The English language contains several phrases that reference doing more than you were originally asked to do.
“Go the extra mile.”
“Go above and beyond.”
What these cliches don’t do is tell you how you’re expected to exceed expectations and what the limit is. Is there such a thing as giving too much?
In the podcast this week, photographer and designer Todd Van Fleet shared his trick for retaining 100% of his clients. Rather than just completing the task given by his client, he takes it one step further, giving them what they want before they even know they want it.
For example, he was recently hired to create a design for the company’s gift cards. Though they only intend to use a digital mockup of the card for their emails, Todd’s about blow these expectations away. He plans to set a blank card up in a cool location, taking a photo that will later feature the new design superimposed on the blank card. They won’t just get a flat image, they will get a marketing resource that will encourage more people to buy their gift cards.
When I heard this, I was stunned. Throughout my years as a freelancer, I’ve become adept at meeting expectations. I try to perform better than clients might have expected, but I deliver what I’m asked to. Like Darryl said in the podcast, I got comfortable with taking orders.
Like many freelancers, I suspect, I instead focused my efforts on being the go-to girl. When clients thought of their next project or task, I wanted to come to mind with a rush of surety. “Oh, Emily. She’ll be able to get this done.”
And it’s worked. I’ve built a reputation of doing good work and being reliable, which has helped me develop long-term relationships that sustain my business today.
Where I’ve failed is in creating healthy boundaries that give me the chance to refill my creative juice tank, as Todd put it. I haven’t managed expectations well enough to truly give my best to my clients, so I’m often failing to meet my standards, even if I meet theirs.
Even as Todd’s advice offered some clarity on my own processes and how I’m working on them, it also stumped me a little. How can I upsell my creative services as a writer? I know it doesn’t look like writing an ebook when I’m tasked to create a blog, but what can it look like?
I’m still pondering this question (I’d love to hear suggestions if you’ve got ‘em!), but here are some ideas I’ve generated so far:
At this point in my career, I’m not “just a writer.” I have a lot to offer and I can use these skills to wow clients without sacrificing healthy boundaries. More importantly, you can do the same. As you consider ways to upsell your creative services, here are some things to consider:
As an entrepreneur, you have unlimited potential. You wouldn’t be here, building your own business, if you didn’t. How will you use it to strengthen your creativity and services?
Get the full story from Todd here, where he discusses how he upsells his services, what you can do to feed your creativity, and the many benefits of creative ADHD.
You can connect with Todd online and on social media here: