Knowing When to Ask for Help
Guest Post by: Jessica Crum owner of Silverlake Design Studio
WIUSA: Ok, Surely I'm not the only one out there who feels like I'm running myself into the ground just trying to love my clients, let alone understanding how to offboard them successfully with an introduction to a possible new client?? Am I? There's no way we can do this thing of growing, scaling, AND loving our clients without educating ourselves on how to DO. IT. BETTER.
So we started chatting with Jessica Crum, owner and Creative Director of Silverlake Design Studio, based right here in central Arkansas. (This place is BOOOOOMING ya'll!) If you're wanting to better serve your current clients, up your ante on your marketing, while having an amazing marketing plan and design...WE GOT YOU!
Introducing... Silverlake Design Studio!!!!
They have this thing down. They have developed processes, increased revenue, even created a creative space in the heart of Conway, Arkansas, The Studio. (If you haven't visited the space, you haven't fully visited Conway yet.) Jessica took her idea and scaled it into a successful thriving service based company. And here on Women Influencers she's going to get VULNERABLE and tell us her story while introducing us to the idea of "Offboarding" clients. ~ WIUSA
Jessica ~ When I started my business, doing-it-all was umm…. mandatory because Silverlake actually started itself. After 7 years of apparel design in Los Angeles, I was ready for a break from the fashion industry. When we moved to Arkansas, my parents were opening a little antique shop (Hartz Honey Hole) and I thought, “I bet I can design their logo!” Then I was designing brochures for my nonprofit friends at Conway Ministry Center.
Of course, all of it was a say yes, then figure it out situation. (Sound familiar?)The biggest leap was when Pasta Grill asked if I designed websites. Out loud I said “Yes!” Inside I thought, “Surely I can figure it out.”
After about a year of this, the workload was too big for me to keep my personal name on the invoice forever. I had to decide, say “No” to more work, or get some help.
The idea that getting help will give you instant relief isn’t a sure thing, especially in the first few months. You’re obsessed with making sure your clients are comfortable with your new hire AND that they are doing things exactly how you would (not a thing, by the way).
Sometimes it’s like asking for help is more work than just doing it yourself. This applies to everything, doesn’t it? Business, parenting, dinner, laundry, etc.
HOWEVER, getting the right help at the right time can truly help you serve your clients better. After all, we’re better together aren’t we?
Here’s an example….
A client, we’ll call them “Joe,” LOVED working with Silverlake. He was so impressed with our design work, copywriting, and the modern look of his new website. But, when a friend asked, “How are you liking your new website?” He responded, “It looks nice but I’ve wasted 3 days trying to figure out how to change my store hours.”
This is the time period I like to call “Silverlake BK” (Before Kate). Kate joined our team 3 years ago as our project manager and brings everything to the table that us creatives don’t. She’s the detail-oriented-yin to my big-picture-yang. She makes sure that our clients hear from us at least twice after their website launches, including an hour of in-person website training.
Now our clients say things like “Look, I added an event to my website all by myself!” And my personal favorite is when they say “Got your invoice” and “Ya’ll are great folks!” in the same sentence.
This kind of follow-up is just not in my wheel house. My intentions may be great, but the reality is, new work comes up and happy clients get moved to the back burner if we’re not intentional.
When you are working on your business (not to be confused with working in your business), you will dream up all kinds of ways to keep in touch with clients and market to new clients. Note cards to just check in, birthday rewards, thank you gifts for referrals…. But these things simply won’t happen if you don’t ask for help.
It may feel ridiculous to hire (or delegate!) someone to do these extra tasks. On the surface they not only don’t seem to generate income (though of course they do), but seem like easy to-do’s and not even worth putting in a job description.
Our first hire at Silverlake was Drew Pruzaniec and she worked 5 hours a week. That may not seem like enough hours, but hiring her at Silverlake completely transformed both our lives!! Don’t assume you have to post a traditional job with traditional hours/rates/rules.
There could only be one thing you need help with, maybe it’s following up with clients. Put it out there that you need help with this ONE thing. You’d be surprised at how many people are looking for flexible opportunities to work for a passionate, local business! Know your strengths, own your strengths, and find others who can help you round out your business by serving your clients and your team.
Jessica Crum has many titles, but one of our favorites is Empowered Leader, but that’s actually her least favorite title. She’s got an innate ability to help others get see own their awesomeness. She’d tell you she’s just helpful and building on your own strengths and passions. Her energy for diving into your mission combined with her love of design, community and collaboration are what make her a fabulous (and realistic) Creative Consultant. *
Go check them out in Conway!
Tell us your first role you delegated or hired out.
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