Why do creatives let people walk all over them?
I’m dropping a truth-bomb today. There are too many creatives who let clients step all over them. As a freelancer, you are not someone’s servant—you are someone’s partner—hired to help them accomplish something important.
So maybe you’re lacking in confidence. Maybe you’re stuck in the corporate mentality of do this or get fired.
I’ve been freelancing full-time for over 10 years and I’ve had to fire clients (learn to do it the right way) because in the beginning, they were overstepping my boundaries. But I’ve realized that it wasn’t even their faults…if there are no rules, of course the invisible rules will get treaded on!
Most people want to be good clients! We just have to show them how.
Ready to stop giving clients the leeway to take advantage?
The best way to start is defining your values. This will help you get clear on what’s important, which is first and foremost.
Once your values are defined, you need to stick to them and let clients know about them.
My values are listed very clearly on my website because I want to avoid any confusion. My most important value is work-life balance. I don’t work nights or weekends—so why not tell people this up-front? It’s only fair! Defining my office hours has been very important for me in managing client expectations.
Define the guidelines that you want to work by. Define what matters to you. Then, when someone asks you a question that makes your gut twinge, refer to your values and respond accordingly.
It’s awesome to want to please your clients, but in saying yes to something when your gut says no, you will compromise your own values and displease yourself.
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The sooner you do it, the better off you’ll be. The people I see having the most success—and still loving their businesses years later—are really good at this.
Here are a few affirmations I have hanging in my office to inspire me:
Do you have any reminders in your office?
Tell me about your most important values…and how you share them with clients.