General Guidelines & What to Expect

General Guidelines & What to Expect

As my business continues to grow, it’s becoming more pertinent to my productivity that I maintain transparency. I put this together so you know what you can expect from me regarding the more administrative parts of our vendor-client relationship. At the time of writing this, I have contracts with ten separate businesses and non-profits with over 15 individual contacts.

I’m implementing block scheduling into my time and project management routines, so I can work more efficiently. To make for a smooth transition, I ask that, as my client, you understand and accept the following expectations and guidelines I am setting forth.

Don’t have time to read? The headlines sum it up. Just read the big text.


Communication

Emails will be responded to within 24-48 hours.

This has been a general policy of mine since I started my business. I forget with whom I’ve set this expectation, so I have a hard time adhering to it. As a result, most of the emails I receive are filed under “drop everything and respond immediately” when that’s usually not the case.

I have set a two-hour window each morning before 10am CST to respond to emails and handle other administrative tasks. After that, I will be working on completing projects and maintenance tasks with the rest of my day. I work more effectively when I don’t split focus between my projects and my inbox.

Texts are not a preferred method of communication.

Please use email when contacting me.

I know texting is super convenient, but it is not ideal for the detail-oriented services that I offer.

Why, you might ask, is this form of communication not compatible with my services? Here are a few reasons below:

  • I work from a desktop computer, so receiving details through my phone adds another step between the data to where it needs to be. Less interchanges means less room for error.
  • On my end, it’s not ideal for explaining anything at length (e.g. what is wrong with your site, how something is done, or what info I need to start a project).
  • On your end, texting usually results in typos or bad autocorrect, so it’s not a great medium for sending me copy or content.
  • It triggers “respond immediately” reactions in my head, which causes unnecessary distraction.
  • I get upwards of 200 text messages a day between various group chats and ongoing conversations with friends. Completely and entirely ignoring my phone helps me get things done.
  • On a similar note, the volume of texts I receive adds a layer of difficulty to finding and referencing information or details from previous conversations, which is often necessary.

As stated previously, I am blocking out 10am-6pm to work on design, maintenance, and development tasks. If you happen to text within those hours and I don’t respond, know that I’m in the middle of working on a task and will get back with you when I am done.

I am under no obligation to answer unscheduled direct calls.

I get a lot of spam calls, as is the case with most. On top of that, the amount of notifications and messages make picking up my phone a gateway to distraction. To stay focused, I keep my phone on silent and out of sight while I am working. Consequently, I sometimes miss unscheduled direct calls.

If you need to grab me for a quick 15 or 30 minute phone call, please schedule time with me on my Calend.ly.

Allow a week’s notice for scheduling out consultation calls or meetings.

I plan my weekly to-dos out on Monday, including any scheduled meetings or phone calls. This helps me focus on my priorities throughout the week.

Unplanned meetings or calls often shift my priorities around and interrupt my workflow. My mind states for graphic design, UX research, coding, concept sketching, or thinking on my feet in a consulting call are very compartmentalized. Fostering a flow state between these mental shifts is one of my main goals in my weekly schedule.

Additionally, I do research before my consultations, so I can make the most efficient use of all parties’ time. With appropriate notice, I can schedule in time for that research.


Projects and Work

Preference for, at least, a 1-2 month lead time on big creative, UX, or development project requests.

While I’m juggling a decent spread of projects right now, I’m not quite to a point where I can hire an account manager. The more lead time I can get, the less stressful it is to fit it into my schedule.

If you’re having me make something completely new or drastically redesigned, a longer lead enables me to set aside the dedicated time required for design thinking or development.

Here are some examples:

  • Full website design/build
  • Developing new module for an existing site
  • UX design recos for a landing page or micro-site
  • Logo or brand identity design
  • Setting up emails and automated drip campaigns
  • Re-organizing the layout of an existing theme template
  • And many more!

If it’s a bug fix or content update, those are considered maintenance tasks and don’t require as much lead time. I’ll talk a bit about those next.

Maintenance Days are going to be Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you’re a past client whose retained me for maintenance gigs, thank you for your continued support.┬áMistakenly, I did not initially account for the impact this would have on my future project schedule. The brief staccato nature of maintenance tasks do weird things to my focusing abilities. I’m at my best when I handle a bunch of maintenance tasks in a block, rather than just cramming them in between other projects at random.

Here are some examples of maintenance tasks:

  • Adding new media to an existing media page
  • Putting some tagging into a site’s header
  • Troubleshooting an error or issue
  • Processing a redirect
  • Updating a phone number or other content
  • Swapping out images
  • And even more!

To allow myself enough time in my weekly schedule to both move forward with new projects and complete various maintenance tasks, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be dedicated to maintenance.

Reminder: Rush work comes with a 50% rush fee.

This has been a line item in my contracts since I started, but I’ve been pretty lax on bringing it up in the past. To better adhere to project timelines set in advance, I will be enforcing this fee.

I get overwhelmed with emergencies and rush tasks, which push my most patient clients onto an indefinite back-burner. This isn’t very fair to them. I believe in rewarding clients who are willing to be patient and work within my schedule in advance, by not pushing back their estimated timeline.


A Wealth of Gratitude

Thanks a million to YOU!

Honestly, thank you all so much for trusting me again and again with your business. So far, I feel super lucky to have such understanding and patient clients. I don’t know when my imposter syndrome is going to stop being shocked every time you keep giving me new projects, but I am constantly grateful for it.

I love having the opportunity to work for myself and I know I wouldn’t be able to do that without your support! So, thank you so much for that.

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