Red Flags: Chaos & No Budget
Before we know who you want to work with before we find the people you want to work with, we have to identify who you don't want to work with all right? So we're gonna talk about how to repel your nightmare clients and these are the people who you wish you could say no to but you feel you can't and we're going to try to get you in a position where you actually can say no to those people, but first we need to know who they are. So in this segment there are four lessons in this segment we're going to talk about red flags that you need to be watching out for there are four red flags the first two are chaos and no budget the second to our cluelessness and disrespect I'll be going into some detail about each of those in less than fifteen we're going to talk about how to decline projects with grace politely because as I said in session, one aa lot of creative professionals just can't bring themselves to say no and sometimes it's because they don't have the language and I will give you the la...
nguage to say no and then finally we're going to talk in this segment about howto handle drama queens and I also proposed to you that one of the ways to handle drama queens is to be the parent because really drama queens are just children having tantrums all right, so if you think about it that way, you might make it easier to handle them so let's talk in lesson thirteen about the first two red flags, which are chaos and no budget now in the extra goodies bundle, which I will talk about and give the link for. At the end of the segment there is a download called the red flag cici the client red flag t cheat and there are details about this here I've got an example of it here, which I will be referencing, but I'll go over three things about each of these we'll talk about what exactly it is what may be happening for them and what you can do about it. So red flag number one is chaos and hear another illustration from my client and illustrator in keith murray to show an image of chaos. So what is chaos look like? Right chaos is frantic phone calls and email messages at the last minute saying I need this asap right that's chaos chaos is a lack of preparation, so someone who comes to you with no creative brief chaos is many people sending you mixed messages on a project because they're not communicating chaos is someone who spells your name wrong and differently wrong each time that happens to me a lot really it just tells me that something's going on in that person's mind that there's some chaos and so you have to be watching for the signs of chaos in orderto identify it. You can usually feel it, but then figure out, do you want to work with people who are in chaos? Because I think chaos is actually the most prevalent of these red flags situations and I would say, for the most part, it's, because we allow people to be chaotic and again, a lot of this has to do with kind of childish behavior that nobody is correcting, essentially. And so as a self employed professional, you can and I propose that you owe it to yourself and to your clients to try to control or tame or train the people that you want to work with, so that they can work in a less chaotic way. It will help them, and it will help you, and some of them can not be trained. And therefore you have to say no to them. And that in my lesson about how to decline with grace, I will show you how to say no to each different type of red flag client. So for the chaotic what could be happening here to me there are two variations on chaos, there's, external chaos and internal chaos. External chaos is when there's chaos in corporate culture, because nobody really knows what anybody else is doing, or maybe there's no strong foundation underneath it in the first place, and your clients generally know that they're chaotic, but there isn't much they can do about it, and they're doing their best, but it is still chaotic. So think about the fact that it is sometimes beyond their control and you just either have to deal with it or not, because I think especially now there are many unrealistic demands and expectations that are put on creatives and again, it is up to you to either say yes, I will agree to that or no, I'm sorry that's not possible, and especially when it comes to timing, when people say I need this immediately, you have my permission to say I'm sorry that's not possible, right? If it's not possible, you should not stay up all night. I do have clients who pulled all nighters and they pay for it and they're getting too old for all on lighters. For the most part, right? We are all too old for all nighters, maybe not the seventeen year old, but uh but really no one should be doing that and you can stop that by saying to a client, I'm sorry, that is not possible. There's also internal chaos, which basically means that you're prospect or your client has no organizational skills, they may be all over the place, and to me that is a sign of someone a person, actually, who doesn't have a solid core. And so that means that it's up to you to bring that solidity, to bring that foundation to the relationship, because they need it, like children, they need it, they need you to be solid and strong, and they will respect you, and they will usually comply if they can. All right, they may not like it, but they will comply, just like children, and I think part of the problem and the reason this is so prevalent and getting worse, in my opinion, is because there are no cons, defense is for them to pay. So you really do have to say here's, the consequence for that? Not in a mean way, not even in a condescending way, but justin away very clear, I'm sorry, that is not possible. I don't give you more language about that. So three things you can do when you're faced with someone who is chaotic, number one, you can give them structure, right? So give them a deadline, I was talking to a client the other day, who was talking about a project that went out of bounds went out of hand and I asked why because there was no deadline the client it didn't give me a deadline well if the client doesn't give you a deadline you give them a deadline and you stick to it right there always has to be a deadline otherwise it will never get done. Another thing you can do is have a process and enforce it so here's how we work that makes you professional that it doesn't make doesn't only make you seem professional it shows that you are professional and you've done this over and over and over here is our process hears the next step here is what we need from you over communication I was talking in session one about how much communication is necessary to survive and to do this properly so this is an opportunity to use that communication and finally you khun say you're not necessarily going to say no you're going to say yes but if someone asks you for something and you want to tell them no you say yes but here's what I can do? I was asked from a magazine editor just this week, can you do something by february eleventh? No, I'm sorry but I can't do it by this date, right? So yes, but you're not saying no all right any questions about chaos before we move on to no budget raina, I've definitely experienced chaos and clients unfortunately, a lot of times I don't find out until I'm in the middle of the project with him, so I'm wondering if you could you know what the red flags are? Maybe you're coming to that to recognize chaos before you get in a situation where you have one of those choices, and, um, I think there are signs, and if you look for it, you will probably see it, and it might be different for each person, but for me, it's people who, for example, when they scheduled the free mentoring session with me don't aren't there, right? I have a process that I put people through, and if they can get through that process, then maybe I will work with them, right? There's there's a gate that people have to go through and that's how I am basically assessing the criteria of whether they're qualified to work with me, right? So you also need that type of process that you put people through, whether it's a free consultation or the proposal process that's the dating time. Essentially, before you commit to your client, right, so be looking for the red flags and you'll recognize them you may have different ones, each of you may have different ones. Definitely greenish all showing their nightmare stories and budget seems to be the big thing and chaos is definitely crystal's saying recently I had a client tell me there would be two hours late to a meeting when they were already half on hour late on dh then they got upset with her for charging them for not giving out of adequate consolation cancellation I think people have this fear that if you really do push back, you're going to lose that blind and then you're not going to have any work I mean, I've actually worked for I won't name them maybe later to some very big corporations or I've done broadcast jobs for them it's literally for no money and they say, well, we have no budget but you have to weigh it up well, is it worth having that on my resume and dealing with it or just to pass it up? So um again kind of big picture the reason marketing is connected to fees and saying yes or no is because if you are doing the marketing and have enough prospects and enough opportunities, then if you push back and they disappear it's okay, it doesn't matter you don't need them all you just need someone to say yes and you don't know who it's going to be all right let's move on to no budget since that seems to be a popular one and it is a very popular one but here's the thing when someone says we have no budget it could mean many different things and you have to as you're listening when you hear that not assume you know what it means you have to be listening for and asking what could that mean? So no budget frankly could mean the sky's the limit we have no budget, we have no ceiling for this we have all the money in the world and hardly ever means that but it could mean that it could also mean we have no idea what this should cost that's usually what it means because again they're coming to you you're the expert they don't know what's involved they perhaps have never done anything like this before what should it cost they that that's the way they say we don't know is we have no budget so again this has to do with pushing back and asking the right questions to find out what exactly do they mean? And sometimes it's true that we have no budget means we have no money and in that case well, I'll tell you how to say no to that but you might want teo as jae ko was alluding to negotiate for something else is the visibility or are the connections you're going to get through the experience worth the time and the effort? Maybe so there's no rule about you should never work for free I would never say that you just really have to away what you're going to get on what you're going to give and in the moment do you need it? Are you in a position to say yes to that and no to that? So when someone says no budget now we understand what they might mean what could be happening they don't understand what's involved and therefore can't justify a price that you may put on the table or maybe they're under a lot of pressure and that's why they're saying that they have no budget, they are the ones responsible for whatever you're going to do and they don't know you and they don't yet trust you and perhaps you haven't done any marketing to develop that trust, so therefore they have to say we have no budget or their penny pinchers and really I don't suggest working with penny pinchers because it will always come back to bite you, so make that decision very carefully now three things you can do when you are faced with some of these no budget prospects is you can demonstrate what's involved because again if they don't understand exactly what they're going to get if someone says I just need a logo what's so hard about creating a logo right, they don't understand why they should pay x thousands of dollars for it or how how you do it how you go through the process to come up with the right logo, or even the experience, the years and years of experience you have behind you, that will make it quick and easy for you to dio, but which they're going to have to pay for, right? So you can demonstrate what's involved, and you could do that in many different ways. As I said through your marketing, you could do it in a proposal talking about your process. You, khun, do it verbally and just say, well, you know, I can't charge that because here's, everything I'm going to have to do in order to get there. All right, you can also, if someone says they have no budget, then you adjust the scope of the work, you never just immediately drop your price, because then they'll question, why that price in the first place? So you always have to respond with, well, can we do it this way? Can we lower the word count? Can we extend the time frame? They're always different factors that can be played with in a negotiation, so adjusting the scope of work is one way to respond to that. And then also you can lobby later for extra budget. What that means is when a client tells you here's what the budget is. It's not always exactly what the budget is they will sometimes overestimate or underestimate because they may know that later they're gonna have to add some budget, and I find that often if you go into a project and then things start to change what they call scope creep, right, the scope starts to creep and you a lot of creative professionals, unfortunately just absorbed that cost because they don't step up and speak up and say, I'm sorry, that's not what we agreed, teo, but if you do that, then you can say, you know, is their budget in this? Is there money in this other budget over here that we could switch over to hear there's usually something that can be done if you ask for it? All right, so the end of this lesson and we have another one of these, what would you do if the first one of session to so what would you do if a startup asked youto work for free and promise is that they'll have a lot more work in the future? Has anyone ever had that carrot dangled in front of them before? What did you do, ray? Now, what would you do? I don't do that anymore, no, why not, um, because I need to pay my bill and I have enough clients paying clients, but I mean, I think I'd rather just say no, I would I would have a conversation and see what the flexibility is excellent justin, you know what? I'm producing there's always like I'm hiring, you know, camera operators and audio people so that's almost impossible to dio I always try to somehow create a relationship with them, though, and then, like, I'd be happy to help kind of consult I and help you kind of develop some content, not necessarily produced the project for you, but kind of just still be there involved, yeah be involved, but like, I just don't have, like I can't do that and the care is I don't want to say it's very tempting because it's just all words right? Anyone can say that I find it kind of rude, actually, but sometimes they're sincere and they think, yes, we will actually have work. In fact, I gave this presentation at a conference and someone came up to me, the owner of a small agency, and he said, you know what? Google came to us and said that and we said yes because we wanted to work with google and in fact they had more work later and we got it so it's not always just an illusion, but I like what you said raina, which is that I don't do that anymore right? So maybe someone at the beginning of their business might take the risk and do this, or if it's a client they really want, they might do it. But again, it's up to you what's on your plate right now. Where you going? What do you need? Then you make your decision? That company I didn't marry a saying. I I often say I can work at a discount, but I need to revisit this pricing in a month. That's a good way, perhaps you around that's a nice idea. Okay, so the exercise for this lesson about red flags one and two and we I noticed don't have a lot of time to do these sir sizes in the moment, but if you are at home and you're watching this at your leisure than feel free to pause and do the exercise and then come back to the next lesson. But I'll go over what the exercise is in the workbook. You have all the details about these red flags and the exercises. Can you think of someone who flew the chaos or no budget red flag to you? What did they say? And how did you respond? And how might you respond differently based on what you've learned today?