The sound was like nails on a chalkboard.
Metal on bare metal.
The worst part about it was that I knew my brakes were worn down to a stub.
And that was very bad news, considering that I was hoping to embark on a long car trip the next morning.
I pulled into the garage, Auto-Doc in Los Alamos, and told him that I was about to go to Minnesota and I wanted him to make sure my Kia was roadworthy.
Well, it wasn’t. It was a rolling deathtrap, a tumble off a cliff just waiting to happen.
My brakes were completely used up in the back.
The good news was that he could get the job done right then and there and have me on the road in a matter of hours.
The bad news was that I didn’t have the money right then and there.
Which got me thinking about the way that I run my business.
I recently had a couple projects go wrong, where I ended up losing money rather than making it.
I won’t go into details.
But I will say that if those things hadn’t happened the way they did, I would be able to get the brakes fixed and be on my merry Thanksgiving way.
It was upsetting, but rather than drown myself in ice cream and self-pity, I decided to take a look at what went wrong with these projects.
What can I do to make sure that I get paid fairly so that I can give each project the time and attention that it deserves?
What can I do to make sure that I get the information that I need from my clients at the beginning of the project to make sure that there are no surprises and that we both understand the purpose of each piece that I write?
What can I do to make sure that my clients understand the writing process and will commit to each step?
Judging from these last two bad experiences, I need to change the way that I bring in clients, hammer out the details of the proposals and explain the process of working with me.
I’ve changed my services page to reflect those changes. People who are interested in specific services can sign up for an appointment via Calendly. They will have to answer a few questions, and I will find out if they have questions, before we move forward with the appointment.
The pricing is more set in stone than before, and I’m slowing down the process so that I can spend more time on each individual project.
I think these changes will help me deliver higher quality work, and my customers will be happier with the results.