Can you teach others to value your time? Yes, you sure can. I have been in business since 2001 and over time my business and client load and demand for my services have grown significantly.
As a business professional who makes a living off of time billing, I have learned a few things about helping clients learn to value my time.
I use an appointment calendaring app called Calendly. I started out with the free version of Calendly but now use the premium paid version. This app moved me from one to six emails (for each client) to schedule a mutually available time for client strategy calls to now one email with a link and the client self-selects a time and even gets automated reminders.
I even use Calendly for pre-paid consulting appointments, linking the notifications in the app to my billing page to get payment before I even get in the car.
Rarely Talk on the Phone Except by Appointment
Most of my correspondence is done by email. I have voice mail messages letting clients and prospects know the best and fastest way to get me is by email. I typically send all my phone calls to voice mail. This puts me in charge of my day and time allowing me to be highly productive.
Set Email Auto Responder Messages
If I am super busy and not available to react immediately to an email, I set up a “vacation” notice that I am super busy that day and list the times I will be checking email. I will always respond that same day, but sometimes am tied up on a code issue, SEO problem, or AdWords program set up. Interruptions on some of these projects kill the thought continuum and are serious distractions. When I am working on a project I have a laser-beam focus and operate at a high level of efficiency and competency. Calls distract from that focus.
By communicating when I will respond, I assure clients that I will touch base back. I do however perform triage. If there is a disaster happening – I will stop my project to help. I do have a strong sense of urgency when it comes to assuring that your site is up and fully functional or that a real time sensitive problem is addressed quickly.
Set Limits on Free Services
Although I am willing to freely share my thoughts and time with prospects, I do limit the time I will spend without moving into a paid client category. I do clock all my time chatting with a prospect. Typically at the end of 30 minutes I will go and then followup by email with a request to move to a paying client category. I have been burned a number of times and now I do value my own time. The most important thing I have found is if you do not value your own time, clients will not value it either.
That being said, you do not have to be rude, pretentious, or full of yourself by setting limits and guiding customers on how best to use your services effectively. I always try to be helpful yet focused.
In all I do, I work hard to provide value for clients and work to save them time and money. If you are looking for an expert to help with your SEO, content strategy, or Internet Marketing Program using Google AdWords, contact my by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.