I started my business at the end of 2018. I quit my full time job, I applied for an internship at a digital agency to be a front-end developer and website designer, and after being told I would be better in a “customer facing role” (any other ladies get this advice?), I started my own business.
I was already being asked by my friends and family to build websites for them. So like all people who have the skills but no experience I just started.
Advice #1 – Just start
This sounds obvious, but sometimes when your starting something new you get caught up in comparison, imposter syndrome and perfectionism so much so you find it hard to start building your new business and career.
You think you are not prepared enough to start, or that what you’ll do won’t be good enough. But if you’re thinking these things then I’ll let you in on a secret… I was thinking the exact same when I started my business.
The positive I take from my past self thinking this way is that it shows a great amount of integrity. And shows you that you want to make a great product for your customers, or give your clients the best service possible. Which isn’t a bad thing!
Just don’t let these thoughts stop you from taking steps towards the life and career you pictured for yourself.
Advice #2 – Get clear on what services you offer clients.
When it comes to website designers people hear internet, computer, website, marketing. So the enquiries I got when I first started my business (and still occasionally now), range from can you fix my email spam filter, to can you help me with my online marketing.
So by now you’ve probably guessed what I mean by get clear. If you don’t have a list of services and clear pricing on your website or anywhere lese then people will see you as anything they want or need help with.
I have a two clear services on my website and then provide free advice via my blog and e-books to help my audience further.
I’ve also collected a list of lovely humans who can help my audience with the problems they want me to fix that are outside of my services. This is a great way of sharing the work with other small business owners, and allowing yourself to do the work you enjoy and want to focus on.
Remember, when you take on work that isn’t what you love or even know how to do (you just want to be helpful, right?), the more it takes you away from the work you do enjoy and in turn you end up doing tasks that don’t light you up, nor motivate you to work on these business projects.
Advice #3 – Check your Mindset
This is something I invested in, in my second year of business and I am so grateful I did. Mindset comes into every part of your business and both of the above points. A LOT.
Now I can reflect back and say there was a lot of self-doubt and people-pleasing, but at the time I was working as hard as I could the make my business work and not have to go back to an office job I didn’t feel fulfilled in.
These thoughts of self-doubt and people pleasing meant I would put myself last in my business. I wouldn’t want to invoice my clients until I thought I’d completed the task perfectly and go above and beyond (usually working into the night and not charge for it).
I always wanted my clients to think the best of me, and still do now, but I know that they are happy to pay for my services – in fact they tell me to invoice them + raise my prices! When you find your ideal clients this is what will happen.
This doesn’t mean I haven’t had a client not pay an invoice, or try to barter me down, or say that my prices are too high. If this is happening to you at the moment I want you to listen to my advice, because this client is not aligned with you.
I want you to say sternly “This is the price I charge for the work I do. If you do not like this price then you are welcome to find another service provider who will be able to help you.” Do not give excuses or reasons why, just stick to the facts. This kind of response allows others to see your confident in your services and what you provide.
I don’t want you to be missing out on making money with dreamy clients. I want you enjoying the work you do, while also creating authority and trust for your business with potential clients.
This way of thinking didn’t just come to me one day. I saw a mindset coach to get me here, and she has done wonders for how I approach situations with clients who like to bend or break the rules. I highly recommend you do the same, you will not regret it and your good mind set will flow into other areas of your life too!
Advice #4 – How to get paid
Before I started my business, I talked to people in my industry about how they get and attract clients and many of them shared with me that what they struggled with most wasn’t attracting client but actually getting clients to pay on time and for some at all.
They shared with me their strategy of 50% pay upfront and invoice the final 50% once the work was complete, yet still they said some clients didn’t pay until a year later.
This is actually mindblowing! How anyone can simply forget, or avoid to pay someone for their services seems crazy to me.
So here are a few of my strategies on how to get paid.
1. Ask for payment upfront via a booking platform. This leaves the awkqardness of asking someone to pay you off the table. Whew!
2. Get thme to sign a contract with work to be complete with payment schedules along side the work or with specific dates.
3. Do not start the work until payment is in your account or the client has sent you a screenshot of the successful transaction receipt.
These strategies will also show that you are a professional and someone who will not negotiate on the price of their services.
Advice #5 – Let go of the Time wasters
I need to tell you a story of the first and only client I had to let go. Why? Because if you’re like me. A kind person who attracts lovely people but also people who like to take advantage of your kindness. – this is me.
The client I had to let go seemed like a nice guy at first. He’d had a bit of a rough time getting his first website online and needed a professional to help him (this should have been the first red flag).
He asked for a quote and soon after sending it to him, he contacted me to barter the price, picking apart my quote to the thing that he wanted and saying that he didn’t need SEO so I can remove that from the quote.
I was confused why he’d want to cut corners but empathised assuming he was a little strapped for cash. He was a friend of a friend, so I felt obligated to help him out and give him “a mate’s rate” (this should have been the second red flag).
The project commences and he demands more and more from me but tells me it’s my fault that his website needs more work because I keep getting it wrong, and then says that he’s not paying the invoice (talk about gas lighting).
I stick it out and we’re getting close to finishing his website but the next invoice is due. We have a meeting to discuss progress and next steps for his website, everything going well until I raise that the next invoice is due. He gets angry, shouts at me and says that he’s not paying it.
My response? I very calmy say “you have two options, you pay the invoice and we complete the project. Or I give you the code files and you take the completed work to another developer.”
After many harassing and abusive calls and emails (I actually had to block his number to stop him calling every 5 minutes, no joke). He took his code files and went to another developer.
So please learn from my lessons, look out for the reg flags like:
- Bartering your quote at the start of a project, because they will do this throughout the project and will most likely not pay you at the end.
- Say you’re the problem, even though you’ve had other clients love everything you do. It’s not you, it’s them. Break up with them!
They will waste your precious time and amazing skills, and make your work no longer enjoyable. Instead you could be focusing on attracting clients who value your services, who are begging to work with you and appreciate all the details you put in.
Say “see ya later” to the time wasters, and “hey there” to your beautiful audience!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and my advice has or will help you with you business journey. It can be hard building a business, but I know you’ve got this!
If you need any help creating this wonderful website you’ve been creating, you are more than welcome to contact me, I’d love to help your business grow online.
If you liked this blog post please share this with others who may enjoy it. Also please find me on social media via @nataliefaithwebdesigns on Instagram or Facebook I share more great tips for your online business on these platforms.