It is extremely rare that my company was worked with client who left unhappy with our services. Maybe they parted ways because they decided to go a different direct. I’ve fired a client or two. I’ve referred a client or two out to other providers. Yet, overall, clients have rarely been unhappy with our services. I say “our” services because there are times when I do bring on contractors to help meet the needs of clients. We also regularly offer business development services, virtual assisting, copywriting (of course), editing (of course, graphic design (new as of April 2020!), and we now have contracted web devs as well.
Yet, there are times that I hear from my clients who hired other companies or contractors for other services or from friends or colleagues who own businesses that they aren’t happy or they aren’t getting what they though they would. I’ve learned a lot from watching them go through their experiences. I’ve learned how people can be happier clients regardless of whom they choose to hire because I’ve learned why Black Moth Media stands out and what we do differently compared to other providers (even if our services differ). We stand out because we are proactive.
Be Prepared to Have an Educated Conversation about Your Needs
This doesn’t mean you need to have a degree in whatever subject or to be considered a guru. Really, it just means to understand at least some of the basics. No one expects you to have a degree in web dev if you need a website, but you need to understand that you won’t have a great performing website overnight…and you need to have some realistic expectations (and a realistic budget). And with search engine optimization, understand that organic results and improvement take time. Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Communication is one of the best ways to eliminate potential problems and to ensure that you and your contractor are on the same page. Be clear about your needs. If you want the project to go a certain way, make that clear. Also, be open because if your contractor says it cannot work in that manner, they’ll tell you and you need to trust them (particularly if they have lots of verifiable experience). If you’re interested in them because of their expertise, trust it.
It is definitely okay to set deadlines and times to check-in and discuss the project. However, micromanagement and constant changes do nothing but muddy the process and make it difficult on yourself and the contractor. Additionally, you could be setting yourself up for trouble come tax season. The IRS states that independent contractors (and I am paraphrasing…and I am not an attorney…and I do not play one on TV) may be classified as employees if they are treated as such…and that includes too much management.
Ask about the Process
If you aren’t sure how the process should work, ask. If you are dealing with a true professional, they won’t beat around the bush, talk in circles, or make you feel stupid. They will, at the very least, explain the basics using plain English (as opposed to industry jargon). Will they tell you every single part of what they do? Probably not. Depending on how they operate, they may classify it as a trade secret. Trade secrets are protected in every state. However, they should (if they are honest and want you to trust them) give you the information you need to make an educated decision.
TL; DR – Information Makes You a Happier Client!
Ultimately, having the information you need about the process and trusting your partner makes you a happier client.