I started working with a new consultant this week, new-to-me, that is. She came highly recommended by my stellar fabulous all-around-genius Online Business Manager, Tressa, so Lysa had a lot going for her from the gun. We got on a call a week or so ago, worked out the scope of the engagement (which is related to my upcoming group course Pricing Ninja Dojo, omg, so excited for this launch), we signed a contract, I paid my first invoice. And then she did the thing that really made me fall in love with her.

Head over heels.

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As soon as I’d signed the contract, paid my bill, I received a happy email from her letting me know how delighted she is to start working together and – pièce de resistance – attaching her Welcome Packet.

Yeah, that’s right: I said, her Welcome Packet.

Seven pages of This Is How We Will Work Together. Like I said, L-O-V-E.

You know me, so you won’t be surprised that I read it, sent her a breathless puppy-love-infused email saying how awesome it is, printed it out, grabbed my pencil and started outlining one of these for myself. And for my husband’s contractor business, too. And seriously: if you’re a service provider or sell a custom product or work with clients, you need one, too.

Because: RULES.

I appreciate nothing more than clarity around how things are intended to work – i.e., RULES – so it was so refreshing to have them all laid out for me in an easy-on-the-eyes PDF. And it made me realize that although there are rules in my business, there could be more and there could certainly be more transparency about what they are. 

And you know what else? Trying to tell somebody the rules is a magical opportunity to actually articulate them FOR YOURSELF. To actually MAKE those rules, if you haven’t already. 

Because: RULES. & Customer Experience. And RULES.

It felt pretty awesome to be the recipient of that happy email and that swoony Welcome Packet, and I want to do the same for my people. ‘Cause guess what? An excellent customer experience? Also one of my RULES. ;>

Here’s a rough outline what was in that Welcome Packet, in case you’re curious. Or if, like me, you’re eager to draw a similar map for new arrivals to the Land of Your Biz:

Quick note: This Welcome Packet is not intended to replace a contract or client service agreement, which I strongly encourage you to have in place with your clients. That contract, of course, lays out terms, but no way does it go into the kind of everyday detail (in everyday language) that your Welcome Packet can.

1. General Expectations. Like what client can expect of me (email response time, for example, availability, commitment to your success, timeliness of deliverables) & what I expect of client (clear communication, responsiveness to questions, etc). Lysa’s includes a really powerful reminder of what she is not → i.e., not an employee, not waiting around with nothing to do until you email me, not scheduling specific blocks of time for your work. All important stuff that needs to be said up-front, openly, at the start to give the budding working relationship the best chance of flourishing.

2. Project Communication, specifically how we will communicate (email or ???) and what tools will we be using in our work together. In Lysa’s case, those tools include email, Google Drive and Trello. With my clients it’s email, QBO, Hubdoc, Google Drive, Calendly, Zoom/Uberconference, ooooh and Docusign for contracts.

3. Work Hours, including days/hours of the week you can talk to me and days/hours of the week I reserve for creative pursuits/analysis/working ON my business, how to contact me.

4. Money, i.e., how money is due, on what schedule, via what means. Again, that’s in the contract, but it bears reminding.

5. Process, which is super-useful if there’s a project timeline you can share. Anything you can tell the client up-front to prepare them for how the work will proceed. For me, my Process section is definitely going to provide a heads-up on the resistance that can kick in as we dive deep into the numbers.  

Basically it’s all those Frequently Answered Questions you know by heart, and which you’re probably already communicating to new clients but in a piecemeal or less holistic fashion. 

Since I’m so inspired to make my own Welcome Packet, I thought I’d use this newsletter to chunk through it, share my process with you, see if you want to come along for the ride. If you’re ALREADY doing a Welcome Packet, omg, you rule and I want to see it. Please send along so I can jump around about how awesome you are!

Xo
Ariane

PS Coming to the newsletter next week as part 1 of creating my Welcome Packet: RULES about time, i.e., How to Own Your Schedule. Which will probs also include a little refrain about the connection between your schedule and your pricing, since them two things are tight. ☺
 

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