In the earlier stages of building a business or organization, meetings and networking become a big part of your day. It’s been no different in my entrepreneurial journey. I’ve enjoyed many cups of coffee (in person and virtually) learning about other businesses in the Des Moines metro and sharing my passion for what I do. Although meetings usually go well, when we get down to business about my marketing services, there are times where I start to see at least 1 of 5 reasons they probably won’t work with me anytime soon. And honestly, I’m usually glad they don’t because I wouldn’t want either of us to feel as though we made a bad business decision. Whether you are thinking of sitting down with myself or another marketer, it’s a good idea to consider these before you sign the dotted line.
In a previous blog, I talked about the importance of having marketing in your business’s budget. Before you consider sitting down with myself or any other marketer, make sure you have a monthly amount you’re ready to invest (and yes, you definitely want to see it as an investment, more on that below). More times than not, I’ll get the question “what do you charge?” Although I have set packages with pricing, I usually reply with another question, “What is your budget?” If you don’t have that answer, any price you would be given will give you sticker shock. I’m always willing to talk through any size budget and see if we can’t find the best bang for your business buck, but it’s better to have a budget set first.
Time is a precious commodity. It’s why many of us choose to start our own businesses - so we can spend more time doing what we love or with those we love. When you start an organization, you spend most of your time helping it grow, including all the marketing and communication. If you’re still in the early stages where you have the time to post on social media, send out emails, or create flyers, then you may not be ready to hire it out, and that’s ok. When those tasks start to go into the late hours of the night or the weekend, that’s when it’s time to work with someone like myself. My job is to help you continue to grow while making sure you have time to focus on other parts of your business or simply have more personal time.
Maybe you’ve heard how important it is to be marketing your business. Maybe people have asked why don’t you have any marketing materials. Maybe you’ve never really seen the importance of marketing but feel like it’s something you’re “supposed to do” as a business owner. If that’s your reasoning for sitting down with a marketer, I can tell you now the conversation probably won’t go well. Just like you know the importance of your products or service offerings, marketers feel the same about what they are offering you. My goal has always been to provide business owners with budget-conscience and high-quality marketing that helps them achieve their business growth goals. If I’m being honest, not fully understanding the importance of marketing is the biggest reason I don’t want someone to work with me. I want them to trust me and value what I bring to the table. I truly want to provide the best service I can and want to create a working relationship, not just a freelance contract or doing something they "should be" doing. When starting with a new client, I become one of their biggest cheerleaders because if I can’t get behind what they are about, then the marketing won’t be effective.
Your Values and Beliefs
I’m the first to shy away from conflict if at all possible. However, I’ve learned over the years that’s not the healthiest way to build a strong relationship with my clients. Early in my business, I had someone reach out needing some writing help. I didn’t ask questions because at that point I was taking anything that paid. I ended up realizing it wasn’t something I supported and had to tell them so. Even though they were upset, it was a valuable lesson about not taking on any and all clients. It had less to do with where I stood - if I don’t support or believe in something, I can’t get behind it and it will show in my work. The emotion won’t be there like it should. The words won’t be right. That’s why on my Contact page, the last question I have is about this topic. You might have a healthy budget, but if we don’t align, it’s a waste of money AND time for both parties.
This is slightly different than the part about time mentioned already. My schedule is sacred, both for my business and my family. I have set hours that I work so that I can spend time with my family. If your working hours are different than mine, it doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t work together. Where the issue comes in is the mutual respect of those schedules. My office hours are 9AM-3PM Monday through Thursday, and 9AM-1PM Fridays. That’s it. That’s not to say I may not pop on when an idea strikes or to meet a deadline, but in order to have balance, these are the boundaries I set. If a client can’t respect that, we aren’t going to work well (or very long) together. It’s hard to learn but so valuable for the sake of mental health. I don’t always want to be in “work-mode”. It’s a big part of the reason I left the corporate world.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good conversation over coffee or lunch especially since Des Moines has so many great local spots. I also know that making the most of the other person’s time is also important. If you’d like to get together over coffee and get to know more about my business while I do the same for yours, great! I’m always looking to expand my network and have great people to refer to. If you truly think you’re ready to take the steps towards hiring out your marketing, then let’s get a meeting on the calendar.
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Thoughts from Me
Tips, advice, and more from my experience as a copywriter, marketer, and small business owner.