Estimate Your Time Commitment
Well how do I know that it's right and how do I figure out my estimate? Because what happens is you go, hey, client says how much do you bill, and I go 8850, and it's gonna take me 21 hours to do this project, and then 43 hours later, 'cause you want it to be perfect, and it's one of your first jobs, you're like, wait, now I'm making half of what I actually earned right? And that's the estimate accuracy, and then you get really nervous and you go, ooh, can I go back to the client and say it's taking me twice as long, can I ask them for more money? That's like breaking a golden rule in some peoples eyes right? So we have to figure out how to do that. So now I want to estimate accuracy, and this is how I do it. Again, this is what I found that worked for me that's really nice. First thing I do is, I get accurate details and responsibilities. Sit down, have your list of questions, what is the project you want done from the client? How do you need it done? What's exactly what you want done...
? The other thing that I like to do is I classify my client. Are they high, medium, or low maintenance? I don't necessarily use those terms (laughs), (audience laughing) but I need to know who they are, because if I email a client and they take four days to get back to me, versus a client who responds right away, I know where they are, because it's gonna take longer to do that project. If I work with a client, and the first time I meet with them, the way that they ask questions, how difficult they are because I know that they're not actually listening to what I'm giving them, I know that through the process it's gonna be a little bit more difficult. If I have a client that's only focused on finances, and you're getting these clues in the actual conversation, I will classify that client, and it's great because I have long-term clients that have shifted, ooh, because I've helped them, and we've come to a relationship and communicated where our relationship is much easier now. But up front, you know, you'll have some clients that have never hired a freelancer before, and so they, it's really hard for them, they're nervous, right, I'm depending on you. You know, I often say this when I work with people, when you're in an interview or you're talking to a new client and their asking you why should I hire you, or they ask about your experience, or tell me who you are, what they're really asking is can I trust you with my wallet? 'Cause they're really afraid of what's gonna happen to their business. What you do is expensive. It's absolutely valuable, but they're asking you that question, so you want to make sure you do that. So, I also like to get a timeline, and then I add a safety net. The first couple of jobs I've ever done, I was off by at least 50%. I was like yeah, it'll take this long, and then, you know, twice as long later, I was like really, I'm still doing this job? It's gonna happen, but if you start to estimate accurately, you'll figure out a way to do it. So here's what I suggest you do. Put together your Time Commitment Worksheet every time you do it. It gets easier, but I still do this, because I find sometimes when I don't, I'm like, ugh, I should have written it down, 'cause I think I have the formula and I know what I'm doing, but write it down. So I like to write down what I'm gonna charge. Some people won't charge for things like invoicing and admin. They'll say that's a no no. I like to charge and I build that in to my cost. I might not bill them at it, but I use that as sort of like, here's an additional hour I'm billing in for the time it will take to do this, right. When I'm coaching you can't, because they're like, well I only met with you for this long. I'm like yes, but the admin, no you can't do that, so I don't, but when I'm doing larger projects, this might be it, right. The creating is what you do, doesn't matter what you do, you do it, and you do it really well, so that's what you're gonna put down. How many hours does it take you? So you're gonna start to do that. The things that you can charge for are schedule, calls, and meetings. Anytime you're on the clock with them, charge for that. Research for the client, if your job requires research, creating, any revisions, and then admin work. What you're not gonna charge for is pitching new clients. Although I'd love to be able to do that, if you're like hey, it was really nice meeting you, I hope you buy my services, here's a bill for the time that you took having a conversation with me (laughs). (audience laughing) Writing proposals, you can't charge for, and you can't charge for learning a new skill. If you start to add more in to what you do, you can't charge for that, and you also can't charge to often send emails. Like hey, this is where we're at, whatever, right, and we're gonna talk about whether it's hourly, day, whatever, in a few minutes, but I'll talk to you a little bit about that, 'cause if you were charging for that, it's really hard to keep track of. So you really can't charge for that.