I’ve worked in-house for a couple of startups before. I’ve worked in a 5 member core team, a 9 member marketing team, and now building my digital nomad team.
The work pattern differs strikingly.
When I was working full-time for others, I had the monthly paycheck. I didn’t have to worry about the monthly bills, the savings, and the investments. Even though money was not the concern, I was always hungry for different use cases to amplify through my marketing.
From last 8 months, I’m working independently. After running an e-commerce startup for a year, I could see people were still reaching out to me for their content marketing requirements.
Initially, I discovered a few challenges and things were not converging because
- either the client didn’t have the clarity on marketing goals.
- the client couldn’t match my compensation expectations.
- the client expected direct sales through marketing without the funnel journey.
- + many more (I’ll be narrating this in detail sometime soon. This is to help digital nomads discover the early stage challenges).
I tweaked my strategy a little.
Now, I emphasize my every client to do their homework and come up with the measurable goals that they could envision ahead. This helps me in aligning the deliverables.
I customize my fees (flat fee/ retainer contract fee) according to the client’s funding and the goals. Sometimes the founders of early-stage startups get overwhelmed when they see their product working for beta users, and they wish to accelerate their growth and go all into digital marketing without having a concrete weekly/monthly/quarterly goal, and without having enough human resources.
I ask them to have patience and persistence. I create a 90 days marketing plan for them. I show them this is how we are going to progress every week (since we don’t have that funds, and human resources to work parallel).
All these things are fine initially.
Goal planning, aligning deliverables, metrics setup, marketing plan and a lot more.
But what matters down the lane is after starting the work with the client!
I’ve both the experiences. I won’t categorize clients as good, or bad. But I will definitely categorize them as “amateur” and “mature”.
An amateur client for me has been an overwhelming one, super excited initially, gradually not reachable when I seek his time, overly busy all the time showing marketing is not the priority for now. In nutshell, who has got extra money to play around with marketing.
A mature client for me has been a passionate one, generally a serial entrepreneur (who has had his share of failure before), who values time (his and mine equally), easily reachable, and who counts marketing as the priority.
What gets difficult by the time is you can definitely work and retain your mature clients but it gets really chaotic to work with amateur clients. However, when you have committed to the work, you have to complete and be closing with your commitment (that’s my value, and I’m sure this would be of every digital nomad because we know how important every client is).
I have learnt this the hard way!
I’ve had my share of experiences when I had to close off few contracts because things were not working out. But soon I realized, there is another way I can still work and retain my non-responsive clients.
Hack: “UNDER-PROMISE” & “OVER-DELIVER”
Yes, this one you should use for every client!
Consider an amateur client who anyway is just playing around to see how far the product can go and eventually go 📣 unresponsive at feedback or approval times. Such clients sometimes also start accusing you of “no-show” when the payment time arrives.
You got to deal with them! When things go rough, keep this sticky note with you: “When you’re mine, you’re mine. I’m not sharing you with anyone else”.
In order to hack their mind, you need to pay extra attention at the beginning itself.
Prior to the contract, you won’t be knowing the work style. You will gradually know once you start sending them updates, wait for their approval and see the waiting time. And this is applicable to any client as such.
At the very first stage before signing the contract, you should consider outlining “the minimal deliverables” ONLY.
You need not go into detail and include everything that you are planning to do in order to achieve the goal. Keep the details to yourself. Don’t add things just to impress your client.
💧 Add only the minimal steps. Be minimalistic here.
This way you’re under-promising the client. He will have minimal expectations. He will only gauge through minimal metrics. But he will definitely see the end goal.
To meet the end goal 🏹, you know the minute other detailed work that you have to do and you’ll anyway be doing it at your end without letting the client know.
This way you’re over-delivering to the client.
📝 Document your process, your entire work, all the time spent, all the minute details. When asked for the output, walk your client through your document and show how it was achieved.
Trust me, if you under-promise and over-deliver, your clients are going to *fall for your work*.
Remember, they seek your help because they’re not perfect in your domain. It’s you who can tweak, and make things work for both of them.
So, the next time you’re outlining your contract make sure you’re adding only minimal things.
When I say minimal, this means only necessary deliverables that should meet the end goal (and not the detailed step by step intermediary work).
I’ve tried and trust me it works!
If you’re going to implement this, I’d love to know your experience.
Or, if you don’t agree to this, I’d still love to know the difference in opinion.
Being a digital nomad and working with remote clients is not as easy as working paycheck-to-paycheck. We got to learn a lot and unlearn a lot more.