Masterclass Execution Plan

What is a 'Masterclass Execution Plan'?

I know how difficult it is to implement the things you learn online. You probably read blog posts, watch webinars, make notes and then... never act on the things you learn. It's not your fault - you live a busy life and it isn't easy to make time for implementation!

Well, these Masterclass Execution Plans are here to save the day. If you don't have time to watch this month's masterclass, you can read the execution plan and find two things:

01. Masterclass Summary.
Below, you'll find a written summary of the main points from this month's masterclass. It's perfect for busy designers or people who simply don't like video!

02. Three Execution Plans (Aka. Your Masterclass Homework)
I don't just want you to read or watch the masterclass. I want you to take ACTION, and these execution plans make it easy. Simply watch the masterclass/read the summary, then use the three execution plans at the bottom of this page to take action.

Masterclass Summary

What is the masterclass about?

This month’s masterclass is called 'Pricing Strategy For Freelancers' and it's taught by me and my special guest, Danielle Joseph.

Click here to watch it!

Danielle Joseph is the freelance brand and web designer behind Function Creative Co. Danielle works with amazing clients like Screw The Nine To Five, and had lots of insight to share on how to find higher paying clients, when to raise your rates and when NOT to. She's the perfect designer to teach you about pricing strategy!

Now, on to the masterclass summary!


What was Danielle's pricing like when she started out as a designer? (1:10)

When Danielle started out, her pricing was all over the place. She was very 'willy nilly' and her pricing was low.

Danielle realized she couldn't 'wing' her quotes anymore because it wouldn't look fair or professional to clients who knew that other clients had been charged less. She needed a system to manage her pricing, so she wrote her prices in a basic Word document so she could refer to it each time she quoted a project. 

Nesha's pricing when she started out as a designer (3:30)

My first real 'client project' was a $150 blog design. I then went on to book five extra clients by offering a special $50 blog design deal on Twitter.

Yes, these prices are ridiculously low. But they were just right for the level I was at. 

Lesson: It's OK to charge low when you start out. You're not entitled to 'big money' because you feel that's what you're worth. 

Do you believe in the charge-what-you're-worth idea? (4:40)

Danielle believes in charging what you're worth but it comes with experience and confidence. 

When you're just starting out, it's OK to work for free or for a lower price if you're doing it to build your portfolio and build your clientele. If you feel you're getting high value from it, do it!

For example, Danielle did free work for a Yoga business when she first started out. It gave her something to put in her portfolio and they became a paying client!

How often do you raise your prices? How do you know if it's the right time to raise your prices? (7:33)

When Danielle starts to feel like she's getting plenty of client inquiries coming in and people are really excited to work with her, she takes it as a sign that she can up-level her pricing. 

She also gets a gut feeling when the time is right to raise her prices.

When your intuition is telling you that you work hard and deserve to be paid more for it, it's the right time for a price raise. 

Trust your gut. 

How to add more 'perceived value' to your packages (10:25)

One way to boost your prices is by adding small services to them.

Danielle noticed her clients didn't just want logos and websites, they wanted brand collateral items like social media graphics or business cards. 

Danielle added collateral pieces to her packages to increase the price and provide her clients with more value. 

She also added Style Guide's to her packages to boost the perceived value.

Big tip: If you already provide your clients with a Style Guide but you don't state it as a deliverable in your packages, add it to boost the perceived value of your service in your client's eyes. 

When potential clients see you offering 'more' in your package, they will be more willing to pay a higher price. 

The easiest way to boost the value (and price) of your packages is to add an ebook, training or workshop to the package! You only have to create it once and it gives you reason to boost your package prices. 

When you raise your prices, what are your fears? (15:25)

Danielle's biggest fear is that no one will want to hire her. But she doesn't only feel this way when she raises her rates - she felt this way when she initially listed her prices on her website.

However, listing her prices on her website was a total game changer for Danielle. 

Listing your pricing on your website...

  • Stops people from getting in touch with you if they can't afford you.
  • Cuts down of hours of communication with people who can't afford you.
  • Keeps things transparent and honest with potential clients.

Most clients will reach out to freelancers who LIST THEIR PRICES ON THEIR WEBSITE before reaching out to ones who don't.

Why you should ALWAYS list your prices on your website (16:22)

Why would a client want to reach out and invest time in having a conversation with you if they don't know if they can afford you?

When clients don't see prices, they sometimes assume it's going to be super expensive.

Transparency is the key when pricing your services! Don't hide your pricing from your potential clients. 

There are clients at every price point (24:10)

Danielle does factor in time when working out her prices, but she also factors in how much her clients value her service. 

There are clients at every price point. 

Some freelancers charge $100 and others charge $10,000 for the same service. What matters is the clients you're targeting and how much they value your service.

Improving your client experience before you charge more (25:38)

If you're going to charge higher prices, it usually involves adding more steps to your process, more technicality, more quality and a much better client experience. 

For example, a bride buying a $30,000 wedding dress from a high-end designer shop would probably not only get the dress but a glass of champagne, amazing customer service, a complimentary gift with purchase, and a gift on her wedding day.

The bride wouldn't expect this from a standard bridal shop charging $500 per dress, but she would definitely expect this kind of client experience for $30,000.

Remember: Your clients expect a better quality experience if they're paying higher prices. 

If you're not sure how to improve your client experience, you can learn how in my course, Organize & Automate.

How to work with amazing clients making big changes in the world (28:10)

Danielle has worked with amazing clients like Screw The Nine To Five.

How does she do it?

She makes herself a part of communities like the Screw The Nine To Five community. When you join smaller communities, especially paid ones, there is more opportunity for you to make yourself and your expertise known.


Your Execution Plan

01. List your prices on your website.
Stop making it hard for potential clients to get in touch with you. If they see they can afford you, they'll be shooting right into your inbox! If not, they'll leave your site and you will have saved yourself hours of communicating with someone who isn't going to work with you.

02. Add to the perceived value of your packages so you can boost the price!
Spend one day creating a product you can add to your packages to boost the value and the price. Think of what your clients need to do after working with you and create a product they can use to help!

For example, if you design websites, create an ebook on SEO, writing high-quality blog content or using Wordpress! 

If your product will help them on the next step of their journey, it will add a lot of value to your service in their eyes. It will also put your packages well ahead of your competitors!

03. Join a paid community.
One of the best ways to find high-quality clients is inside a premium membership.

No, that isn't a free Facebook group.

It's a paid membership where all members pay a monthly fee to learn something. Since everyone is paying, it means they instantly value their businesses more than the average business owner. They're high-quality clients-in-waiting!

Try these:

Masterclass: Pricing Strategy For Freelance Designers

 
 
 
 

In this month’s masterclass,  I talked with special guest, Danielle Joseph, the freelance brand and web designer behind Function Creative Co. Danielle works with amazing clients like Screw The Nine To Five, and had lots of insight to share on how to find higher paying clients, when to raise your rates and when NOT to. She's the perfect designer to teach you about pricing strategy!

Topics discussed:

  • What was Danielle's pricing like when she started out as a designer? (1:10)
  • Nesha's pricing when she started out as a designer (3:30)
  • Do you believe in the charge-what-you're-worth idea? (4:40)
  • How often do you raise your prices? How do you know if it's the right time to raise your prices? (7:33)
  • How to add more 'perceived value' to your packages (10:25)
  • When you raise your prices, what are your fears? (15:25)
  • Why you should ALWAYS list your prices on your website (16:22)
  • What is the value of your package to your client? (23:17)
  • There are clients at every price point (24:10)
  • Improving your client experience before you charge more (25:38)
  • How to work with amazing clients making big changes in the world (28:10)

Who is Danielle Joseph?

 

"I’m the face and creative behind Function Creative Co. – a one-woman creative design company. Function Creative Co was born in April 2014 and has been picking up speed ever since. It took me two full years to build up my business to a point where I felt comfortable diving in full time. But it really started even well before that.

I’ve always been a creator. Since I could hold a pencil in my hand, I was a maker of things. I wanted to be an artist, then a cartoonist. Now, after over 7 years of post-secondary education in marketing, communications + design, I’ve landed in the realm of creative designer, artist + maker.

I love to make things look beautiful, but it’s also important to me that every design decision has a purpose. Practicality is the name of my game. "

Visit Danielle's website

Follow Danielle on Instagram

 

Making Passive Income With A Digital Design Shop, With Lindsay Humes

 
 
 
 

About This Interview

Lindsay Humes is a Wordpress web developer and also runs a Wordpress template shop, White Oak Creative. In this interview, Lindsay shares how to get started as a web developer, how to make passive income with a digital design shop, and how to make good passive income without doing a big launch. 

Interview Breakdown

Learning web development on the job (5:40)

Self-teaching web development vs studying web development in school (6:56)

What etiquette should designers follow when using premade themes to create websites for their clients? (8:30)

What to do if you don’t want to code (11:32)

Customer support boundaries to put in place when starting a digital design shop (12:52)

The hardest thing about running a digital shop (16:38)

The best things about running a digital shop (18:23)

You don’t have to do a crazy big launch to make good passive income (19:53)

About Lindsay

 

Lindsay Humes is an art director and front-end developer, who crafts beautiful and dynamic brands for professional bloggers. Through her design shop, she sells affordable pre-made design solutions, including WordPress themes, blog post templates, logos and media kits. Lindsay fuses personal elements of her life as a female business owner with essays, videos, and tutorials in her blog.

Visit Lindsay's Website

Follow Lindsay On Instagram

 

Masterclass Execution Plan

What is a 'Masterclass Execution Plan'?

I know how difficult it is to implement the things you learn online. You probably read blog posts, watch webinars, make notes and then... never act on the things you learn. It's not your fault - you live a busy life and it isn't easy to make time for implementation!

Well, these Masterclass Execution Plans are here to save the day. If you don't have time to watch this month's masterclass, you can read the execution plan and find two things:

01. Masterclass Summary.
Below, you'll find of a written summary of the main points from this month's masterclass. It's perfect for busy designers or people who simply don't like video!

02. Three Execution Plans (Aka. Your Masterclass Homework)
I don't just want you to read or watch the masterclass. I want you to take ACTION, and these execution plans make it easy. Simply watch the masterclass/read the summary, then use the three execution plans at the bottom of this page to take action.

Masterclass Summary

What is the masterclass about?

This month’s masterclass is called 'Use Your Contract To Book High Quality Clients' and it's taught by my special guest, Annette Stepanian.

Annette is a lawyer for creative entrepreneurs. She combines her passions for law and small business to teach other creative professionals & entrepreneurs how to lay a proper legal foundation for their business.

In this masterclass, she's teaching you how exactly what to include in your design contract, why you shouldn’t be scared of using a contract, and how contracts can help you close the deal on high-quality clients and weed out the nightmare ones.

Now, onto the masterclass summary!


You’re listening to this because…

You’re scared of using a contract because you think it will scare clients from booking your services.

You’re a designer and you don’t have contracts in place. Or you have contracts, but you’re not sure if they say what they should to protect your business. 

Each time you sign a contract with a client, you want to feel confident that you’re protected and you’re perceived as a professional.

Why contracts are essential

Contracts make potential clients take you seriously. It makes you seem like a professional. When a client sees you have a contract and a plan in place if misunderstandings occur, it makes your client feel more secure and protected.

Contracts clarify each parties expectations. Your clients should be clear on what is included in your packages, so having a document that outlines this information will help keep you and your clients on the same page. 

Contracts also outline what you need from your client before you can start their project, such as website content, copy and a completed questionnaire. You can use your contract to explain the things you need. 

Contracts keep a record of your rights and obligations and protects your booty. If you don’t write things down you’ll forget what you agreed to! Therefore, in the event that there’s a misunderstanding during your project, you and your client can refer to the contract to resolve the issue. 

Contracts protect you in court. Judges are very reluctant to rule on a he-said/she-said argument. Judges love to see written proof of what you and your client have agreed to. 

If your client falls off the face of the earth, you'll have no ground to stand on without a contract and it’s very hard to take legal action without a contract.

How do I handle when a client asks me to do more than we agreed? (i.e. Scope Creep.)

Use your contract to specify the services to be performed. There are two ways to do this:

  • Create a proposal/estimate that is attached to your contract.
  • Outline your services in your contract itself.

Be really specific in your contract. Create a full checklist of the things you’re going to deliver. 

Think through your creative process and break it down into:

  • Deliverables
  • Due date
  • Fee

Perhaps identify what ISN’T included. This could be font licenses, photography, website copy etc.

How to outline additional services in your contract

In your contract, list the types of services that fall outside the scope of services outlined in the contract. 

Think about these questions:

  • What fee will I charge for these additional services?
  • Should I submit a new proposal for them?
  • Should we enter into a new contract?

Set out your payment terms

Decide on whether you charge hourly fees or flat fees. 

One popular way to charge for your services:

  • Charge a non-refundable deposit upon signing the contract.
  • Stagger the remaining payments with project milestones or periodic payments.
  • Services will be suspended until payment is received and final files will not be delivered.

Outline this payment structure in your contract and be really clear about what will happen if payment is not received. 

Now think about additional expenses you want the client to pay for, such as:

  • Stock content
  • Photography
  • Website copy
  • Fonts
  • Printing
  • Web hosting

You should specify that these expenses are the responsibility of the client inside your contract. However, you should remember not to incur these kind of expenses without the client’s permission first. 

What do I do if a client keeps asking for revisions?

In your contract, specify how many revision rounds are included in your project fee. 

Specify what counts as a revision.

Specify if there is a fee for additional revisions, the rate, and whether you will create a new proposal.

(If you have Annette’s contract for designers, it comes with a Change Request Form that clients can fill out when they need to pay for extra revisions.)

4 ways to use your contract to minimize client delays

Add an expiration date to your proposal/contract
When booking a new client, add an expiration date to your contract and proposal. This will provide a sense of urgency and push them to decide quickly whether they want to hire you or not. 

Identify client responsibilities
Be sure to tell them how important it is that your client provides feedback/payment etc in a timely manner. 

Automatic acceptance
Your contract could include a clause that states the client has X number of days to approve designs or the designs are automatically approved and you move forward anyway. 

Failure to respond
When a client fails to respond, services as suspended. 

Understanding Copyrights

A copyright does not protect ideas or facts, but the unique way in which ideas or facts are expressed. 

Any time you create anything, it’s protected by copyright laws. 

Who owns the copyright?

  • The author of the original work
  • Employer for a Work Made For Hire: work prepared by an employee within the scope of employment. For example, a designer in the graphic design department of Cosmopolitan magazine. Cosmopolitan owns the copyrights of your work, not you. 
  • A person to whom the copyright is legally transferred

Your contract should outline who owns the copyrights. If you’re a freelance designer, not an employee, you can:

  • Retain the copyright and license it’s use to your client
  • Give the copyrights to your client

If your give the copyright to the client, your contract needs to state that you’re allowed to included that work in your portfolio.

Your Execution Plan

Homework 01: Check if your contract includes what it should.

Go through your contract and check if it outlines:

  • Your payment terms
  • Everything that is and isn't included in your packages/services
  • How you handle extra revisions
  • How you handle additional services that are not already included in the client's proposal

Homework 02: Add expiration dates to your contracts and proposals.

When booking a new client, add an expiration date to your contract and proposal. This will provide a sense of urgency and push them to decide quickly whether they want to hire you or not. 

Homework 03: Check if your contract outlines who owns the copyrights to your work.

Has this month's masterclass helped you understand copyright? Great! Now check your contract and see if it outlines who owns the copyrights to your work. If not, decide if you want to retain copyright or give it to your client. Then include that information in your contract. 

Want a legit contract template?

I get it. Writing a contract is daunting and scary - I 100% agree. That's why I recommend buying Annette's contract for designers. It includes everything a designer needs, and even comes with a guide to help you understand all the legal terms!

Masterclass: Use Your Contract To Book High Quality Clients

 
 
 
 

In this month’s masterclass I talked with special guest, Annette Stepanian*, an Attorney At Law. Watch or listen to learn how contracts help you close the deal with high-quality clients, and exactly what to include in your design contract.

(If you're looking for a reliable contract template, look no further than Annette's contract for designers!*)

Topics discussed:

  • Breakdown of the main masterclass lessons (8:17)
  • In your contract, specify the services to be performed (14:%5)
  • In your contract, add your payment terms (20:55)
  • What do I do if a client says she loves the design then tears it to pieces? (31:30)
  • 4 contract strategies to help minimize client delays (33:01)
  • Understanding copyright (37:40)
  • Should you have a contract for free/volunteer work? (44:34)
  • Will approval forms frighten clients away? (47:24)
  • If I transfer the copyrights to my client, can I still use the work in my portfolio? (51:20)
  • Do you need a license to establish your copyright or is everything you create automatically copyrighted? (53:10)
  • Are all lawyers scary and crazy-expensive? (55:55)
  • Besides disappearing when it's time to sign the contract, what are other red flags that show a client may be a nightmare to work with?(59:24)
  • Listen to your gut when taking on clients (1:45:00)
  • Does Annette provide help for 'subcontracting' contracts? (01:02:45)
  • Do you send design approval forms after every round of revisions? (01:02:46)
  • Can I resend new contracts to clients who have already signed my old contract? Should I get them to sign my new contract? (01:03:39)

Who is Annette Stepanian?

 

"My name is Annette. I'm a lawyer for entrepreneurs.

I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to run a small business after successfully running my own creative business. Today, I combine my passions for law and small business to teach other creative professionals & entrepreneurs how to lay a proper legal foundation for their business."

Visit Annette's website

Follow Annette on Instagram

 

*All links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links. But don't worry - I'm only an affiliate for products I truly trust and love.