If you walk into the grocery store, fill your cart with groceries, and then pay, but on your way out, you throw in a few extra items – that’s stealing, right? I think we would all say, “Yes, of course.”
Well, the same is true in your business.
If you’ve agreed to deliverables with a client, but they continue to push for more that wasn’t agreed to – that’s stealing.
Let me give you a few examples that illustrate this point.
Imagine you’ve agreed to a certain number of coaching sessions per month or a specific set of services. But then, your client starts asking for additional sessions at no extra cost, or they constantly email you with questions that require time-intensive responses, effectively doubling the time you’re investing in them without any additional compensation. This is them taking more than what was agreed upon – it’s overstepping the boundaries of your professional relationship.
Another common scenario is scope creep. You might have outlined a clear project scope, but the client keeps adding new tasks or changing requirements without adjusting the budget or timelines. This not only disrupts your workflow but also means you are giving away your valuable time and expertise for free.
Why am I bringing this up? Because it’s a prevalent issue in the coaching and consulting world. Our intangible products – knowledge, experience, and expertise – are sometimes harder to quantify, making it easier for boundaries to be crossed. We need to be vigilant in protecting our time and expertise, recognizing them as the valuable commodities they are.
So, what can you do to prevent this?
First, be clear and explicit about your terms from the get-go. Define what is included in your services and what isn’t. When a client begins to ask for more, remind them of these terms. It’s not about being rigid or inflexible; it’s about respecting the value of your work and time.
Secondly, learn to say no. It can be challenging, especially when you want to be helpful or are worried about losing a client. But remember, a client who doesn’t respect your boundaries is likely costing you more in time and energy than they’re worth.
Lastly, consider implementing a system for managing and tracking your time and deliverables. This can provide a clear reference point for both you and your clients about what has been delivered and what additional work would entail.
Just promise me, don’t underestimate the value of what you bring to the table. Just like tangible products, your knowledge, experience, and expertise are your livelihood. Protect them, value them, and don’t allow them to be taken for granted, not by your client or you.