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The joys of being a business owner

April 7th, 2016 at 02:49 pm

I absolutely love running my own business, but of course there are some hiccups. Today I'm feeling one of them. I had an acquaintance I used to work with contact me about taking headshots for her office, which was great! Until I sent an estimate and she realized I charge a bit more than she expected. There's nothing wrong with that, of course - I'm not in everyone's price range. That being said, my rates are far from astronomical, and the group rate that I offered originally is more than reasonable.

She asked for a discount because they are a small business, and I reluctantly agreed to it - mostly because she referred me to another client that has generated quite a bit of income for me, and I wanted to make sure that relationship stays strong. She owns a PR firm with a handful of employees, and the job seemed straightforward. But then she seemed to pile additional expectations on and has been the highest maintenance client I've ever had...

Needless to say, I of course am appreciative of the income, but I'm really regretting taking the job because it's going to be far more work than it's worth. I've been trying to reign in her expectations as nicely as I can, but I just want to ask her how she would feel if someone approached her to do work, immediately asked her for a discount, and then piled on additional work outside of the purview of the original scope of the project. It feels really disrespectful and insulting to me, particularly because I'm also a small business owner. A much smaller business at that.

Sigh. Rant over now.

In positive news, though, another client (a member of my BNI chapter) posted the photos from his shoot last week (that he paid full price for) and got a lot of attention on his social media channels - to the point where a few people even asked him for my contact information Smile It's nice to feel like my work is valued and appreciated.

***

In other interesting news, I applied for a part time job in Nashville. I know we're still a few of months out from the move, but some places take a while to hire and I figured there was nothing to lose. May as well start poking around and seeing what's out there. I'm feeling good about changing things up in my professional world, and part-time will still give me the space to get out and grow my business in that market as well.

***

Re: the budget, things are looking fairly okay... This week we've been doing fabulously with cooking every night. Last week pretty much entirely killed our restaurant and bar budgets for the entire month. DH went out for the home opening game and it would seem went a bit crazy. lol. My student loan payments went up this month - one fell out of forebearance, and another is finally caught up with payments I made ahead, so it's kicking in monthly again.

I did break down and buy a couple of pieces of clothing the other day, too. That still keeps me well within budget - they were preowned, and one was fairly planned anyway. I've been looking out for a dressier tank top for months. The dress I bought was a great deal and difficult to pass up. But again, well within budget. So I can't beat myself up *too* badly.

Other than that, all things are normal. Made my car payment today. Went to Aldi to get a couple of things I had forgotten the other day (k-cups, olive oil, toilet paper).

Tonight I'm cooking white chicken chili and bringing some over to our friends that just had their baby. We'll probably spend a little time hanging out over there. This weekend is going to be action-packed, it being DH's birthday. All of his gifts are purchased for the most part, save a few photo frames for the posters I had printed. I'm also going to make a cake to bring to the party. I do need to collect money from the other guests to pay for the remaining costs of the party, and should get on that soon...

That's about it for now. Hope you're all having a lovely day!

7 Responses to “The joys of being a business owner”

  1. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Explain that it's more work than anticipated and say you need more $$ or less work. You have to make a living too.

  2. PatientSaver Says:

    I absolutely agree with you about people asking for a discount and then adding on more things outside the parameters. But as a freelance writer for many years, I think it's up to you to clearly spell out what you will and will not do so everyone's on the same page. What additional stuff did she ask you to do?

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Mmm...white chicken chili.

    I would charge her more for the additional requests. And tell her now, so that she can decline those, rather than be chasing her for the money. I wouldn't want to get a bill bigger than original agreed upon, unless that was clearly communicated. And if she balks, remind her you are a small business too.

  4. LuckyRobin Says:

    I would simply say to each new request, "That will be an additional fee." She'll reign herself in (probably) if that is all she is met with each time she asks for something else.

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    When i was doing more freelance writing, I prepared some written material that clearly spelled out what they were getting for their money. One area of my work where people often took advantage was the number of rounds of edits I would make (at no charge). Some people just don't know what they want, so this would result in multiple rounds of edits as they gradually came to figure things out. To nip this in the bud, I put in my info sheet that the client would get one round of free edits, if needed, after the initial draft; after that, they would be charged xx. Needless to say, clients rarely incurred the additional charge for editing. I no longer felt taken advantage of, and they became amazingly organized thinkers.

  6. pjmama Says:

    Thanks for all of the feedback, everyone! The issue is more or less that she was pushing the limits of what could be included within the parameters. When we originally laid out the parameters, we were just doing basic headshots for the office and a few "environmental," more casual (and less touched up) images as well to match the ones their other office got done. Then she started sending me more glamour-style images of things she wanted to do herself, which were more portrait style and would require quite a bit more work. She also wanted to bring in her dogs for a couple shots... which makes everything more chaotic and is certainly beyond the scope of those simple, streamlined images the other office did. She was basically trying to fit in a personal shoot for herself into the parameters...

    Looking back I wish I would have just structured it differently from the get-go to eliminate even the opportunity to do so, but no turning back now. I responded to the additional requests saying that we could bend the rules a little bit, but kept it reigned in enough to "keep it within her budget," adding that I'd be happy to schedule a personal shoot with her at another time if that was something she was interested in. She responded that she thought the portrait style shots were more "environmental" (they're not), but eventually conceded that they could count toward her headshot total. The irritating part was she also said, "Well, if they cost more, they cost more." Which begs the question - if she's willing to pay more now, then why was the original figure out of her budget? Sigh.

    It just kills me because we have a really good personal relationship, and I would think she respects my time and talent. I would assume a fellow business owner would understand where I'm coming from and not argue about with me about my prices and attempt to push the limits after I've already offered her a break. I assume business owners have some level of solidarity with one another (particularly woman business owners), and it just feels like that trust and understanding has been betrayed. I did put my foot down to some extent, but I'm irritated I ever had to in the first place...

    At any rate, lessons learned.


  7. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    She may well be aware that she is getting something free, and is just giddy about that and so losing her good judgement.

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