Shawn Christenson's
You don't have to just be someones 'Web Guy'

Going Beyond The Minimal Amount of Effort – Is It Worth It?

Entrepreneurship, Video Production, Website Design

I’m working on this great project with a fabulous client of mine.  This guy is a designers dream to work with.  I think the trouble is, most designers wouldn’t recognize it soon enough.  With a constant look at ‘what I can be paid right now’ designers don’t think long-term relationship.

A Long-Term working relationship, with a client you care about and enjoy working with, is worth ten one off projects.  I don’t care what they pay.  That’s what this relationship is to me.

And so I’m tasked with creating a video – that I think is really important – for something he’s about to launch.  And I want it to be AMAZING.  Trouble is, even this client couldn’t/wouldn’t pay me what i’d charge for this.  So what to do? In my case, I do it anyway.

If I said it would take me 4 hours to complete the video – then I’m going to only charge out that much.  If I wanted to, I could complete it in 4 hours, and it would be ‘very good’.  Thing is, I don’t want to deliver ‘very good’ in this instance.  It deserves more, and i’d rather deliver what I consider AMAZING and ‘lose money’.

Should You Tell Your Client?

Now, of course – I have to let the client know that it’s indeed taking longer.  Not to make them worship the ground I walk on (that can happen after I deliver the goods).  No, I have to tell them so that they understand I normally wouldn’t create something this outstanding for what they’re paying.  No, even at my breathtaking skill level (ha!) – I can’t finish something of this caliber in 4 hours.  I can’t have them expecting it every time, for this cost.

Is it worth it to put in that much extra effort without the monetary gain?  Well – if you recall up above I mentioned how important a long-term working relationship is.  That’s where the value comes in for me.  We’ve already been working together for awhile – and neither of us plan for that to stop.

What I gain from putting that extra effort in is the satisfaction of delivering something better than I’ve ever done before.  I get the benefit of people saying “Wow, who did your video?”. I get a really happy client. I get to show this off, instead of forget about it in 2 weeks.

When NOT to do this?

When you’ve got a deadline that HAS to be met.

When you need to put food on the table and make as much happen as possible.

When putting 4 hours into something is going to yield the same result as putting 14 hours in.

When you’re just learning how to do something – you shouldn’t be charging for all your time anyway, and in this instance you shouldn’t be telling the client it really took you 14 hours either.

Pick your Battles

In this instance, we’re running on a short timeline so I’m pushing the envelope to make something amazing and meet our timeframe.  Just the satisfaction of creating something I WANT to show the world, is reason enough to take the extra effort to make this great.

Putting in more than the minimal required effort is almost always going to yield positive results – so long as you’re ‘picking your battles’ wisely.  Do this for the client that hires you for your expertise, not the client that hires you because they can’t do this part by themselves.

Bookmark and Promote:
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • I like this.

    It shows that there are times when you "do what you're paid for" and times that you go the extra mile. We're always told that building a successful business is about building successful relationships. Yet, it's important to pick and choose who those relationships are with. Just anyone will have us working ourselves to the bone for clients that don't appreciate it and wouldn't recognize good work if it smacked them upside the head.

    Other clients may tend to the "demanding" side, expecting you to provide lots of free service and expertise for the base price.

    It's always a wonderful thing to come across a client that respects one's talent and experience and is fun to work with. It's easy to make the decision to go the extra mile. Making the same decision for the idiots and ingrates of the world is a lot tougher.

  • Thanks for the reply Ken - and the insights. It is indeed wonderful to have great clients, and I admit it's taken a fair amount of effort to only allow myself to work with ones that align with me. But it's been a far superior life experience doing it this way.

blog comments powered by Disqus