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6 Client Boundaries to Keep You Healthy, Happy, Stress-free, and Profitable | The Infinite Clients Series

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So you made it to $100,000+ per year… Congrats. Too bad you made so many sacrifices that you're constantly stressed out, you're missing out on time with friends and family, and you resent your business.
 
The irony is that you became a freelancer because you hated your day job and you wanted to work for yourself. Now, you feel like you have 50 “little bosses”, and you hate your life a little bit more with each new client you gain.
 
If this sounds like you, it may be time to put boundaries into place to get to that sweet spot between hitting your income goals while also enjoying your life and business.
 
In this week's episode of the 6 Figure Creative Podcast, I give you 6 different boundaries you should have with your clients so you can actually stay happy, healthy, and profitable.
 
In this episode you’ll discover:
  • Maintaining mental and physical health while you're running a business
  • How to handle revision requests without losing your mind
  • Eliminating one of the most painful freelance experiences
  • How to keep your clients from taking advantage of your kindness
  • Boundaries for corporate/agency clients
  • Using boundaries to avoid scope creep
  • Avoiding stress with payment issues
  • How to learn more about building your client acquisition machine

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[00:00:00] Brian: Hello and welcome to the six figure creative podcast. I am your host, Brian Hood. If this is your first time ever listening to the show, first of all, hi, so glad to have you here. This podcast is for you. If you are a.

[00:00:08] Brian: Creative who offers freelance services and you want to make more money from those creative skills without selling yourself. That sounds like you you're in the right spot for my returning listeners or viewers on YouTube. This is a continuation of a series. We've probably the longest series we've ever had on the show That series is the Infinite Clients series. Side note and fun fact, I just now noticed we're like six episodes into this series. We've been calling it the Infinite Client series. Clients, not plural. imagine like the Groundhog Day, if you've ever seen the movie Groundhog Day, where it's just like the same damn thing over and over again.

[00:00:38] Brian: It's just that one individual client infinitely. That's not what the series is about. So I think hopefully we've gone back and corrected that to be the infinite clients series, but the whole concept of the series, if you're new is this. Each client that we work with, we should give such a great experience, amazing experience that they will always refer at least one new client to us and will always come back to us.

[00:00:57] Brian: If every single client you get comes back to you again and [00:01:00] again and again or never cancels if it's a recurring retainer, and every client refers at least one new client to you, you have infinite clients. Now that's an impossible goal, but it's one that we're striving towards in this series.

[00:01:09] Brian: and in this episode, we are obviously, if you couldn't tell by the episode title, we were talking about boundaries.

[00:01:14] Brian: And the reason this topic ties into the Infinite Client series is because we have to be happy, healthy, sane, in order to do the best work possible as creatives.

[00:01:23] Brian: And when we let our clients do anything that affects us mentally, or affects us emotionally,

[00:01:28] Brian: It hurts our ability, if not make it impossible, to do what we do at the highest level. So in this episode, we're going to talk through six client boundaries that you should absolutely implement with your clients. And you can and should absolutely use these boundaries. as long as these boundaries are fair, which they are, your clients will respect them. Your clients will value them. Your clients will not feel like it's a bad experience again, if they're fair. But the point of this is to make sure that you. The solo freelancer who's trying to make money right now can stay sane, happy, healthy, and creative for long enough so that you can actually continue to build and grow your [00:02:00] creative business.

[00:02:00] Brian: So side note about this episode this is actually a replay I'm doing. I'm just pulling into the series because it's so perfect with the series. I can either redo it all. Why would I do that when I already did the topic before, but this is recorded when I was in Thailand back in 2022. different cam, different mic, it'll sound different, look different if you're watching on YouTube.

[00:02:16] Brian: But the content is spot on perfect for exactly, I still feel the same way today about what I thought in 2022.

[00:02:21] Brian: and if you've already watched or listened to this episode before, just look at this as a reminder for you. If you listened before, Did you implement some of those boundaries?

[00:02:27] Brian: Which ones did you need to go back and redo? Which ones did you not implement well enough? Which ones did you fall off the wagon in the last year and a half since this episode came out? Listen from a new perspective because, you know, it's been about a year and a half since this episode came out.

[00:02:38] Brian: you're probably a different person now. So it's still worth re listening to because sometimes we need to be reminded more than we need to be taught new things. So this is your reminder for you existing listeners who've been listening for a while. And if you're new, this is being taught probably a couple of things that you're not doing right now.

[00:02:51] Brian: So here's the episode on six client boundaries to keep you happy, healthy, and stress free. I want you to do something for me.

[00:02:57] Brian: Look at your life right now, which is [00:03:00] depending on if you're heavily in freelancing or not. This is more for my people that are like already part time, strong part time or full time. Look at your happiness, look at your health, look at your stress level and answer this question. Does your business help or hurt those things?

[00:03:13] Brian: Does your business help your stress levels? Does your business help or hurt your health? Does your business help or hurt your mental health? Many business owners, especially as we get more and more successful as business owners, we tend to trade our mental health, our physical health, sometimes our emotional health and stress levels.

[00:03:29] Brian: We trade those things. We hurt those things in order to make more profit. And today I want to dive into ways that you can actually put boundaries in place in your business so that you can have both profit and you can have lower stress levels. You can have higher health, more time to work on yourself to be your best self.

[00:03:46] Brian: And the reason I want to talk about this is because there is no point in building a profitable, huge business where the sky's the limit. If we hate ourselves, if we hate our lives, if we, if we're stressed out all the time, if we don't get to travel the world sometimes, although I know not [00:04:00] every business allows you to work from a laptop and travel, but as creatives, we tend to just let clients walk all over us because we don't put these boundaries in place.

[00:04:09] Brian: That allow us to run our business in a way that is more healthy for us. It could be a lack of confidence. It could be a lack of experience. You just don't know to put these boundaries in place. Sometimes we just don't know what we don't know. And sometimes it's because we're working with clients that we might look up to.

[00:04:25] Brian: These are clients that are quote like bigger than us. I talked about this a little bit last week when you are lower on the totem pole than maybe. The clients that you work with, if you work with corporate clients, or you finally get that dream client, so to speak, where it's like a big client with a big budget.

[00:04:37] Brian: And the result of that is we just let them walk all over us. So if you are doing work, you're not getting paid for, which is very common in the freelance world. If you are feeling stressed out, if you're feeling overwhelmed, confused. If you're losing income, then this episode is absolutely for you. It's like a little bit of tough love.

[00:04:53] Brian: This is, this is, this is tough love Brian coming out. If there's a single problem, any problem in your business whatsoever, if there's ever [00:05:00] any problem, it is your fault as the business owner. This comes from the book Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. It's something that I've adopted in my business. It's something that I Begrudgingly adopted.

[00:05:09] Brian: I'll say that. It's not something that I love to do because it's way easy to say, Oh, that person screwed me over or that client's a nightmare or that's, Oh, this is such a stupid situation. I can't believe they dragged me into this. It's easy to blame others. But at the end of the day, you are the business owner.

[00:05:21] Brian: You are in control of everything that you do in your business. And so if there's a problem, If there's something causing stress, if there's something that you're not getting paid for because the client asked for something extra that wasn't included and you did it for free, that's your fault. It's not the client's fault.

[00:05:33] Brian: It's not anyone's fault except you. And you have to take ownership of this and make changes in your business, put boundaries into place so that you can have, again, both the profit, which is great, but also the life that you want to have and a business that brings you joy in life and something you wake up every day and can't believe you get to do.

[00:05:49] Brian: So here's a mindset shift we have to make before we can even before I can even give you these policies or these boundaries to put in place in your business. There is a mindset shift you have to make. And this is a mindset shift that many of us have not [00:06:00] made, especially for people that come maybe from a corporate background or a background where they had a job.

[00:06:04] Brian: When you are a freelancer, you do not have a boss. You have a client. And you can't fire your boss, but you can fire a client. You can't tell your boss how you're going to do things, but you can tell your client how you're going to do things because that's the beauty of being a freelancer. They don't have you on their payroll.

[00:06:20] Brian: You're not an employee. Therefore you get to dictate how things are done in your business. Now I'm not saying to become a tyrant. I'm not saying to become an absolute pain in the ass to work with, but I am saying put logical boundaries into place. So let's dive into this. Let's talk about what boundaries you can put into place since you actually have a business that you love working in and working on every day.

[00:06:39] Brian: So the first is work and reply hours. So I've kind of bundled these two together because work hours and reply hours, meaning that the hours of the day that you were responsible for replying to a client.

[00:06:54] Brian: I'm going to use the term boundaries and policies interchangeably in this because a policy is nothing more than a [00:07:00] boundary and a policy actually is a little bit better than a boundary because you can point to the policy. Oh, sorry. It's company policy. You can just point to the policy as to why you do things the way you do.

[00:07:09] Brian: And you can kind of shift the blame to the policy instead of saying, sorry, I have a personal boundary. Although you can and should be able to say that. I don't think there should be any shame around having personal boundaries. But for those of us that struggle with self confidence or the confidence of saying, I have a boundaries where I don't reply past 5 p.

[00:07:24] Brian: m. You can say, I'll have a policy. I don't reply to emails outside of work hours. So I'm going to talk about policies a lot. And when you hear me say policy, I just mean boundary. It's a policy slash boundary that your business has that you do not cross over. So let's talk about the work hours or the reply hours thing.

[00:07:37] Brian: Many of freelancers, we, we tend to because we can reply and work at all hours. We reply to our clients or work at all hours of the night. And the problem with this is you're always staring at your phone. You're, you're looking at emails coming in as they come in. And this is, this is coming from me, someone who I'm, I'm guilty of this as well, where if I am not really careful about this, if I, if for some weird reason, my phone isn't on do not disturb, which [00:08:00] it almost always is 24 seven, I see these emails come in.

[00:08:03] Brian: And what can happen is you see an email come in a request from a client or something that is wrong with the client, something that went wrong or some big wrench that was thrown in the. machine where you get an email at 9 p. m. on a Friday and now you're stressed out all weekend or you're working all weekend instead of being present with your family, with your friends, doing the things that you love over the weekend, you're instead working.

[00:08:22] Brian: Most of us, when we get these emails, like the initial gut response is, Oh, I got to keep my client happy. The client's always right, which is not the case. In most cases, you're not, you're not performing heart surgery. You're not trading stocks where like time is of the essence. You're not doing something that's life or death scenario.

[00:08:37] Brian: So. There is almost no reason to, to tackle something or reply to something outside of work hours, especially on the weekend, even if it's a genuine emergency, I don't want to sound like I'm being unreasonable, but at the same time, when we're freelancers, we have multiple clients, we have multiple people that we're working with.

[00:08:54] Brian: And when one client has a problem that they put on themselves that they're then trying to pawn off to you because [00:09:00] oh, we got to hit this deadline because you know, we didn't get to do these files in time. We didn't get you this, these revisions in time and now we got to get that we're rushed for everything.

[00:09:07] Brian: That's a, that's a problem from them. And we, as freelancers, we cannot take on all of our clients problems. Again, nothing is life threatening in these, in these scenarios. And if it is, then disregard what I'm saying here, but this is not life or death. It is almost always something that's. That can reasonably wait till Monday or reasonably wait till the next day where your actual business hours are and if you want to be, if you want to look at like a really good example of good boundaries or policies in the place, try walking up to a department store at 2 a.

[00:09:35] Brian: m. on a Friday because you need something. It's an emergency. And they're closed. Like, you don't expect them to open up the doors for you. You don't expect them to pick up the phone and run you out a pair of underwear. I'm saying underwear. That's because I had bally belly recently. Running out of an emergency pair of underwear because you, you failed to prepare.

[00:09:53] Brian: It's your fault, right? And so when the clients have problems that they bring to you, if it's within the boundaries and policies as a freelancer, you can [00:10:00] make those changes or those requests. You can do those things for the client. But in a lot of cases, those boundaries are not worth crossing. Those policies are not worth going against because the.

[00:10:09] Brian: The juice isn't worth the squeeze. Like we, we help a client out and then what do they want? They want more. They expect the same thing next time. And so that's where nightmare clients come from is when we give one thing, you give them as a cookie, they expect, I don't know. I don't even know what the saying is.

[00:10:20] Brian: Give an inch. They want a mile. You give them a mile. They want 10 miles. They just want more and more and more from you. Those clients are almost always not worth bending over backwards for the best clients I've ever had are reasonable. They have reasonable requests. They don't expect me to do things that are outside of.

[00:10:35] Brian: The hours of operation that I, that I have set as expectations and boundaries in my own businesses, and I expect the same for you. I want you to have a healthy work life balance, and it comes with setting work hours, thus reply hours. So here is the policy, or here is the boundary to put in place. Pick your work hours.

[00:10:51] Brian: What days and what hours do you work? And then don't check email outside of those hours. Put your phone on, do not disturb. You can set favorites on your phone. So your friends and [00:11:00] family's texts come through, but those emails shouldn't come through. You don't want to see those things unless it's during work hours.

[00:11:06] Brian: This is a game changer. It's like one of the first things that I would do with anyone that I am advising on like how to have a happier, healthier business. And that's pretty much it. This is a, this is an easy one. If you don't have it already to put in a place. To start having a happier healthier less stressful business So now let's move on to the second policy or boundary to put in place as a business owner These are under revisions I actually have two policies under revisions or two boundaries under revisions that I want to talk about here The first one or number two here on the list here is a formal delivery of revisions requests I don't know what the like technical term would be for this but any anything you're doing for a client There is almost always going to be revisions for it.

[00:11:41] Brian: They need changes made, they need something changed out, or they need something switched around, or they need something adjusted, and in my world, from mixing heavy metal music, there's so many little minute changes of like one decibel here, I need something turned up there, it's like there's a laundry list of things to do, they're not that hard to do, but there's just a lot of them.

[00:11:57] Brian: So what I developed and what I tell everyone to do is [00:12:00] create a standard process for how they deliver the revision to you. Funny enough earlier today, even actually this morning, my wife and I, when we woke up, we were at breakfast. My wife had 15 emails from one of her clients, 15 individual emails. None of them gave any context whatsoever.

[00:12:18] Brian: It was just 15 random emails with things in them that were something to do with the project she's working on with that client. We still don't know because it's like, we're 12 hour time zone difference from the U. S. right now, so we won't know till tomorrow, but this is what I'm talking about when it comes to getting a process in a place of like, how do we expect as freelancers, how do we expect our, our input from our clients to come in, and we need to give that to our clients to make it Because we want them to win.

[00:12:42] Brian: We want our clients to win. We want this to be a win win. But we also need to make this easy on ourselves, because the harder our client makes this for us, the longer it's going to take for the entire project. Because in the example of my wife today, if this would have been something that was set up ahead of time, where the client knew how to deliver revisions in a way that was clear, [00:13:00] obvious, helpful, and all in one place with context, There would not be a delay.

[00:13:03] Brian: Now my wife has to wait for the reply from her client in order to even know what these revisions and these 15 emails were all about. So what I would like you to do is create a template or process for your client to follow. And if there is some sort of tool that makes this easier, sign up for that tool, no matter what the cost is.

[00:13:19] Brian: There are tools like, obviously I have file passes when my company's that's. That's audio specific. So if you're a music producer or doing any sort of audio collaboration, that's a wonderful tool for collecting revisions for going through revisions for collecting payments. Wonderful tool, but there are other tools that are out there for other kind of verticals.

[00:13:33] Brian: If you're in video, there's one called frame. io. This is similar to file pass, although it's more specialized in video. Obviously Google docs is like the stride, the tried and true for a lot of collaborations for written stuff. Find a tool. And a process and have your client follow that, but, but don't make it too difficult.

[00:13:48] Brian: Like for, for me, for mixing stuff before file pass existed, I just had a template. I sent my clients that was like a word doc template and it just had how to align your revisions the specific way that I wanted made things go so much faster [00:14:00] for me. It was easy for them to do. It didn't require them to do a lot of technical things.

[00:14:03] Brian: It was just like arrange your revisions in this specific way. And send them to me when you're ready. So that's the second policy or the second boundary to put in place is the policy for how do you expect as a freelancer to have revisions sent to you in a way that's clear and obvious what you need to do so that you can complete the work easily and on time without back and forth on clarifying things and without getting 15 emails on a Thursday morning when your client's now asleep.

[00:14:29] Brian: Now let's talk about the third boundary, the third policy to put in place. And that is an obvious one that some people don't have in place. I think it's worth At least considering this is not a wholehearted requirement, but it's the number of revisions allowed. Every business is different. So this is not a blanket statement for all of you.

[00:14:44] Brian: This is just the way that I've done things in the past. And it came from a nightmare client that I had. So like some of us, we have to learn the hard way and that's okay. So I had a client I sent my files to for the first mix in my world. It's like, you're sending mixes of clients for them to listen to, to review.

[00:14:59] Brian: And [00:15:00] They had a bunch of revisions to do. It was an exorbitant amount of revisions. It was sent the way I requested, which is nice, but it was still a lot of stuff. And I did all the changes. I sent them back and they sent another huge list of revisions for round two. I sent them back again. They sent another huge revisions list of round three.

[00:15:17] Brian: Now, here's where the things started falling apart around round three, definitely around four, then around five, they started asking for changes that negated what we did before. They started asking for changes that were. The exact opposite of what they asked for before. They started asking for changes that they missed before because they didn't give me all the revisions they wanted before.

[00:15:34] Brian: It was an absolute nightmare. So, after this client, which I never worked with again because they were just, they were just one of those clients. We all get those clients. If you've done this long enough, you've gotten those clients. I'm putting air quotes here. I never worked with him again, but it did allow me to learn the hard way that I had to put a policy in place for the number of revisions, and this is different for all of you, but I put that number at three rounds of revisions.

[00:15:56] Brian: I found that after three rounds, meaning I send you your files, [00:16:00] you send me one round of revisions. I send you those second files, you send me a second round of revisions. I send you the third files. You send me a third round of revisions at that point, anything past that point, it is, I wouldn't even say diminishing returns.

[00:16:11] Brian: It's no returns. We're going backwards at that point because you're asking for either really nitpicky things that aren't going to make any difference whatsoever, or you're going to start negating what you asked for before. But the only exception here is I actually allowed, if I mess anything up, I'd go unlimited revisions.

[00:16:25] Brian: Like if I genuinely, like if I had something that was missing or I had muted something on accident in the audio world, that can happen sometimes you forget, you have like an extra channel muted that you didn't mean to. In these cases, I'm going to fix stuff. I'm not going to charge for that. But I had a set amount of revisions that I gave them.

[00:16:39] Brian: And I said, and this is communicated ahead of time, anything past that point, I charge for. And I communicated that before we ever started the project. And they agreed to that. So that when it came time for them to pay extra for more revisions, if they happened to need them, which was really rare, they knew they were going to have to pay for them.

[00:16:57] Brian: This also created a really interesting unexpected [00:17:00] effect, and that is whenever we got to that third round of revisions, and I communicated this is the final round, this is the last one I will be doing before you have to pay for more, they took that last round very seriously, so they knew not to ask for things that could completely mess the project up, and they would send all the little, they would make sure they had everything in there and wouldn't be sending Rounds three, four, five, and six just stream of conscious as they're going through and listening to their music.

[00:17:22] Brian: So again, we're all different here You're not gonna pretend that you're gonna do things exactly like me But having a set amount of revisions that you allow for a project and you communicate it ahead of time this is a game changer when it comes to wrapping up a project because one of the most tedious parts of a lot of freelance businesses is the revisions process and as long as you set the boundaries and put these things into place this part just gets So much easier almost to worse It's enjoyable because you're really starting to see the final product take shape the way the client envisioned it without the client getting in their own way.

[00:17:51] Brian: So now we're on to policy number four or boundary number four, and that is systems and process boundaries. This one is more common for those of you that work maybe with [00:18:00] agencies or with corporate clients, and the mistake is really. You're allowing them to dictate how you do things. And let me kind of elaborate.

[00:18:07] Brian: I'll tell you a story. So this goes, goes back to my wife. I don't know if she, I don't know if my wife, my wife listens this podcast as much as I think she does because she doesn't seem to complain when I bring these stories up, but I'll tell the story about her. Anyways, she was working with a client and that client was an agency and they had hired her to do some work.

[00:18:22] Brian: And the problems arose pretty quickly because they were dictating to her how she worked, when she worked, what she used to work, which systems, which processes, which software, they were giving her everything that she should be using to work within their agency. And that is not freelancing. That's a part time job.

[00:18:40] Brian: They were looking for a part time employee, somebody that they could dictate how things are done their way. A freelancer does not work within another business's systems. That's not how a freelancer works. And again, this is. If you want to get into the legalities of this, I'm not the guy to talk to. There are plenty of specialists that can talk to you about like, what is a real employee versus a contractor or freelancer.

[00:18:58] Brian: But as freelancers, we are the [00:19:00] ones that create our processes because we have multiple clients. And so what can happen in these sorts of scenarios is a client takes over your life because you're having to work with in all their systems and then all your other clients. What are you supposed to do? Do you work within the systems?

[00:19:14] Brian: Like a part time employee in this business where you're working within their software, their logins, their, their everything. And then for your other clients, you're working within your own systems. That's a nightmare. It's not worth it. And so ultimately my wife had to fire that client, which again, it's even weird thinking about that because in that scenario.

[00:19:31] Brian: It was like they had hired her and they were her boss because they were dictating all the things to her But at the end of the day she had to fire them or quit the job Whichever way you want to look at it We don't want to set any of our freelance businesses up that way and I don't want you to set up your freelance business That way so make sure when you are working with the client Especially larger corporate clients that you are the one dictating how the processes are done Now you can work within processes like that If you want to do it that way, but it becomes really difficult to scale things out and work on multiple clients when every single client has their [00:20:00] own processes, their own systems, their own softwares, their own logins that you're having to figure out.

[00:20:04] Brian: And now you're juggling like six different clients and six different pieces of software, different login. Like that's, that's beyond the scope of what most freelancers can handle. So again, this can be wildly different from person to person from niche to niche, depending on what you offer, what kind of clients you typically work with, but determine what is reasonable for you.

[00:20:20] Brian: What boundaries do you not cross when it comes to systems and processes for how you do things? And when a client comes to you and tries to cross those boundaries, what do you do? Do you fire the client? Do you let the client say, Hey, no, I'm sorry. I work within my own systems and processes. And if it, if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out.

[00:20:37] Brian: But in a lot of cases, again, it's the juice is not worth the squeeze. You take a client on, they take over your life. It becomes a nightmare. The stress is there. Even if the money's there, the stress levels, they just aren't worth it. They aren't worth it. They are not worth it. So that's the fourth boundary or the fourth policies is to put things in a place to keep.

[00:20:53] Brian: Someone from taking over your systems and your processes as a freelancer. All right So now we're on the fifth boundary or fifth [00:21:00] policy to put into place as a freelancer to have a happy healthy profitable business And this is a boundary around scope creep freelancers, especially creatives We're bad at this like we we send the client like a quote or a price for the project.

[00:21:13] Brian: We do the project They start asking for things that were not part of the project And we start doing that work for them without charging This is again, it's kind of a mindset shift as a freelancer. You are not a charity. You do not owe your client any free work whatsoever, no matter what they say. And if they say that you owe them free work, that is beyond the scope of what you price them on.

[00:21:33] Brian: They were either gaslighting you, which is really toxic, or you did not properly communicate ahead of times, which again goes back to you as a freelancer. It's your fault for not communicating properly to your client. So here's where we're going a little differently here. And that's creating a boundary process.

[00:21:45] Brian: Realistically, you can probably create a boundary process. For every one of these things I've talked about today. But this is the first time I'm talking specifically about a boundary process. And that is what do you do? What's the process you follow? What steps do you take when somebody tries to do ask for something that's outside of the scope of [00:22:00] work?

[00:22:00] Brian: The thing that you agreed upon ahead of time. Well, that's that's where we get into first. Making sure you create a crystal clear client agreement. I don't have, I don't think we have an episode about this, but if you go to our show notes on sixfigurecreative. com slash 226, that's episode 226 show notes.

[00:22:14] Brian: There's a YouTube video there that is me talking through how to create a client agreement. And this is just a really easy, simple client agreement. It's in plain English. In most cases, this is good enough. Again, I'm not talking legalese here. You can hire a lawyer if you want to go down that route. But most, the most important point of a client agreement is just making sure both sides understand what's included and what's not included and what's the price.

[00:22:33] Brian: What is the scope of work and what is not the scope of work? If you send these things and they sign it and agree to it ahead of time, this eliminates most of the issues. So let's just assume you've got that taken care of. Let's assume you have some sort of client agreement that they're agreeing to where the scope of work is laid out, they've signed it.

[00:22:48] Brian: And they've agreed to that. The next step of this process boundary or boundary process is that when they ask for something outside of the scope of work, you have created a template. If it's an email or in person, you just have a standard response for any [00:23:00] time they ask for something outside of the scope of work.

[00:23:01] Brian: So it's, they've asked me for something that is outside of the scope of work. I just load that template up in my CRM and I send it off and it can, I'm not going to try to pretend to write something from scratch here, but it's something like, Hey, I understand your request here. Okay. Just so you know, this is outside of the scope of work outlined here linked to the agreement.

[00:23:17] Brian: If you would like me to do this, I'm more than happy to do it. It would cost blah, whatever the money would be, or it would cost approximately x, y, or z, or to give you a cost on this, I would need to know x, y, and z before I can give you a price. But let me know if you would like to move forward with this.

[00:23:30] Brian: That's, that's essentially it. It doesn't have to be anything crazy, but it's professional. It is a set boundary. It's a policy, and it's something they agreed to ahead of time. So anytime someone asks for something outside of the scope of work, follow this process. And this is where we can start to shift the blame a little bit.

[00:23:45] Brian: If they push back at all, you can say, I'm so sorry, company policy, I don't do anything outside of the scope of work. Again, the wonderful thing about company policy is you can kind of just shift the blame to that. And people are like, Oh, that makes sense. It's company policy. So now we are on the sixth and final boundary or policy to [00:24:00] put into place.

[00:24:00] Brian: And this is actually kind of a collection of different things that I kind of want to talk about, but it's all under the same thing. It is payment policies, because this is where some of the biggest stress can come from. This is where the The biggest hurt to your bottom line, your profit can come from is around payments.

[00:24:14] Brian: And a lot of freelancers mess this part up. So I feel like it's something worth exploring in a conversation. And this is a great episode to do that. So let's talk about the different kind of payment policies you should have in place. You should have a policy around deposits, if and when and how they're done.

[00:24:27] Brian: Payment schedule, when do they pay, what do they pay, how often do they pay. And then refunds, and that specifically is like, is the deposit refundable or not? And is, are any of the payments refundable or not? I'm not saying that you have to do refunds. I'm just saying that you need to have a policy in place about these things.

[00:24:42] Brian: Deposits, payment schedule, and refunds. The tendency for most freelancers that I've seen and creatives as a whole is we tend to make this too convenient for our clients because we, we just want to bend over backwards because we can't believe that we get to do what we do for a living. So I'll just, you know, I'll get, I'll take payment whenever you got it, you know, whatever, like.

[00:24:58] Brian: You can just pay when you got the money. Like [00:25:00] we just tend to make this so convenient for them without even thinking twice about our own businesses. And again, you, you run a business, not a charity. And we have to take this approach as responsible business owners that we have to have policies in a place that help our business and keep it healthy and profitable.

[00:25:13] Brian: Because I'll tell you now, like you don't want to be the person who is waiting around for a client to pay you for work you've already done. And this hurts your business. And now you have to go get a day job somewhere, which takes you away from your, your core business because you need the money. We have to take a loan out, and now you're waiting for your client to get money to pay you so you can pay your loan again.

[00:25:33] Brian: This is a cycle of seeing multiple people get into it. It is stressful. It is terrible. It is not fun, and it can hurt our cash flow. Just look at when you get paid. For example, if the client pays you up front for work that you have not done yet, You have been paid before you have any work completed. If you wait to get paid after you do all the work, then you are working for however long before you ever get the payment.

[00:25:55] Brian: Which business is healthier? It is always the business in a strong cashflow position, meaning they are [00:26:00] taking payment, they are not going into into service debt whatsoever, and then they are doing the work after they've been paid. This is just basic cash flow management, but a lot of freelancers are in the position.

[00:26:10] Brian: I'm not, not all of them, not every freelancer. I'm not going to pretend that every freelancer can do this, but a lot of freelancers are in the position where they can command the client to pay you before the project even starts. And instead we take the payment after the project is completed. It's terrible for cash flow.

[00:26:24] Brian: So if you are in a position in your business where you can take the payment first before completing the work, which is the place that I was in my entire, for most of my career, I had to learn the hard way on that one as well. But where I would take payment, I would get the full pay and I would do all the work and then I would deliver the files.

[00:26:39] Brian: I never did work that I wasn't already paid for in advance. I still do the same exact thing today. None of my businesses are a service first and then cash after. Everything, even my software companies, my coaching business, freelance, everything is set up to where I'm getting paid first and then completing the work.

[00:26:54] Brian: So that's just something you have to determine, put the boundary into place of when you get paid and how the cashflow comes in [00:27:00] and then stick to it as often as you possibly can. I'm not, again, even in the world where I was getting paid upfront, there was occasions where I was working with record labels and they were notoriously slow with payments.

[00:27:09] Brian: I just had to suck it up there. And that was where I would get paid after the project was done. But in every other case, I took the payment upfront. Next is the policies around deposits. Do you take deposits? First of all, in which I almost always encourage people to do if you are someone that you're scheduling things in advance where you're putting clients on the calendar ahead of time, especially for those of you who are in high demand and booked up, take deposits and if you can command it, if you have the clout to, if you're in the position to, to not offer refunds on these deposits, that can be helpful because nothing is worse than getting a client on your calendar.

[00:27:39] Brian: They take up Two weeks, three weeks, sometimes even a week. And then they cancel last minute with no refundable deposit. Now you have a blank in your schedule, you have time off and you have no work to really complete during that time. That's a bad place to be. So what, this is something I learned the hard way on where I had a client take a week and a half of my time, booked up on my calendar three months in advance.

[00:27:57] Brian: And then the day before they canceled and I had no income for [00:28:00] those that period of time. So what I started doing is I took a 40 percent non refundable deposit where the client paid me. And that was the requirement I had to put their dates on my calendar. And then, when the dates came, if they cancelled, which happened occasionally, maybe one or two people a year tops, if that happened, they would lose the dates and I would not refund their deposit.

[00:28:18] Brian: I did make a couple exceptions here or there to be a reasonable person, to where, if something came up, death in the family, something unexpected happened. I would move the deposit to new dates to where I at least got the other 60%. I was willing to do that. But that was even more rare than someone just outright canceling because the band broke up or some drama happened where the, in my world, it was kind of like the vocalist would cheat on the Girlfriend of the drummer and then all this drama would cause the band to break up or the Singer would get kicked out and these are real things that have really happened I'm not going to talk too much more about these So there's the other area within payment policies to have some sort of boundary or policy in place is deposits If you can have some sort of deposit boundary in place So that you're not setting aside time on your calendar for clients that just flake out on [00:29:00] you.

[00:29:00] Brian: And the final is your refund policy. Again, I'm not saying to allow refunds, but you need some sort of policy, preferably one on your client agreement that they sign and understand. Because again, nothing's worse than doing all the work for a client. They're unhappy. They're not even willing to let you change things up and they demand a refund again.

[00:29:16] Brian: This should be extremely rare. If it's not rare, then there's probably something wrong in the fulfillment stage or the communication of what the expectations are. But again, it's just better to have this in place so that there's never a question. These boundaries are, should be here to make our businesses happier, healthier, more profitable, but we don't need to do it at the detriment of.

[00:29:34] Brian: Throwing our clients to the wolves. We don't, we're not doing this to screw over clients. We're just doing it to protect ourselves, because if you've listened to this podcast for a while, I always talk about how there is no separation from us as human beings, our personal lives, our personal needs, our personal wants, our personal desires.

[00:29:48] Brian: There's no difference between that In our freelance businesses, it's not like Apple where you have thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of individuals that make up the full company. So the needs and desires and wants of one [00:30:00] individual, really not that significant when it comes to the needs and wants of the entire company.

[00:30:04] Brian: But as a freelancer, there is no difference between you as a person and your company. You are a one man, one woman band. And so we have to protect that. And that's why we have to have these boundaries in place, boundaries around work hours or reply hours, boundaries around formatting and delivering revisions so that you're not confused all the time about what the client is asking for.

[00:30:23] Brian: You're not getting 15 emails from your client in one night, the boundaries around the number of revisions you do boundaries around systems and processes so that the client's not taking over your life and business boundaries around scope creep. So you're not doing free work and you're not filling a bad around charging for work that they're asking for outside of scope.

[00:30:40] Brian: And then. Boundaries around payments policies around payments. These are all really important parts about having that business that serves you as a freelancer And as long as you keep keep all these boundaries all these policies fair Then your clients will not resent you for them And that's I think something that most freelancers don't understand is you can do things like this You can put boundaries in the place and people will respect you They don't [00:31:00] expect you to work for free.

[00:31:00] Brian: A lot of times the client's making your life a living hell, not because they're mean people, not because they're bad people, not because they're even a nightmare client. A lot of times it's because that you put no boundaries into place. So they didn't even know what was reasonable and not reasonable for them to ask for.

[00:31:15] Brian: So all I ask for you is take action on this, look to your business and figure out which of these boundaries need to be at least analyzed, revised, changed, added in order to make your business happier, healthier, less stressful. And finally, just to kind of wrap this episode up, if you missed last week's episode, where I talked about building a client acquisition machine, you really should go back and listen to that episode.

[00:31:36] Brian: And in that episode, I outlined all the different parts of a client acquisition machine. And I also announced that I was opening up my coaching program, clients by design. I was opening up 15 spots for that program. Again, that was, I recorded that yesterday. Episode hasn't even come out yet. I don't even know if any of the spots are left at this point because I expect them to fill fast.

[00:31:53] Brian: I expect to get hundreds of applications for this because the last time I opened up this, I got hundreds of applications for this. So it is [00:32:00] worth going to six figure creative. com slash clients and seeing if any spots are available. And if it's something that you're interested in, something you need help with when it comes to getting more clients, at least apply for it.

[00:32:11] Brian: And if you were accepted, I'll let you know if it's not a good fit. I'll also let you know. And before you even just go blindly to that page and join this program, it is not for everybody. Listen to last week's episode. Listen to even understand what goes into building a client acquisition machine to see if it's something that you're even ready for.

[00:32:26] Brian: And then, if you are, after you listen to that episode, from episode 225, If you are ready, then go to six figure creative. com slash clients. Watch the video on that page and apply. Alright, so that is the uh, replay episode for Sick Client Boundaries.

[00:32:39] Brian: Hopefully you found that helpful. Hopefully you take a couple things away. If you were reminded of a few things that you have fallen off with or that if you spotted a few things that you know you're missing. Go implement those right now. Next week's episode will be the final episode of this Infinite Clients series.

[00:32:53] Brian: If you're not enjoying this series, then thank God it's almost over. And if you've been enjoying the series, all good things must come to an end. next week is obviously episode [00:33:00] 299, which means we're gearing up for the 300th episode of this podcast. I'm not really one for big celebrations.

[00:33:05] Brian: We kind of did a big, weird, fun episode for episode 100. Episode 200, I literally said, This is no different from all episodes because sometimes you just got to get into a routine, focus on the process, not the result. And probably going to be in the same kind of ballpark for episode 300. so maybe it's going to be a new series.

[00:33:21] Brian: Maybe we have more guests on starting episode 300 on. I have some ideas, but if you have some feedback or something you want to send me, just email me podcast at six figure creative. com. Love to see in your emails,

[00:33:30] Brian: but either way, thank you so much for listening to the six figure creative podcast.

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