Are you ever curious about how consultants or arts marketing professionals do their work? Maybe you’ve never really thought about the processes, creative or otherwise, that goes into a project.
Whether it’s an email marketing campaign or website design, there are some common steps that I go through to begin my work. In this post I’ll peel back the curtain to share with you how I work. It’s my hope that you’ll be enlightened and that you’ll learn something for yourself!
I begin with a discovery call
Before beginning any project I will sit down in person or via a Zoom call to get to know my potential client or discuss a new project with an existing client. I like to interview them to gain a deep understanding of what they are trying to achieve with the project. I’ll ask them questions like:
- What is/are the pain points you are experiencing right now?
- What does success look like for you?
- How does this project/work fit into your overall business goals/strategy?
This call lasts probably 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the project. After my call I will review my notes that I’ve taken during our discussion and begin to determine the scope of the project. What does the project need, what can I provide the client, how much time it will take to research and develop the solution?
If you’d like to schedule a discovery call, click here to get started.
I create a proposal
I think it’s vitally important to outline to the prospective client the scope of the project and things that I discovered during our call. I position the proposal in such a way as to be informative, and move them from potential client to an actual paying client. In a way, it’s a sales document. I am uniquely positioned to solve your problem if you approve this proposal.
I create a contract or agreement
Let’s assume that my prospective client approves my proposal. When that happens by their signature, I then draft an agreement with the client. It outlines many terms and conditions and contains a bunch of lawyerly language because I had an attorney friend draw one up that I use.
In both cases of the proposal or agreement I send either of them electronically via DocuSign. It’s a service that allows me to get signed documents online and saves me time and money in printing, mailing, and storing files.
I set them up as a new client
There’s a lot of back-end office things that now need to be set up for our client-consultant relationship to move forward. I work primarily from home so most of my tools are applications for task management, cloud based storage, and communication/collaboration.
- Set them up as a client in my Freshbooks account
- Create a new Team in my Asana task management software
- Create a new folder in my Dropbox account for files, graphics, etc.
- Create a new team in Slack for messages, etc.
- Create a shared notebook in Evernote
As you can see, there is a lot that I’ll have to do to get set up for working with my new client.
Freshbooks is my online accounting software. It lets me send invoices, get paid faster, and reconcile my bank account with expenses, track invoices, etc. I love the service.
Asana is my task management system where I put all the tasks and things that need to be done. What’s nice is that I can assign tasks to the client, say “Provide content for website” that they need to do as well as keep track of any progress or see bottlenecks in the project that need to be solved.
Dropbox is really just a virtual thumb-drive that I use to store things in that I may need from time to time. It is a handy service to use if I need to transfer photos, documents, etc. to the client or vice versa.
Slack is a real time messaging app that lets me set up a team chat environment where we can communicate about the work we’re doing. With lots of integrations I can show work to my client and he can approve it, and keep tabs on progress.
Evernote is my go to system for content and text. It is where I will usually start an idea for a blog post or email campaign or some other form of text. If a shared notebook is used, then my client or team can see the notes and comment and work together on the task. There’s more about Evernote that I can share later.
I get the work done
Whatever the project is I will work to ensure that the job is completed and up to the standards of my work. It varies on the project what the tasks will be but with the systems and tools in place I know that it will be done well.
It’s easy for me to keep in communication with my clients with the tools in place to collaborate and share.
All in all, the steps I use when completing the work could include research into the market, demographics, language of the industry, design elements, strategies others are using, etc. It really depends on the project I’m working on.
There you have it, a behind the scenes look into how I get work and work with clients. There is a discovery call, proposal phase, contract phase, client on-boarding phase, and then working with the client.
I love working through the process almost as much as getting the actual work done for my clients.
Now it’s your turn, what’s your experience been like when working with consultants or vendors? Do they follow the same process? What kinds of things do you like when working with consultants? Let us know in the comments below!