Sometimes it’s really tough to be able to estimate exactly how long work with a client will take.
Especially in the early years of your practice, and in particular when a client contacts you asking you to do something you know is within your competency, but you’ve never done for a (paid) client before, it’s almost impossible to assign an accurate amount of time to the project in front of you. Without the accurate amount of time, you will probably quote a way-too-low price for the work.
I call it “scope creep” – and thus (just in time for Halloween!) here is your tip to make sure you get paid, even when the scope of your work “creeps” past your estimate.
This is October. It appears the world has turned PINK in the name of breast cancer… as if someone spilled a lifetime supply of Pepto Bismol and it coated the world.
The breast cancer PWB (powers that be) have done a remarkable job with this branding of pink and breast cancer since their first year of pink in 1985. All that PINK does an extraordinary job of raising awareness for breast cancer research and its fundraising.
And thus – October spells “breast cancer.”
So what does that have to do with your advocacy practice?
You have a website. You are listed in multiple directories. Your Facebook page and Twitter feeds stay active. You spoke to the Rotary Club and your local Chamber of Commerce. You send an email newsletter once a month to your list of subscribers. And you blog your little fingers off every other week.
A good estimate of your marketing time spent might be 20 hours a month. A good estimate of your marketing costs might be an average of $200 a month.
It’s worth every penny and every minute because you stay busy with new and existing clients…. right?
Maybe not! How do you know?
A few months ago we looked at the FIRST question to ask a prospective client. That first question is actually a self-defense move; making sure you aren’t getting yourself into a problem with someone who has been advocate-hopping and avoiding payment.
Find that First Question to Ask a Prospective Client
The second question to ask them is their first name. Yes. Just their first name at first, so they won’t think you are trying to delve into their personal business, or their situation too far, before they are ready. Should the call progress and you know they’ll be comfortable sharing their last name, too, then it will be time to ask more.
And then – Question #3 – this is a question to help you too! Asking this question, and getting an accurate-as-possible answer can help you save time, money, and frustration.
What’s that question?
Years ago, I wrote on the APHA Blog: Just Can’t Throw the Switch? The Analysis of Paralysis
Wow! What a nerve I touched with the point — that sometimes we spend so much time worrying about what might happen if we attempt something big (like starting a new business) that we are too paralyzed to actually take the leap.
So let’s take a look at that leap…
Yes – it’s a biggie! And while it’s not to be taken lightly, there are some truths that might help you take the leap.
First – let’s define it: