or Creative professionals, Designers, & Studios, it’s not always easy to scope projects & set up expectations for clients. Design & creative consulting projects can be incredibly subjective and a big chunk of your time is spent educating the client about the creative process. That among other challenges, you could say putting together scopes of work (SOWs) is often a pain.
But in this age of tech, with all sorts of online platforms and freelance apps, there are exciting opportunities to steal some lessons-learned from online businesses (i.e. e-commerce) to up your game and make you look extremely appealing to potential clients.
That’s right, treat your remote creative studio more like an online storefront.
Here’s what we mean by that:
Share more information
The internet has made every type of consumer (yes, your clients too) more informed. If they can’t find all the information they need from you quickly, they may go somewhere else first. And that might lose you their business.
Just like e-commerce sites, lean into what’s called information symmetry. Offering as much knowledge as possible (and as soon as possible) about how you work, your pricing model, and your services makes potential clients more inclined to trust you. And once they have the knowledge, you’re free to focus on what makes you unique & special, like your creative style and approach.
While many aspects of a specific scope of work are unique to the client’s goals and may change from project to project, there is information you may be able to “pre-scope” and provide upfront:
- Project Phases related to a service that you provide
- Minimum project lengths
- General Approach
- Broad expectations like work hours, availability, & licensing arrangements
- Potential deliverable types
- Context for pricing, like whether your charge a flat project fee, a retainer, or charge by the day/hour
The more you “pre-scope” upfront, the less client education you’ll have to do later on. And that’s great news for your project flow.
The Main Tip
On your services page of your website, provide details about how you work and what deliverables you’re able to provide.
If you’re comfortable, go a step further by including a “Starting at” price minimum. For example, if you know, that the lowest logo design project you’ve recently worked on has been $2,500, you can even include “While all prices are custom & based on your specific goals, the most basic projects start at $3,000.”
Information Symmetry is a winning strategy and will save you lots of time for two reasons:
1.) It’s a way to disqualify any business that is not worth your time. Someone who wants a logo for less than your minimum will be far less likely to reach out.
2.) Your client will appreciate the context and trust you more = faster buying decision
Make it easy for them to make a buying decision
In theory, you want to make it extremely seamless for your client to agree to book and pay you. Your goal should be to make it as easy as buying a t-shirt online or ordering something off of Etsy. How?
What NOT to do:
Don’t send separate proposals, scopes of work, and invoices. This draws out the decision process, needs multiple reviews from stakeholders, and adds countless days/hours to the client making a decision.
What to do instead:
Tie together your method of payment, proposal, and your statement of work into one interaction. In one email, share a link or document that outlines the project goals, expectations, and payment schedule, with a link to pay an initial deposit.
Freelance apps like Coworkly are the perfect solution to help you create an online scope of work tied to your availability calendar and method of payment. Voila! One link to rule them all.
Make the "point-of-sale" visually stunning
When you buy something online, you’ll usually throw the item into your “cart.” As you’re checking out, you’re reminded with a visual of the item you’re about to buy, which re-enforces your desire to purchase it.
This is how you should think about your process with potential clients.
A foolproof way to make sure your clients commit to booking you is to always include visual samples with your final proposal and invoice. This way, you’ll recapture their imagination at the moment they’re making that final decision.
Include visual sample work from past projects. If you've mocked something up or have a mood/inspiration board, attach that to the doc. If you’ve put a Dribbble case study together - anything to remind them that working with you will end with an amazing result.
Ditch the email chains
Email chains are messy and easy to lose. Who knows who ends up getting BCC’d and CC’d and un-CC’d. Creative projects sometimes need to move fast and email simply isn’t efficient enough.
Slack channels are great, but they’re not exactly built for project set-up.
As often and as early as you can, provide one central information hub for your potential clients. This can be a Trello board or a Asana project with the details/project agreement, and schedule. (Or it can be one of those platforms tied to Coworkly as a way to keep everyone on the same page)
Join Coworkly and check out the scoping tool! We’re looking forward to seeing your awesome work.