Episode 40: Q&A – Ask Us Anything

Welcome back to Episode #40 – Ask us Anything! Today we are tackling questions about referral program sites (are they worth it?), finding a business coach, and how to create boundaries around project timelines. (No you can’t work on a bathroom refresh indefinitely.)

Episode 40 Show Notes

Key Takeaways:

  • [5:28] What are your thoughts on referral program websites? Are they worth the cost?
    • [6:25] These referral programs are generally websites where you become part of a database of designers
    • [7:15] Usually, designers can have a free profile on these websites with an option to upgrade. Consumers then visit these websites to get home and decorating ideas and to connect with design professionals
    • [8:17] This question gets asked a lot in the designer community. The general response is that it’s not worth the investment but there is always one case where a designer swears by it
    • [9:00] There are many factors to consider for this. A lot of it has to do with what city you’re in, how saturated your market is, if there are  potential clients near your city that are looking for designers, how much you’re spending on these promotions, and how strong your profile is 
    • [9:48] Paying for a profile on one of these referral websites is one way to spend your marketing dollars. But it becomes problematic when designers expect this one source to be the singular point of return for new clients 
    • [10:46] For Lesley personally, she wouldn’t spend all of her marketing budget on these websites. You can look into Google ads, social media ads and other paid promotions
    • [12:07] For Kate who has experience with having a paid profile, she instantly got a lot of leads but none of them converted to real paying, high-quality clients
    • [18:17] If your city has a local design center, see if they have a database of designers. It’s a great and free option to look into!
  • [18:47] I know that you both mentioned working with a business coach. I would love to hear more about how you found the right coach, the process, how much it cost, how it helped your business, what you didn’t like and regret, tools you received, group coaching or individual, phone or Skype communication style, what information they wanted, etc. Any and all information that is good and bad to know!
    • [20:10] Kate has worked with all different kinds of coaches (sales, money, business) and she has had wonderful experiences with all of them 
    • [20:38] One thing we love about coaches is that they will hold you accountable. They will help get you from where you are to where you want to be and break down the process 
    • [22:27] There’s many ways to find coaches! Kate has most all of her coaches through Google but Lesley has found hers through other means
    • [21:56] Kate’s first coach was Kendrick Shope under her Authentic Selling program. It was a group coaching session through live calls with Q&A at the end
    • [22:41] Kate and Lesley both had Nancy Ganzekaufer – who they love! – as a business coach both in individual and group sessions 
    • [23:34] Eventually, Kate worked with her money coach Jenny Karlsson to get a better grasp of her financials – how to visually look at money, how to organize it, how to financially plan – and also how to shed past habits and limiting beliefs 
    • [25:28] Lesley’s first coach was Kim Kuhteubl, a visibility and branding coach. Prior to starting her business, she had no idea that coaching existed! But this is a great resource no matter what industry you’re in
    • [28:44] Wrapping up with coaches and starting with someone new does not mean that things went wrong. With coaching, that person is your mentor and your guide for a season and for a reason, to get you through a certain hurdle or time period
    • [29:11] Don’t be afraid to try short-term programs with coaches. Learn what you can learn from them and if you outgrow them, it’s okay to move on!
    • [29:57] With costs, it’s probably going to be more expensive than what you think it should be, but it is worth every penny
    • [30:31] Ideally, you will make that money back tenfold out of your experience with coaching
    • [32:50] If it feels to big of a leap to do one-on-one coaching just yet, there are so many other options: group coaching, podcasts, books, YouTube coaches, peer to peer coaching, courses
    • [34:05] If you find someone you like, don’t hesitate to contact them. It might not be as much as you think or some even have a complimentary first call 
  • [35:55] How do you diplomatically tell clients you can’t work indefinitely on a project?
    • [37:11] If you’re charging a flat fee, you need to have a black and white, clear as day scope of work of what’s included so if things come up that are outside of that, you will be charging hourly
    • [37:48] If it it’s hourly, make sure that you’re charging for every little thing and reminding them that they need to be quick with decisions and move on
    • [39:20] We have tendencies to be people/client pleasers, but there can be a point where you are losing money working on a dragging project.
    • [39:33] It’s not good for you, your energy levels, your morale, and your company. The best solution is to really establish clear boundaries from the beginning
    • [39:52] Here are some ways to have that conversation: 
      • Just so you know, I have these projects coming up in the next few weeks. We need to wrap this up by this date for the best result. Otherwise, we need to put things on hold
      • I need decisions in this time frame. I’ve been waiting a while to hear back from you and it’s causing things to drag while I’ve taken other projects on 
    • [40:10] There’s ways to do it where you can gently remind them of boundaries and the value of your time
    • [41:16] Every time you give a client a deliverable give them a deadline for feedback
    • [43:24] If tragedy strikes or something that is out of everyone’s control causes a client’s project to go on hold, be understanding and try to work through it  

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