We’re launching a new series for WordPress freelancers on how to improve your business and client process.
Today we talk with Rebecca Gill. She’s the founder of Web Savvy Marketing, a web design and search engine optimization (SEO) company in Michigan. She teaches SEO through DIYSEOcourses.com and shared her insights with iThemes in our free SEO training. Rebecca is also a frequent WordCamp speaker.
“The more I communicate in the sales process, the better the project goes in execution.” -Rebecca Gill
The conversation covers using software to drive processes, making improvements and better marketing to stand out from the competition.
What are the most important systems and processes for a freelancer to have in place?
I think the answer to this will vary on the freelancer’s deliverables. For anything related to website design, I believe prospect follow up, project management, time tracking and invoicing are all critical processes that need solid tools in place to support the activities. At Web Savvy we use Basecamp and FreshDesk for project management and time tracking, then FreshBooks for invoicing. Our leads close quickly, so I only need to have strong organization in my email to organize lead follow up and closure.
I’m a strong believer in using software to drive tight processes. I can’t imagine managing the client base we have without the tools mentioned above. The money I spend monthly on these services are returned 10 fold in customer satisfaction, on-time projects and timely payment of receivables.
What are some lessons about working with clients that you’ve had to learn the hard way?
Good project management and customer satisfaction start as soon as the lead arrives. I try to set expectations early on and I over-communicate so the prospective customer understands their obligations and our deliverables. The more I communicate in the sales process, the better the project goes in execution.
If we do run into an issue with mismatched expectations, I modify our process so it doesn’t happen again. This means more details in our proposals and project plans so everyone is on the same page. Every client question can be shifted into better communication for on-boarding and ongoing project management.
What do WordPress freelancers need to be doing differently today?
They need to learn to market themselves better. When I founded our company seven years ago there wasn’t a lot of competition for WordPress freelancers. This has greatly changed. Today the market is flooded with freelancers and competition for customers is much higher. This means prospecting is harder and the quoting process is much more critical.