yuh:

I really want to be liked. What if they don't like me? And if I say it out loud? I went into that client conversation and they said something that really concerns me, but I really want them to like me, so I didn't ask them about it. It's a ridiculous thing. If you actually say that thing out loud, it's so silly.

Eagranie Yuh:

Yes, you know, you got to put on your big kid pants and you have the difficult and doing air quotes. They can't see me, but air quotes difficult conversation because it makes everything less difficult. It's like a release valve and most of the time, all the time, the clients oh, I'm so glad we talked about that. Either nobody's asked us about that, but that's been a problem, or, hey, I'm so glad we discussed that upfront and now it's not going to be an issue, or we have a plan for how we're going to deal with it. Have those conversations. Do not shy away from them. If you need to practice. Notice which ones, because I find for certain people, certain conversations will come up over and over again. They're the ones that you're afraid of having. Practice those right Until you can say with confidence you said this thing, I noticed this, how are we going to deal with that In a way where you have the confidence, you're grounded and you're consultative and it's not combative. You're actually just highlighting something that is going to allow you to work together more effectively.

Treasa Edmond:

That's what I would say Big good pass. That's brilliant, and that is the difference between letting your clients lead your business and you leading your business and your clients to success. In one little nutshell, that was it. I couldn't have. I could not have said it better at all, and I've written about this multiple times, so I may just like type that and say this is what she said and put it in a blog post. All right, all right. Eagranie, thank you so much for being with us this week. I really appreciate it and I do hope that you will come back in the future.

Eagranie Yuh:

I would love to Teresa. It's been super, duper fun. I'm happy to answer. I might regret this. I'm happy to answer questions. People can get in touch with me on LinkedIn. I'd love to continue the conversation.

Treasa Edmond:

All right, and we'll make sure that link is in the show notes.

White Paper and Podcast Specialist
Challenges of Managing Multiple Clients
Streamlining Processes and Client Expectations
Establishing Client-Contractor Fit and Communication
Navigating Difficult Client Relationships
Building Successful Client Partnerships

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