How to Get Clients to Respect Your Time

February 3, 2017

How do you get clients to respect your time as a creative entrepreneur? In today’s minisode, we’re sharing how to set those firm boundaries and expectations so that you can have positive relationships with your clients that still allow you to be in control of your own time.

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"If you're frustrated, you're choosing to feel frustrated. Make sure you're not projecting."
- Emily Thompson

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Braid Creative

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Almanac Supply Co.


Emily Thompson 0:02
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Kathleen Shannon 1:21
Hey, guys, it's Kathleen and Emily here today for minisode. We've got Caitlin with us. So Caitlin, what do you have for us today for today's minisode?

Caitlin Brehm 1:29
Okay, I have a question from the Facebook group. This is from Tamra. She says I'm a newbie to the freelance game, but I've had success so far. However, I'm constantly running into a problem with clients understanding my boundaries, particularly the times I am available for meetings. And then she clarifies later on that she does work a nine to six day job. So she says, so far, I have established guidelines and an intro packet, which all clients have on hand, I also have a link that they can use to schedule time with me at their convenience, but that also matches my business hours. Is there anything else I can do or should do, I'm really frustrated and almost feel like giving up because of the lack of respect for my time. Help,

Emily Thompson 2:12
oh, this is a real one. This is just hits, hits really close to home guys. Um, I had this problem I did a long time ago, like, maybe have some post traumatic stress from it.

Kathleen Shannon 2:29
I didn't mean to be shitty about that, like, I've never had this. Right, I will share after you talk Emily? Well, I have never had this problem.

Emily Thompson 2:39
Well, because because I like unraveled by business on my own. And having no previous experience, I learned the hard way about how to set expectations with clients. And that's from not having them. And having myself walked all over to a point where I had to create them just to like, have some self respect, let alone encouraging people to respect me as well. So, so this does come from setting expectations, which I see you have done from your intro packet. And I can't, the only thing I can say is you just have to keep telling people what your expectations are over and over again. So having it in your intro packet. And then also staying really in touch with your own feelings. Like if you're frustrated, you're choosing to feel frustrated, unless someone's really just being a dick to you. Your frustration is really all your own. I know a lot of people can see an an email sitting in their inbox as an expectation of them to reply to it immediately. And that's something that you've created in your own world versus it being an actual issue. So I think it's just one being very clear with your clients over and over again, because they probably didn't read the intro packet. Like that's just fact, probably didn't happen, you need to send it to home a couple of times over the onboarding process. also write everything in an email, not just in the PDF can can be helpful, so reiterating that in a different space. And as they request as they request meetings, continue sending them that intro packet, as well as the text and an email reminding them that this is part of how you work, I think can be the best way to to help with this issue. I think having some automation in there so that whenever they are signing up for a meeting, they see the hours that available that are available can be really helpful. But I think the biggest task here is twofold. One, continuing to repeat your expectations over and over again. But also checking in with your own feelings and make sure you're not projecting disrespect or frustration where it may not actually be present. Ooh,

Caitlin Brehm 4:45
I've also seen some people add their business hours to their email signature. So it's always there. Especially if you aren't available nine to five, or whatever the expectation typically is right

Emily Thompson 4:57
repeat the expectations everywhere. Like Have them on your website, put them in your, in your contract, put them in the intro packet that you send them four times during the onboarding process, I think I mean, you really cannot say these things often enough, and especially if you're in a place where you're where your business hours for your side hustle, or for your freelance gig is not regular business hours there. Even if you say it there, it's gonna slip their mind that you're not available when everyone else is. So just friendly Lee, reminding them as often as possible will help out of time.

Kathleen Shannon 5:34
Yeah, I love your advice Emily have just kind of assuming the best and that this client is probably emailing you or requesting time just forgetting or not having read the intro packet. I really love what you say about, you know, maybe even in your intro email, just saying next steps, schedule an appointment, use this link here. And here's where I want to add something in, you might just be incredibly transparent, and authentic and just say, hey, you should know I have a day job. So I'm not typically available during normal business hours. But here's whenever I can make myself available, or I can be available via email. And I think that this might also gain a new level of respect and just understanding between you and your client. And they'll realize, oh, okay, this is why she's not available. It's not just because she's trying to be rude or whatever it is that you think that they might be thinking about you, which like Emily said, could all just be projection, or your own guilt. So this is one of the things that you said, I'm really frustrated and almost feel like giving up because of the lack of respect for my time. I wonder if why you're really frustrated and almost feel like giving up is really, because you just don't have a lot of time, as someone who's working a day job and a side hustle, like props to you, it sounds like you're working really, really hard. Give yourself a little bit of grace. And then the final thing I want to say is maybe you change your process, I love meetings with my clients and getting face to face, I get a lot of information and energy out of it. But maybe you limit those meetings to just one and try and do everything else by email that you can fit in, in between breaks at your day job. That's just another idea. But work the way that works best for you. And yeah, just keep doing it. Don't give up. Don't give up. It sounds like you're doing a great job. And eventually, hopefully, you can make this thing that you're doing your full time gig and you can beat all hours of the day anytime.

Emily Thompson 7:39
Because that's the dream job. always available to clients.

Kathleen Shannon 7:45
Alright, Tamra, keep going.

Emily Thompson 7:49
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