What Happens Whensday - Edition #02 {Building Client Relationships Despite Differences}

Wow -- Two weeks in a row… This is a blog marathon for me! Hold on, let me go get some water… Feeling parched ;) 

Alright but on a non-cory-humor note, this is edition #2 of "What Happens Whensday"! 

I knew exactly what I wanted to post about -- Just kidding, I'm thinking this up as I go along. We can think of that as some sort of disclaimer.

So, I've been feeling incredibly liberal about my opinions lately which can be freeing and frightening all at once. Some days I don't know what's going to come out of my mouth and more often than not it's either straight talk or a joke. Yeah, there's not much in between! My humor is edgy or completely slapstick and not so politically correct always. 

So my thought this week is what happens when our personalities don't mesh perfectly with a particular client? There are days when our humor or lack-of-humor is just off base from our client's personality. There are days when we feel on it like we've just conquered the world with our awesome skills but then we aren't 100% sure that the client feels the same way.

Maybe we've had someone treat us disrespectfully or just not appreciate our time & talent. We all know these situations will happen so how can we move forward?

One of my favorite feelings in the world is leaving a photoshoot or client meeting knowing I've made new friends and have begun building a strong relationship with the clients! I strive for that experience during every single client meet or photoshoot!

SO -- How do we combat feeling like good for nothin' sun ova guns when we are unsure of our relationship with a client? 

Let's think of 3 different ways (again, making this up as I go along)... 
  1. (Because I thought of it first) GIVE THEM THE BENIFIT OF THE DOUBT - (or BOTD) Without BOTD, you're shot. People mean well. We have to believe in the big picture. Believe in love and kindness and understand that most people don't mean you harm and many of them never realize they are hurting you. If they don't show excitement for working with you, then maybe they had a bad day? Maybe they are shy? As Frozen *or my future brother in law* would sing in the bathroom, "Let it go!"
  2. LEARN FROM THAT EXPERIENCE - When we take a moment to reflect on the situation at hand and look for ways to learn, we can grow from that experience. Even if there were no mistakes you could find on your end, you can find ways to learn to be even more great! 
  3. PRACTICE KINDNESS EVEN WHEN YOU HAVE DIFFERENCES - The ol' kill them with kindness jab! It does the body good, both yours and theirs! Whether or not you become BFFL (best friends for life) with your client and want to loan each other Def Leopard records & meet for sushi on the weekends, you want to build a long term trusting relationship! Kindness is the best start! 
Hope you guys enjoyed this episode of What happens Whensdays ~ I will always be a learner and hope to inspire you to be one too! 

Next week, Episode #3 is coming up and it's all about… Whatever I think of next! Oh the suspense. ~ Fantasia

What happens "When"sday ~ Edition 01. CONTRACTS

A new series just hit the blog. This is a Wednesday only series that allows me to take a few minutes and share some of my experiences as a business with other businesses starting out.

When did this incredible series start, you ask? Just now! *Drumroll* 

What is it called, you ask? It's a series called "What happens When-sdays".

Where did this idea originate? Good question. I'm glad you asked! The series 'What happens When-sdays' originated from off-the-wall situations happening to me and my photography business. Often times as a business in the first 5 years of taking off, we are faced with unique situations where the answers aren't always black or white. Sometimes the answers are gray, tricky, & hard to define. I want to share some of these situations with other small business owners to help them avoid or foresee the same obstacles in their future.

Let's take a moment to reinforce the importance of having a contract in place before serving a client. What happens when... you don't outline the details of a job through a contract? 

Of course, not every business model needs this kind of preparation, but in the creative field it's a safe barrier between responsibilities, interpretations, deadlines, & details.

In the past, I saw contracts as these ugly pieces of paper with jargon I could hardly understand myself much less explain to someone who I wanted to sign that piece of paper. The big game changer for me was rewording standard professional contracts into something I was actually comfortable signing myself & explaining to my client. Gone are the days of "therefores" and "shalls". It's not me and it certainly is NOT my brand. 

Though restructuring contracts is a great idea for those of you looking to add personal touch into the business side of things, it can bite you in the you-know-what cheeks if you're not careful. Having a lawyer look over your contracts is your #1 best bet!

What types of situations have I been SAVED from by having a contract. Oh let me tell you! 
- Client no-show/no call day of photoshoot
- Wedding cancellations after many hours of communication, planning, and research has already been underway
- Clients demanding extra favors that weren't part of our original agreements
- Rescheduling dates last minute
- Not getting paid for months
- Not getting paid at all
- Danger during scheduled events (Drunk wedding guest - not the fun kind!)
- Timelines changing last minute
- and many more!

The truth is, I learned the hard way! Each one of these situations happened before I ever started using contracts and I was burned... to a crisp! These situations do still happen from time to time because life is life. The difference in having a detailed contract in place to outline how to handle these situation protects your reputation, your business, & most of all your sanity. 

Contracts have not only saved me from many wild situations but they've also saved my clients. By setting a contract in place that outlines both my clients and my expectations, we are both 100% aware of our agreement and respect that.

So without further ado, here's a pretty photograph to add to this post! ;)
Keep your eyes peeled next Wednesday for another "What happens Whens-day" series 02!
Model: Amanda Dewitt from our Seaside, FL senior portrait photoshoot