May 24, 2022
And it’s even worse than that because you don’t just have one bad boss you’re dealing with, you have several bad bosses.
That’s NOT why you went into business, to feel like a disgruntled employee.
This is a reality for so many designers we meet…they are even embarrassed to tell us at first what is really going on (the warts and all version). And they feel super scared because this is not the vision they had for starting their design business.
This can be especially true if you’re going through a growth phase in your business. The projects are getting more complicated and you haven’t had the tools (or the confidence) to implement boundaries and manage projects successfully.
This is exactly what happened to us in the early stages of our design businesses, and we felt like we were drowning.
Once we figured out a way to manage even the most demanding clients with ease, the most difficult aspect of our business became one of the things we enjoyed the most.
This system not only helped us get back control, but it also made us look like the ultimate professionals, meaning that we attracted higher quality, higher-paying clients.
A system that not only we loved, but our graphic design clients loved it too (even the tricky ones!). Our clients felt seen, heard and safe as we guided them successfully through projects time and time again.
Want to know what the system is? Yeah you do! It’s a client portal!
We use Trello for our client portal and we’re spilling the beans about exactly what to include in a client portal as part of the Thrive Summit which is happening May 28-29 2022, Melbourne, Australia time.
It’s absolutely free to attend and if you watch our session you’ll get an extra special free gift from us….it’s sooo good, we promise! (AND it’s something we usually only provide to our 1 to 1 clients and Academy students.)
Kris & Don xo
You can listen to the full episode by clicking the player below or by searching for Design and Prosper on your favourite player.
[00:00:00] Kris: welcome everybody.
[00:00:08] Don: Yes. Welcome to the design and prosper podcast.
[00:00:12] Kris: So we’re talking about this issue, that many, many designers and creative service providers have. Client management problems. Clients are going rogue. Clients are difficult. Clients are a pain in the bum, like why, why, why? We get asked, what am I doing wrong in my business? That this just feels so awful managing difficult clients just feel so awful. So, yes, we want to talk about that today. So, so important.
[00:00:40] Don: Want to help you wrangle those clients. Be the CEO of your business and stop them from being the boss of you. So it’s a very important topic that we’ll be chatting about
[00:00:50] Kris: Yes. And another thing we wanted to talk about is connected to that. So we’re going to unpack that a little bit today, but we’re going to go even further at an event coming up this weekend. So if you happen to be listening to this prior to the 28th and 29th of May, you have an opportunity to attend the thrive summit.
[00:01:12] Don: Yes, it’s a beautiful two day summit. It’s the thrive summit 2022. From passion to profit. It’s a free summit, goes over two days for creators who want to start and grow a profitable full-time online business. We are one of the 15 plus guest experts that will be there to help you. So you don’t even have to have a business yet. You don’t even have to have an idea of what you wanting to do in business yet. You just have to have that passion and that desire to start a business. And there are going to be so many, beautiful experts, 15 plus like I said, there, who are going to help you and introduce you to ways to get started and not only get started, but a beautiful path to be profitable. So it’s really exciting that we’ve been invited to be a part of such a cool event.
[00:02:00] Kris: Yep. And we are giving away at this event information that we usually only share as part of our design and prosper academy, which is a business course for designers. And this is, this is gold, what we’re sharing. We really want you to show up because it’s free, and you will also get a beautiful surprise for free from us, a gift from us as well, you show up to the summit.
[00:02:27] Kris: good. And we’re going to touch on it a little bit today, but we’re going to go into much, much more detail, and we’re going to help you solve this problem. This really big problem of
[00:02:37] Don: Yes.
[00:02:38] Kris: and projects is feeling really difficult to manage.
[00:02:41] Don: Yeah, absolutely. So today’s a little teaser of what you will get, of what we will unpack on the weekend. So just those dates, again, it is may 28 and 29, 2022. And I’m not exactly sure of the, of the times what we will pop the link in our show notes, so that you’ll have access to sign up with the design and prosper link. The goodies that we just talked about with regard to Kris and I, remember there are 15 plus experts. So if you register and show up for this event, you are likely to get 15 plus lots of goodies for free. So it’s really, really worthwhile. All right. So let’s chat about it.
The number one thing that you need for seamless client management to wrangle those clients, the number one thing, surprise to all of the community that know and love Kris and I, the number one thing is boundaries. Now there’s a trick with boundaries. How do we deliver, maintain and manage those boundaries? So there’s a really special tool that we use in our business and we get all about academy members and one-to-one clients to use, and that is a client portal. That’s how we wrangle and manage and maintain boundaries. That’s the key issue.
[00:04:02] Kris: Yes. A client portal is just everything for seamless client, project management. And back in the day, before there was amazing applications like Trello and click up and notion and, um,
[00:04:16] Don: Monday.
[00:04:18] Kris: ones. Yes. So many, um, we didn’t have those options. But
[00:04:23] Don: Yeah.
[00:04:23] Kris: my business, we actually paid an absolute fortune to have a custom portal built from scratch within our website.
And it was pretty clunky, but it still worked so effectively and it gave us
[00:04:36] Don: Yeah.
[00:04:36] Kris: that upper edge. It gave us that extra level of professionalism.
[00:04:42] Don: Yeah, absolutely. And in my business showing my age before we moved to client portals, we had whiteboard and it was very, very extensive and really clunky, chunky client folders. So all of that’s in the past and you now have access to the most sophisticated technology there is out there to manage and maintain these beautiful boundaries, because to quote BrenÃ© Brown, when we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.
And for Kris and I, that goes across the board. That’s how we can feel. If we do this with a client, that’s how the boundary blurred line can make us feel with our client. But when we don’t hold ourselves true to a boundary, or we say no with confidence, we then feel really bad about it for ourselves as this resentment kicks in. So order to honor ourselves and our clients, these boundaries have to be honored. And the only way to keep them all in check is to have them front and center. And that’s what the beautiful client portal does. It really keeps all of the boundaries in one place, keeps it really, really clear. Makes sure that you are being held accountable for the things that you have to do as a designer. That’s what you’re being paid for. And it makes sure your client is being held accountable for the things that they have to do. The milestones that they have to reach in order for you to do your job, to the best of your ability.
[00:06:15] Kris: Um,
[00:06:16] Don: win-win.
[00:06:18] Kris: yeah. And if you think about client problems, the sorts of things that happen. So they’re asking for too many changes. Or they’re sending you lots of convoluted information here, there, and everywhere, or they’re contacting you at all hours, or what, what are the other painful things that happen? They are changing the scope of the project. It’s just sort of, they’re adding in a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and it’s getting swept away or there might be timing issues like your schedule is now no longer aligning with their schedule and all the rest of it. And it’s just becoming a big mess.
And honestly, we have a lot of designers we talk to and we have very intimate conversations where we really see the warts and all, but one thing that our one-to-one clients and our academy students are often very scared to tell us the truth about use just how messed up the project management is and how they’re embarrassed about it.
It’s like, I can’t believe I let it get out of hand, like is
[00:07:16] Don: lines. There’s that? That’s, that’s what happens. It’s like, oh my gosh, the blurry lines are insane. And I think the thing is one of the things that Kris and I really talk about a lot what we had with our business is long term relationships with our clients. Now they’re beautiful and wonderful, but what can happen with a really long-term client is they become friends. Which is great and lovely. However, the lines get really, really blurred when we’ve got this friend also working with us on a project. So that’s something that happens for a lot of our designers. There’s this line where they’re like, ah, they wanted this particular thing or they contacted me after hours or they wanted to extend the deadline.
And that client might’ve been asking from, you know, a text message or a DM or, not from a professional avenue and that’s when the lines get blurred. So it’s one of those things where our designers get really embarrassed to admit that the blurry, blurry lines have taken over their business.
It’s like now I have to do that this way or that way. And, we’ve talked about this before, haven’t we, Kris? Whenever we are working to the parameters of a client, we’re working to their business and their rules. It’s not our business, our way. They become a boss, they become one of many bosses because presumably you have many clients, so not only do you have one bad boss who’s all over the shop, you have uh, multiple of them. And so you’re getting pushed and pulled from pillar to post, and that’s what a client portal can eliminate. It can stop that from happening. It can maintain the integrity of a project by making sure that your client stays on track and you stay track and pulling it all through the one spot. Everybody’s on the same page. It’s really, it’s really a fabulous.
[00:09:02] Kris: Yeah, I can actually think of one client problem that couldn’t be better improved, or even completely eliminated altogether through the use of a portal. Throw any client problem at Don or myself.? And it’s like portal.
[00:09:17] Don: portal, problem
[00:09:18] Kris: had that in the portal,
[00:09:19] Don: Yeah.
[00:09:20] Kris: no problem.
Do you have a portal? That’s what we
always ask them. Do you have client portal?
[00:09:24] Don: Yeah. That’s.
[00:09:24] Kris: it and is this in it and is this in it because that’s important as well. And that’s what we’re going to go really in detail into, with this training in the thrive summit. So we’re going to show you step by step a system that not only you will love as a designer, but your clients will love it too. It’s a win-win, it’s a win-win solution. We’re going to show you what should be in a client portal. Exactly how to put it together. And it doesn’t matter what you use, but just a little side note, if you come along and show up to the session that we are delivering you’re going to get our client portal
[00:10:06] Don: Yes. Yeah.
[00:10:07] Kris: secret squirrel stuff, you know, you will get our template, which is
[00:10:12] Don: Gold.
[00:10:13] Kris: It’s gold and it’s going to be so helpful for you. You can just plug and play that you can customize it. We, are giving this as our gift to you for, for showing up.
[00:10:21] Don: Yeah.
[00:10:22] Kris: Yeah, we’re so excited about it.
[00:10:24] Don: So then if you decide that you jump on the link that we’ll pop into our show notes and you decide that you are going to join us on the weekend, there will be an option to upgrade to the VIP access. Now it’s incredibly cool. There are a stack of extra, really high value bonuses that you will receive from all of the 15 plus experts, us included. For us, we want to take that beautiful client wrangling one step further for you. And you will receive our nicely said client scripts kit, which is 40 scripts plus really sage business advice. It’s so much more than a script kit. There are ways to really get your head around how to maintain and manage client boundaries. And the scripts are ready, set, go plug and play. Just amend them with your client voice even a little bit, if you need to, but they are ready to go and valued at 100 USD and they will be yours included in the VIP bundle. If you to upgrade to the VIP bundle. And we hear that there are so many wonderful things happening in the VIP bundle. So check it out.
[00:11:34] Kris: Yeah, uh, that, nicely said scripts kit is gold. And like Don said, for every tricky client situation that we’ve covered, we unpack it. You know, we unpack why it’s happening, what to do about it. And then we have the script for you. Really comprehensive. So we’re so excited for the VIP people to be getting access to that as well.
[00:11:55] Don: Yeah. Get your hands on that.
[00:11:57] Kris: Yeah. So no more drowning in client, project management woes and pain. There’s just no need for it. So you can overcome this. So no matter what you take from this episode, please, please, donna and I really want you to set up a portal, whether it’s through our training at the thrive summit, or by just setting one up yourself, you’ve got to have a portal to keep control of your business and do your business your way.
[00:12:28] Don: absolutely. It’s so much easier. So, yes. Number one tip to client wrangling is boundaries, the most efficient boundary setting tool out there is the client portal.
[00:12:40] Kris: Yeah, I would go so far as to even say that I don’t know how I would implement boundaries. My personality type. I just wouldn’t be able to establish boundaries without the portal.
[00:12:50] Don: Yeah,
[00:12:51] Kris: Yeah.
[00:12:52] Don: I love that you just shared that Kris, because there are so many designers out there who would not be able to implement and maintain boundaries without something like a client portal. It’s one of the tools that really takes away the stress of managing clients, because in essence, the client portal becomes an extra staff member, and I love that if you are a solopreneur and just starting out, or you are not ready for your first hire yet, the client portal is almost an extra soul in the business because everything comes through that and you can sort of lean into and lean on the client portal for support.
And it really doesn’t get much simpler than that. The beauty of a client portal, the way that it will give you complete relief and ease, we can’t wait for you to experience that if you’re not already experiencing it.
[00:13:45] Kris: All right. So hopefully it will see you and be able to answer your questions over the weekend with the thrive summit training. All right, everybody. Hope you have a beautiful rest of your day
[00:13:57] Don: Yeah. Talk to you soon.
[00:13:58] Kris: Okay. Bye.
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