Marketing is an exciting career field because of it’s various forms it takes and the type of people you get to work with on a daily basis from your coworkers, to your clients.
But, with any career field you learn quickly what the seedy side is. The excitement wears off and is replaced by a new reality. In my experience, here are a couple hard truths that I learned recently.
I suppose that many of these truths are universal, that they are true across different industries.
Working for clients sometimes isn’t glamorous at all.
Recently, a client of mine decided to terminate our agreement after the yearlong term. Not that big of a deal right? Well, not exactly. You see, I had really wanted to provide my services to them, was confident in my abilities, and pitched them with a proposal. My initial proposal was made 2 years ago. I kept it in my files because I wanted to revisit the proposal at a later date.
I ended up getting the contract because of my persistence. Why did I lose the contract? I am not entirely sure but I think it had to do with a couple issues.
- the client wanted to tell me how I needed to design the site
- the client didn’t think that they could afford my services or they didn’t value what I did.
Maybe I went into the relationship not fully aware to the realities I was facing, probably because I just wanted the contract.
Pick the right structure for compensation
In the same story, I believe I should have created a different compensation structure. I picked a flat fee model where I should have opted for an hourly rate fee.
For those in business for themselves I think this is a lesson for all of us. I know that most people care more about the results of the work rather than the cost of the work, but in some situations you need to address your compensation so that boundaries and expectations are different.
Flat rate pricing, like $XXXX per month is attractive on the client side because they can depend on the fixed rate in their budget. And, they probably think that entitles them to unlimited updates, work on other aspects, etc. But that is detrimental to the consultant because they could do 2-3x the work that the flat rate would provide.
I think, in light of what I know now, I should have opted for an hourly rate, that was significantly higher. That way I knew that the client would be aware of the costs involved in updates, redesigns, and other issues they wanted, “I can do that redesign but it will take me 5 hours to do. At $200/hr that will be $1,000.” The client would either say, ok, bill me for the time or they would say no, I’m okay with the current design.
In the business is just as important as on the business
A lot of people who work for themselves are keenly aware of the work they would do with their clients and the services they would provide, but they are often keenly unaware (woefully so) of the work that they would need to do on the business. Working on the business are those things like contracts, billing, accounts payable and accounts receivables (collections), marketing your services, selling your services (working with prospects and clients).
I probably lost sight of the working on the business in favor of working in the business too. Must learn balance, Daniel-son…
Working in marketing, whether for yourself or in a corporate environment is very rewarding and challenging at the same time. I’ve learned the hard truths that working with a client isn’t glamorous, that pricing and compensation choices matter greatly, and that you should concern yourself with the working on the business rather just in the business.
Now it’s your turn! What hard truths have you learned in your work