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Mar 14, 2021

Podcast 20: How To Break Free Of Billable Hours

Podcast 01 on what you can learn from the design startup show

Episode Transcript:

Hey design starters. Today, I would like to talk more about how you can break free of billable hours, which comes from the previous episode. When I talk about how, you know, billable hours, don’t just don’t make sense. And this is mainly for design agencies and all want to improve and grow and scale your agencies.

And also designers or freelancers who want to kind of build a freedom business, somehow hire a team or somehow a higher automation engage automation tech in a way to can eventually have the business run on its own without your direct involvement in the day-to-day operations in the long run. And the first thing you have to do to break free of Ollie billing.

First, this is just the first move is to be more confident of the service you’re providing, then decide what you want to offer and also be ready to say no to other things that you won’t be providing. And this is most important because I understand as a designer myself, I know we can pretty much do everything in design, right.

Many things because it also long we know how to use Adobe. We can create many things. We are creators. So when, when a person comes to us and asks for a logo, we can pretty much do that too. Right. And if a person comes to us for fly, we can do that too. So we can pretty much do anything that requires our creation.

And we just need that technical knowledge in Adobe software or any other softwares out there. To come up with the, the graphics, the lacerations, the designs, the user experience, anything that just needs our skills. So that gives us a wide range of deliverables to be able to give. And it’s hard for us to say no in that way, because if somebody wants a service from us, we can offer that we can make an income and it does help.

When it comes to paying our bills, but we need to understand that that takes time. And when that takes time away from us, it takes time away from how we are going to design our business in the long run. How are we going to innovate? How are we going to think about our customers? How are we going to even make more sales and make more sales and marketing in the things that we want to be known for?

Right. If we are going to accept every other projects, then we may not be known for something or one good thing. We are going to be known as maybe not even known because we are probably doing globals or doing flyers or doing social media stuff, but we websites less and less people will take up each of the items that we can do.

We want more of the people, more clients. To come to us for one thing first. Right? And then we are good in that. And we are known for that. Then we start to diversify. So that is the cost of us doing billable hours, because what we love, what we are basically doing is to have the convenience of letting the customers know how we charge and then they get then just leaving it to them to tell us what they want.

So in order to break free, you have to say no to some things. And decide on what things you’re going to offer. That is the first step. And then when you predefine that you predefine in outcome, you predefined a deliverable, you predefined a result for your customers. So don’t ask customers and ask them, you know, don’t ask customers, Hey, what do you want?

Let me know what you want. Don’t do that. Okay. You, you got to decide for them. A lot of things, you have to decide for them what outcome they should have, what deliverable they’re going to get, what result they’re going to have, define it for them and present that scope to them. Let them know, Hey, I am giving you as many requests, as many revisions as you want in one month, one month, you’re going to.

Tell us your request within 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Mondays to Fridays, weekends are out weekends. We are closed. You’re going to tell them that and going to tell them that in, in this month, you’re going to pay this amount a hundred dollars for this request, these designs and these designs are only simple graphic designs.

So basically this is my business. Now I’m just telling you what I tell people and. How meat vendors came about. Right. And it does help because you are just telling them what they’re going to get. And they will know how much to pay you. And, and there’s no hourly billing at all. You don’t give them, Hey, I charge $10 an hour and then they will try to make you deliver within two hours.

So they only pay you only charge $20, right. Basically. So you don’t want to have a situation where your clients can come to you asking for something else also in the middle of the project. So let’s say if a client says, Hey, I want a web design and you say, yes, I do web design. So the clients is any number of pages, then you say yes, because you know, it’s by the hour so long, you’re going to take, give me a project of 10 pages.

It may take 10 hours. Then you’re going to pay 10 hours of work. If it’s a hundred pages, you’re going to pay a hundred hours of work. Right. This can be something that you’re going to say. And in the middle of the project, I can tell you, and I can guarantee there will be more things. There won’t be 10 pages.

There can be more. And each page may have more content than maybe changes because there’s nobody who will fixed a website is, you know, is always constantly evolving. They may have more things they want to add. They want more images. They want change of copy. And what are you going to do about that? Right.

If you do all the billing, you’ll be probably saying, okay. Yeah. You know, just give it to me. I’ll just, you know, put it in my time sheet and let you know how many hours I’ve used. Then what happens then? Because in the middle of the project, this happens, you add on hours, then Y then you’re going to put in the workforce and then you’re going to put in the work first.

You’re not going to be paid first. Right. Because how would the client know how many hours you’ve put in in this case, you’re going to work. Until the project ends, then you can send an invoice to your client and tell them, okay, I’ve worked a hundred hours. Please pay me for the a hundred dollars. So what if the client takes one year?

Are you going to wait for a year to get paid? And this is a big problem, right? So this problem causes you not to be able to build your client upfront. It may not even take a year in meeting forever for your client to pay you. And it’s not their fault. It’s how the, how you set the boundaries in the first place.

So in order to break free, you have to define the deliverables, define the value of items. Okay. Like how we put it as you, you can ask for as many changes as you want, you pay a hundred dollars a month or 1000 a month, 10,000 a month. You can ask as many times as you want, but you’re going to pay this amount.

Right. So that’s what, that’s what you say. You put it. Oh. And then you’re able to fix this pricing, like how we have to fix our pricing in meet vendors and you fix the time taken to deliver them. Right? So the time you deliver the time to be delivered could be a month, could be 10 days, one day, and you charge that amount and that’s it.

So what happens this way is you can easily get paid at a hundred percent upfront with all right. And then you get a done, you deliver it as promised. And there’s no scope creep at all. So the problem with hourly billing is basically scope creep. And if you are to break free off of that, by focusing on predefining everything you are able to break free, and that won’t be scope creep in this sense, because you have already taught them upfront.

You are given one social media image, one photo, one phone. One page of web design with 1000 words and then that’s it. Right? And, and, and they, they know they have already agreed at the site. So not everybody would have taken up this offer, but you have to go to clients who will want this offer because you know, the problem that clients are facing, then you offer this solution.

So don’t be afraid that nobody will take it up because you have really done your due diligence of knowing the problem that customers are facing. Once, you know, the problems that they are facing by testing our, all your office, then you start to focus on that one solution and just market and promote that same solution to the clients with this common problem.