Cory Miller interviewed Jennifer Bourn about selling eCommerce projects. Jennifer has been a graphic designer, a web designer, a microagency owner, a blogger, and a course creator. She thrives on writing, teaching, speaking, and mentoring freelancers.
Jennifer discussed how web design freelancers and micro-agencies can improve communication, reduce project management time, create better margins, and make more money. All without the unnecessary stress and uncertainty that can overwhelm your life.
- The majority of the work is done in discovery.
- Be the expert your clients want. Have their backs. Be there for them.
- Talk about your process and don't stop. Clients are forgetful and communication is important.
- Invest in client experiences.
- Use email automation for the onboarding process.
About Jennifer Bourn
Jennifer has been a graphic designer for 23 years, a web designer and micro agency owner for 16 years, a blogger for 12 years, and a course creator for 5 years. She loves writing, workshops, speaking, and mentoring driven, ambitious freelancers.
Jennifer is a mom of two who hired her husband to be her boss at her agency BournCreative.
- Jennifer Bourn
- Book a consult on Clarity
- Profitable Project Plan
- Packaging & Pricing
- Content Camp
- Bourne Creative
Cory Miller: Welcome back to another Commerce Journey webinar. And today is I'm really excited about it because one, I get to see her and talk to her. But I have my good friend, Jen from Bourn Creative, and I've got a lot of links I'm going to be sharing. You need to go to jenniferbourn.com and check out all that Jen does.
[00:00:20]She just relaunched your website. We're going to talk about that in a second and add some more content. But first, before we start getting into e-commerce, Jen, we could do a separate webinar on you as a content generator. You're a content machine and it's not junk. Everything you do is so high quality.
[00:00:38] And I know you've got a content camp coming up in a couple of months in November. But what is your secret to creating so much excellent content before we get into the e-commerce thing? And that's a selfish question.
[00:00:50] Jennifer Bourn: My, I think the biggest thing is having one place where you keep track of all your ideas and your notes flushing them out when they're top of mind.
[00:01:01]When you have an idea and you're like, oh my gosh, this would be a great blog post. I could talk about this and this. You never remember that stuff when you come back to it. So what I realized is I needed to not just write down my idea, but write down all the little thoughts that were top of mind about that idea when I had it.
[00:01:18] So coming back to it, to flesh it out is way easier. I create I'm like a worksheet fanatic, because it helps me organize my own thoughts and my own ideas. So I created this brainstorming worksheet that I use when I'm flushing out ideas that I have. And I just print like a little spiral bound booklet at FedEx office a couple of times a year with a hundred pages in it.
[00:01:39] And I track all of my things in there. And then I just crossed the page out when I've written the blog post. So for me, it's organization. Keeping track of ideas and then having frameworks and formulas to follow. When I create a new blog post, or I create a new piece of content, it's not like I'm always starting from scratch.
[00:01:58]There's a way of crafting content to make it go really fast. So relying on those frameworks and formulas help you take those ideas and Polish them up, finish them out and do it really quickly.
[00:02:10] Cory Miller: Okay. If you're not on Jim's email list, you have to go on it. It's one of the best newsletters I get throughout the week.
[00:02:16] And on that content framework Jen I went back and I was like, hold on, Jen just shared her content frameworks for four separate things. I did screen share and show you my little journal where I took them all and put it on. And it was like content frameworks from June. And it was like how to motivate someone to do something, how to embed your offers.
[00:02:36] I think and I was like, okay, I'm going to use the frameworks because as we get into this subject, I'll tell you she's a dear friend of mine, but also I admire and respect her for so many reasons. But one is, there's some people that talk about process and there's some people that own every letter and minuscule detail of the word and has transformed what most of us try to do into this almost machine that you get all this work done in your agency and in your teaching and your membership programs that allows you and your family to travel really prolifically, which I've always admired.
[00:03:14] So I wanted to say that about Jan, because when we start talking about e-commerce and all this, and there's no one better to talk about these subjects than Jen, and I'm going to put a link to her site so that you can go subscribe to her newsletter. I promise you it's going to be worth it.
[00:03:29] Jennifer Bourn: Oh thanks! Everywhere with me.
[00:03:33] Cory Miller: Yeah, absolutely. I can brag on people much better than myself, but you are very worthy of it. And we're going to talk about some of the courses you have out and some of the things you got going on later on, but I want to jump into the topic for today that everybody's eager to hear about from me, which is positioning e-commerce for success.
[00:03:49]Jen could you tell us just a little bit about yourself? I bragged a lot, but I haven't said specifically a little bit about what you do in the world and your background to get here. I was looking at your bio and I laughed because I also know your awesome husband. And I was like, so I'm gonna let you tell that story though.
[00:04:06] So could you tell us a little bit about you?
[00:04:07]Jennifer Bourn: Sure. My journey started about 23 years ago. So I've been doing this a really long time. 23 years as a graphic designer, about 16 as an agency owner, founder of born creative in 2005. So 16 years of doing web design and running my micro agency. And I've been blogging for about 12 and doing courses and programs for freelancers and agencies for about five.
[00:04:33]I've got my hands in a lot of things. My primary client base are small businesses, right? Businesses that are probably around 10 people or less. That is my sweet spot. I work with mostly service-based businesses. So service-based businesses building lead generation websites, or service-based businesses branching out into courses and memberships and selling online.
[00:04:58]So that's my sweet spot in terms of services. And I do copywriting and design. So I'm not a developer. I don't do the building of the sites, but I write the copy, create the design and then pass it off to developers that turn all of that into a fully functioning working site. I think for, gosh like I think seven years, I co-organized the Sacramento WordPress meetup. Ran just about five Word Camps and retired in 2020 to focus more on the courses and the programs where I'm able to really make an immediate difference, helping other designers and developers build businesses that allow them to have the same kind of freedom I've built into my business, because I'll be honest.
[00:05:40] Like at one point I remember sitting in my backyard with Brian because I did hire my husband full time to come in, run the business and do everything I don't like. And we got up to an agency of five and then we were like, I don't really like this. And so we went back to two and then in 2019, Brian ditched me and went to work for Jenna. But now I'm back by myself as a solopreneur, as a freelancer. But I remember sitting in my backyard thing, I hate this business that I built and I want to quit. And that's when I was realizing you can't fly by the seat of your pants, right? And you can't just chase your tail.
[00:06:10] You need systems and processes to support you. And by doing those things, and by taking the time to implement the systems and the processes by creating my own, like everything I teach in my programs, I created for myself first because my business was a mess. So you have to create all of those things.
[00:06:26] And that's what allowed us to travel and to not work nights and not work weekends and be gone. Like we just got back from a 10 plus day road trip. And I checked my email twice, the whole entire trip. I did no work. I checked my email two times. I'd never did anything else, but I got final content from a client.
[00:06:47] I got a revisions back on designs from clients. I got like my projects all kept moving forward without me. And I didn't have to do anything. That is where the magic happens.
[00:07:00] Cory Miller: Okay. I want to be really candid with everybody. If I didn't know, Jen, I'd be like skeptical. I know Jen. I have seen it in action and it's pretty amazing because we mostly talk about it and think it's awesome, but you've actually done it.
[00:07:14] And now you teach it with particularly your profitable project plan and go to jenniferbourn.com and check out the courses. I'll ask you a little bit more about that, but I want to transition now. Thank you for that great introduction. She walks the talk. So e-commerce when several years ago we were building our own e-commerce solution at iThemes company I used to own.
[00:07:37] And one of the big questions is like I had it for myself is e-commerce is this big gigantic thing. And it feels so nebulous and it, but it feels like it's got a million nuanced complexities in it. What do you see people struggle with, when they think about doing e-commerce work for clients. Or what is the state that people are in that you want to help with transformation. Like to go from I'm chasing my tail, all the things you're talking about. What have you observed where people typically are when they approach maybe web design, but also this niche of e-commerce website?
[00:08:17] Jennifer Bourn: I think the biggest thing, and it probably is transferable across any type of website, but the biggest things are going straight to the technology first, right? Thinking I've got to build an e-commerce site. I'm going to use like what, going straight to what tool is going to be the right tool. Isn't WooCommerce.
[00:08:33] Is it Gumroad, is it right? Easy digital downloads, whatever, like going straight to a solution without having all the details. Because when we jump straight to a solution, Chances are, we may pick the wrong solution and then regret it later. Or that there's nothing worse than having to tell a client.
[00:08:52] You have to replatform. There's nothing worse. So not jumping straight into the tool and not doing enough, digging up front. And that goes right into the second thing is not asking enough questions upfront, right? With e-commerce in particular, there are so many moving parts. The majority of the work in putting together an e-commerce site is done in discovery, right?
[00:09:18] It's done and asking all the questions and digging into the business model and how the client is doing things right in the, what kind of information they have and what details they have and shipping and all of these different things that go into this. You can't ask that after you sell the project, or you might have dug yourself into a deep hole over in that corner where you're stuck and you can't get out.
[00:09:39] Cory Miller: Yeah, absolutely good. I've done that. I have my favorite tool and I try to use it for everything I do. And particularly in the e-commerce world. Yeah. And you're right. The worst thing you want to do is I'm the fire ready, aim kind of mentality. But I particularly, when we get to e-commerce, I totally see that we're going through a big platform change with Vida Bars, the e-commerce project that I'm a partner in and it's messy.
[00:10:09]Jennifer Bourn: It's awful. Never good. So when you're asking clients, it's not just about, Hey, what do you want to do right now? But where do you see yourself? Let's say you have massive success with this first phase. Where do you see yourself in a year? If all your dreams come true, what does this business look like in three years? What does it look like in five years? Because they may be starting off with physical products, but they may have dreams of bringing in subscription boxes or they may have dreams of doing other things. And if you don't choose the right tool up front, that can bite you in the butt.
[00:10:44] Cory Miller: And it's happened to me, in the last year I hate to admit, twice, so.
[00:10:49] Jennifer Bourn: I've totally done it.
[00:10:53] Cory Miller: Okay. So that's part of the initial approach. Do you see people? So they get out of scope with that. But I want it, I should back up and really ask. If someone has, what do you say to someone that goes, I do website design. I'm good. Got my processes down. But what Cory was saying about this big cloud called e-commerce with, sales tax and multiple warehouses, if a client has all that, what would you say to the fear of approaching those that have the fear to approach and advice you'd give to, I don't know, either some people might want to focus on e-commerce or some people might want to add it on to a potential capability they can do, but they have all these fears that I'm talking about.
[00:11:36] What's your advice and feedback for that for them?
[00:11:41] Jennifer Bourn: That's a good question. I think two things, one. It's way scarier. When you look at it as a big giant beast, right? It's way scarier. When you think about e-commerce as a whole, but when you start breaking it down and to looking at parts, right? When you look at first, you have to build the actual end design, the actual WordPress website, right?
[00:12:03] That's no different than anything you do every single day. Looking at designing a product page, that's nothing different than really what you're doing every day. It's just different content on the page, right? So once you start breaking it into smaller pieces, okay. Building out the site, designing the product pages, doing those things, that's easy.
[00:12:21] That's doable. Like I can do that. Then you look at, break it down to the next thing. Payment, right? Payment, processors, payment gateways. Are you doing full pay payment plans? What are the payment details? Great. Is it single pay? Are you doing subscriptions? What are those things then you look at, okay. Texas. Shipping, right? Break it down into little pieces. That's the first thing, because when you break it down into little things, it's a lot less overwhelming and a lot less scary. The second thing is get yourself a group of people that are, you can ask questions too, right? When you fly solo and you're a lone Wolf, everything is harder because you second guess yourself.
[00:12:59] You're not sure if you're making the right decisions. You don't know what you don't know. And that's the scariest place to be. So finding a community, right? Like in Profitable Project Plan with an entire community of designers and developers and people are jumping in the Facebook Group saying, Hey, I'm getting ready to quote, I'm quoting this e-commerce project. I'm getting ready to have this discussion with a client. I'm going to ask these things. What am I missing? What have I not thought of in this situation? What would you have done?
[00:13:24]This is where I'm at having a community or people where you can bounce things off. It might be a little small mastermind. It might be a couple of friends. It might be a whole group or a community that you can jump into. I'm lucky. I can just like text Chris Lema Hey, I need some help and profitable project plan all the time. But having somebody, some other people as a sounding board to say, what am I missing?
[00:13:47]What would you do in this situation? How would you respond to this? Have you ever done a project like this? What should I look out for? That is. An insane amount. It will save you time. It will help you avoid pitfalls. And it will make you better because you're learning. There are things that, you know, that they don't know that you're going to be able to jump in and ask questions and you'll be able to tap them as well.
[00:14:11] And that helps with confidence, right? When you just have somebody else to say, Hey, this is what I'm going to say, this is what I'm going to ask. Am I missing anything? Can you check this? What do you think? And when you have that second person, right? Sometimes I ask Brian, sometimes I go wherever, but it allows you to show up more confident and secure.
[00:14:29] And when you do that, you show up as a leader. And that's really what clients crave.
[00:14:36] Cory Miller: Tell me more about that. And because I know you do so much content, you do a lot. I don't think you've ever said no, thanks Cory. When you to come on and share, you're so good about almost open sourcing your expertise.
[00:14:50] How do you… thoughts about becoming that expert and thought later in your client's mind?
[00:14:54]Jennifer Bourn: If you think about it, clients like you build websites every single day, right? If you're here, you probably build websites every day for your client. They don't, this might be the first website they've ever built.
[00:15:06] It might be the first time they've done it in a couple of years. If they're looking at a redesign and what ever amount of money they are spending, it is going to feel like a lot to them. Somebody spending $3,000, it feels like a ton. Somebody's spending $300,000. It feels like a lot. It doesn't matter what the budget is to the client.
[00:15:26] It feels like they're spending a lot. And so for that investment, they're nervous, right? They're like, I want to make sure that I'm going to see an ROI. I want to make sure that I'm going to hit my goals. I want to make sure I'm making a smart decision. They want to feel confident in that decision. And they want to feel comfortable with the person that they hire and they work with.
[00:15:44]So it's your job to show up as the expert that they are craving. The expert that they're looking for, the person that's going to have their back. That's going to know what they don't know. That's going to be confident enough to say, “That's a really good question. I'm not sure. Let me go find out right.”
[00:16:03] Saying, I don't know. Let me go find out is confidence. But showing up as that person, is what makes that client feel really good. And part of doing that is investing in yourself in your skills, in your business. It's not just working in your business every day and doing client work, but it's setting aside a little bit of time to work on your business, to read.
[00:16:31] If you want to focus on e-commerce, you need to be reading about e-commerce. You need to subscribe to e-commerce blogs, read e-commerce newsletters. Look at what people are doing with e-commerce go to webinars where people are talking about e-commerce, you're going to learn things that you didn't know before.
[00:16:50] You're going to get a different perspective on something you already knew. And even if it's just a little tweak that can make you that much better, it's worth it. Great. So setting aside time to work on your business, when you work on your business and your businesses, improving you as the business owner, can't help, but also improve along with it.
[00:17:10] And as you do that, you get more and more confident. The other thing is investing in systems and processes. When you document your systems and processes, when you have a documented onboarding system, when you have a documented process, every time I quote an e-commerce project, I ask these questions. I need to know these things.
[00:17:29] We do this thing. When you have that written down, how much more confident are you going into a client call? You're way more confident going in when you have a documented process to follow, then when you show up and you're like, I hope I remember everything. So working on your business and fleshing out those systems and processes and documenting them makes you better.
[00:17:53] It makes you more confident and it helps you really show up as that powerful, confident leader. That's going to attract those clients and make people say, oh my gosh, I want to work with this person.
[00:18:06] Cory Miller: Okay. I gather this feeds into some of these subjects that we talked about before the webinar is communication.
[00:18:14] Project management. Making more money.
[00:18:18] Jennifer Bourn: Amen to that.
[00:18:20] Cory Miller: Is all the benefits of doing creating systems in your business. And you again, are that shining star for that? So when we think about, okay, how do we create those products? I'm sorry, processes and systems. We're talking about communication, project manager, making more money, all of those things and whatever else you might be thinking.
[00:18:40] What's the first thing that sticks out that people need to take some big steps toward?
[00:18:48] Jennifer Bourn: There is so much focus on internal PM, right? Everywhere you turn it's how do I do better at PM? How do I save internal time? How do I make more money? How do I protect myself? How do I keep the client on track? How do I create boundaries? It's all about like me, protect me, get all the money.
[00:19:11] I think if we change our mindset a little bit, and we focus on client management and we prioritize client management it makes project management and everything else, way easier, right? Let's face it. Clients are the wild card in our projects with project management. We know the process, we know what we need to do. We know all of these things, but we can't control the client. They're the wild card. So investing in client management and creating systems around communication and education and creating comfort. Right? And creating peace of mind. Guess what? The client makes less revisions. They second guess things less. The scope creep is less.
[00:19:59] So you don't have to go back and use change orders and have hard conversations about money. All of those things fall into line. So client management and client communication, for me, it was like, okay, if my website projects, have these certain phases, right? I want a system to manage a client for every phase of that project from onboarding the client what does the client need to know?
[00:20:24] What do they need to learn? And how do I want them to feel at this point in the project? And then what do I want them to do? What do I need them to do? So my onboarding is all about bringing the client up to speed, educating them and preparing them to fill out that questionnaire, that intake questionnaire that I'm going to need.
[00:20:42]Then we move into design. For design it's what does the client need to know? They need to know how to give good feedback. They need to know how to talk about revisions. They need to know what design approval actually means. And what kind of the consequences are the, what are the ramifications of giving design approval?
[00:21:00] What happens if you have changes after you give design approval, right? You think about these things along each phase of the project, and you can craft the right communication to meet the client where they're at. So that makes a huge difference.
[00:21:13] Cory Miller: How insane most of us don't do this, but you're mapping out the entire customer exp or client experience. And from just the things you're saying you're putting yourselves, you're empathizing with them and going, if I were the client, what would I want to know? Like we got the me, me, me covered, you said, but this seems really empathetically. And that seems like that whole process for you came to like, what you started was that onboarding document, that questionnaire or answers the key questions you need in order to help them to meet their expectations with your work.
[00:21:51] I gathered. So would you say that onboarding document question or whatever it is, is the cornerstone to a really good, profitable project plan?
[00:22:02] Jennifer Bourn: Yes, I would. Onboarding is the very first process I ever put together in my business was for onboarding, bringing the client up to speed and helping them get started.
[00:22:15] One, because I needed to be able to assist. Instead of saying, wow, I can't start for two weeks or I can't start for a month. I can say, sure, I can start right now because my onboarding process is nine days long. So you can be taken care of you get value. You're being trained and educated and cared for.
[00:22:30] And I'm busy finishing up my other one. Or I'm on vacation, right? Whatever it might be. So onboarding was the very first thing I ever did. And I noticed it's dropped my admin time on projects by 50% from setting clear expectations and outlining how things were going to go and caring for the client game changer.
[00:22:50] And it made such a huge difference. I'm like I have to do this for every single thing I do in my entire business. I just started doing them one at a time, one at a time. But onboarding it's about really welcoming clients into your business. What the problem that most people have is they're like, Hey, thanks for signing the contract.
[00:23:09] Here's this form. Fill it out. Yeah. And then the client's I don't know the answers to these questions. I never thought about my business like this before, and guess what happens? It takes them forever to get it back to you. Like how many times have you sat there and yeah. Hello. I need to get this project started it's because you didn't prepare the client to fill out the form.
[00:23:30] So my onboarding process, the form is the last thing they get in the meantime, before that it's like, Hey, here's some things you want to be thinking about for your website. Here's some things like we send them a message. That's Hey, let's talk about priorities, right? Because you're going to, I'm going to ask you, what do you want somebody to do when they come to your website?
[00:23:48] And you're going to be like, I want them to buy a product and sign up for my newsletter register for this webinar. I want them to do 18 things. And that's not reality. Let's talk about it. If they come to your website and they do one thing, what do you want them to do? Yeah. And then if they really like you and they do two things, what's the second priority because that's going to guide the design.
[00:24:08] That's going to guide the flow. That's going to guide all the decisions about conversion when you're designing the site. So we start prepping the client. Think of here's some things I want you to think about. Here's some things that we're going to talk about when we talk about your website, here's some things that we're going to be asking you and you prep them and then you give them the form and they're like, oh yeah, this is all the stuff we've been talking about.
[00:24:30] Boom boom. I can fill this out and you get it back in a couple of days.
[00:24:34] Cory Miller: Okay. So day nine or whatever is form. But before that, on the, your onboarding experiences and an example, are you just saying it's an autoresponder series almost where…
[00:24:47] Jennifer Bourn: Totally, it's an email autoresponder.
[00:24:49] Cory Miller: Are they replying back clicking an action or is it just educational? It's just prepping them to be able to fill out the form. Brilliant.
[00:24:59]Jennifer Bourn: Educational. Like it doesn't require them to do any work until they get to the form. And I'm going to tell you, people are like, I would never do that. I don't want to send my clients that many emails. I don't want to be in their inbox. My clients are going to hate that.
[00:25:12]Guess what? It's been, I rolled this out. I created it like end of 2010, started using in my business early 2011. This isn't something I'm like, I did this a year ago. Guess what guys like, I've used this on hundreds of projects and I've tried let's put it all in a membership site and give the client a login.
[00:25:28] Guess what? They don't log in. I'm going to put this all in my PM system and give the client access. Guess what? They don't want to learn my PM system. I'm going to put this in the client portal. Nope. I'm going to put this in a welcome packet. They do. They download the welcome packet. Maybe do they look at it once for five seconds, and they're like nah!
[00:25:47] The emails guess what? People check email every freaking day. Every day. Yeah. So I usually tell clients, Hey, the best thing that you could do is read my emails every day. It'll take you less than five minutes, and I guarantee it's going to make the experience better. And it's going to get you a better ROI on your project.
[00:26:06] You will get better results because you will be equipped to be the best client ever. And if you don't want all these in your inbox, create a folder or a tag with Bourn Creative on it and just send everything there and look at it once a week. You're good to go. Whatever works for you.
[00:26:23] Cory Miller: So I come to you and I go, Jen I'm ready to engage. We're ready to go. We're on the sell call, I would assume. And then okay, I'm ready to go. And then on that call, I'm assuming you say, okay, you're going to get some emails from me or how do you prep them on the call before they start getting the emails?
[00:26:42]Jennifer Bourn: On a sales call, I usually always talk a little bit about my process, right? Clients always want to know about your process. So I talk a little bit about our process, but I really lean into the client management end of things, because that's also what is differentiating me from other people. I want people to walk away going. The other guy I talked to didn't say any of those things.
[00:27:02]That makes me the total best choice. So I lean heavily into that when I'm talking about process on sales calls with clients, but the majority of everything else I'm like really until you sign a contract, I don't care. So everything starts with signing the contract and paying that deposit when they do that, the very first thing I do is shoot them over a message that welcomes them into the business and gives them a link to schedule a project kickoff call it's 15 minutes.
[00:27:30] That project kickoff call. This is for projects that 15 minutes allows me to say again, connect with them. Face-to-face strengthen that relationship. Thank them for choosing me. Tell them how excited I am to work on their project, because people want to work on with people who are excited about their project, just like they are.
[00:27:51] It allows me to recap a couple of things in the contract that are important or provide a couple of reminders because clients tend to gloss over terms and conditions in the contract. So I bump over, I review things like what happens if you need more changes than are included in the contract. What happens if you need changes after design is approved, there's change orders, it might require some more money.
[00:28:13]We set that expectation right up front. So I confirm a couple things. I make sure nothing's changed since our initial conversation. Cause sometimes the sales process is long and then I set expectations. Okay. Over the next week or so here's, what's going to happen. You're going to get some messages from me daily, and it's going to help you prepare to fill out the form that I send to you so that it doesn't feel hard.
[00:28:36]I'm going to ask you some questions that you may never have thought about your business this way, or you may not have worked through these details when mapping out your business model or your e-commerce model. So the information I'm going to send you each day by email is going to help prepare you to fill that out.
[00:28:52] So you can do it quickly and easily, and it's not going to be any big deal. And they're like, oh, that's amazing. They love that.
[00:28:59] Cory Miller: Okay. Everything you said as putting myself in the shoes of the client, instills confidence 100%. When you say, share your process, I love it because it is a differentiator. And I hadn't thought about that too much, but if I'm, and I currently am on the other side on several projects of client being the client, what I want is to know that the work we talked about is moving along. I just actually checked in on that and we haven't even got to the project, man.
[00:29:28] We're just on onboarding right now. But I love that because so many times when I've worked with service oriented professionals or agencies, they don't understand that the incessant paintings from the client is they're not getting something that fills them with confidence. It's actually doubt and fear. And that you have talked about your process so much and said every step of the way you're going to be handheld
[00:29:56] Jennifer Bourn: Well you can't stop talking about your process. One of the things that when we go through profitable project plan, people like we already talked about this and I'm like, I don't care. Talk about it again. Clients are forgetful, they're busy.
[00:30:08] You're not their number one, priority your one project in their cog, right? Your one project. In all the things they have going on. So they're going to forget things that you said, they're not going to remember things and you nailed it when you're like with a client, has to reach out and ask. It means that they are starting to second guess things for your job, with all the client communication from the start of the project to the end of the project is making the client feel super happy that they chose you is reaffirming that feeling every step of the way of I'm so glad I made this decision.
[00:30:41] I'm so glad I chose them. So the very first thing we do in every stage of the project is all right, did we've got design approval. Let's recap this process. Here's where we're at now. Here's what's coming next. And here's how the rest of the project is going to flow. Here's where we're at now. Here's what's coming next.
[00:31:01] Here's how the rest of the process is going to flow. And we do that over and over because when the client knows those where they're at, what's coming next and how it's going to flow. Then they're confident and they don't ask those questions. They don't email you and they're not like what's going on.
[00:31:15] Are you even doing anything? This is especially important during development when you're building all these things out, because let's face it like there's interaction and onboarding, and strategy and all of that there's interaction and design and revisions and everything. And then you get into development and it's see ya, talk to you in a couple weeks
[00:31:33] It's like this black box that clients aren't involved in and they don't know what you're doing and they don't understand it. So having communication that happens while you're busy that saying, Hey, here's what we're doing behind the scenes. Here's what's going on. Here's some things you want to think about by the way, as we get closer to launching your site, it's not like flipping a switch.
[00:31:54] Here's some things that go into the lunch. Here's some things we want taking care of that kind of communication with the client while you're busy working, makes them feel like everything's happening, it's moving forward. And it lets you have those big uninterrupted blocks of time without interruptions.
[00:32:10]And when you pair those with off the cuff communications, say a Friday, check-in right. Hey, here's what we got done this week. Here's where we're at. Just checking in, making sure you're happy. Everything's okay. Do you have any questions, right? That creates an extraordinary client experience.
[00:32:27] Cory Miller: And at the end you're anchoring it to the ultimate outcome, which is that client's going to be so happy. They're going to tell everybody about you. There's so many aspects of the process, but one of it is, if you map out, we're just talking about the nine days of the onboarding right now, and you said you just got back from a vacation and you got two emails is you have enabled your own freedom to go do that because you're providing that, but you're also have systemized and automated it in a brilliant way, but I'm just going to scroll back to something.
[00:32:59] When you said our clients, we are not the client's number one like priority. And how true is that? I, as a client, I go, I need to get something done. I want google ads for this project to go, and I want it to be successful. That's my outcome. But when you have really processed that through and thought that's the experience they want and provided all the steps in between to get there.
[00:33:30] But the actual example I want to say is I engaged the firm a couple months ago and they sent me their big form now to their credit they said, I can hop on a call with you and do this, or here's the form. And I was like, oh, I'll just do the form. I should've known better because you've seen this over and now you're just going, yep, yep. That's why they had profitable project plan and all my courses, because, so what happened? I procrastinated and didn't do it for two weeks because I got stuck.
[00:33:57] Jennifer Bourn: That's what happens. Things that you can look at if you are, if you were sitting here in your business and you're thinking I really want to move up. I really want to be able to charge more money for my services. And I really want to be able to increase the fee on my projects. You can increase the fee on your projects without changing the actual project. You could take website a and website B they're the exact same website. One will cost $10,000 and one will cost $25,000.
[00:34:26] Do you know what the difference is? The level of handholding and consulting the client gets, I'll tell you, Brian just sold a theme customization for over $200,000, a theme customization. So for everybody who's like people aren't going to pay that for WordPress. Know where all the value in that contract is coming from is the consulting and the handholding and the meetings and the business modeling and all of the things that go into that.
[00:34:52] And that's nowhere more prevalent than e-commerce value. In hiring an expert to build you an e-commerce site. Anybody can click buttons and WooCommerce, right? Anybody can learn to click the right buttons, but few people can sit down and really consult on business model and talk about right bundles versus right bundles of things or kits or individual projects subscriptions.
[00:35:22]All of these things asking those right questions, providing that consulting. That's where the difference in fees come in. So one of the easiest ways to do that is if you document your processes and you have forums and worksheets for your clients, for me on the lower end, here's the form, fill it out and get it back to me on the higher end.
[00:35:45] I'm filling out the form and I'm asking them the questions on zoom and they just have to sit there and answer questions and I'm filling the form out, doing all the work.
[00:35:54] Cory Miller: That's so interesting.
[00:35:55] Jennifer Bourn: Same process. I'm getting the same information, but one is you do the work and one I'll do the work. I'm just going to ask you questions.
[00:36:05] Cory Miller: That's so good.
[00:36:07] Jennifer Bourn: Almost anything in your business.
[00:36:09] Cory Miller: I hadn't thought about how you could potentially value and price and package something like it is the experience. Do I want to fill out the form and wait two weeks or do I want the handhold now? You said two things and I want to dive into both hand-holding.
[00:36:25] I think I get that, but I want to ask about it and then there's the consulting. It seems like what I heard was combination of these two and I want to just push in and help our audience too. And by the way, don't let me hog Jen if you have a question, put it in the Q&A button, but hand-holding I think I get some of that process, but when we're talking about value, now we're getting into that how do we help people make even more money on their project and still $200,000 type? That kind of example what else does that mean? Okay. One, I get some of the handholding, but could you talk maybe more about consulting or something else I didn't catch and all that?
[00:36:59]Jennifer Bourn: I think when it comes to client services of any kind clients want to feel cared for, they want to feel like you've got their back. You're taking care of them. You're looking at the details, right? And clients want, are hiring you to take work off their plate. In most cases, they're like, I'm busy. I need this done. I'm going to hire somebody else to do it. So if you're like, great, thanks for paying me. Do all this work. Fill out this form, do this work, get me these things, figure this stuff out, write your copy and send it to me. Do all this stuff on your own.
[00:37:33]Now all of a sudden they're like, but I'm hiring you. I don't have time to do this. That's why I hired you. And now I'm having to do it. So you run into delays. That's why we run into content delays all the time, right? Especially people who are like, send me your content upfront. Guess what? How does the client know what to write? They don't know what to say.
[00:37:52] They don't know what to write. They don't know what they need. They're going to guess they're going to just make it up. They don't know how, what pieces of content they need for the right conversion funnel. They don't know any of those things. So what happens? They procrastinate. So when we're looking at client care, right on the lower side of things, right on the less expensive side of things, I automate that education and client care and handholding and assurance and prep and education.
[00:38:22]I automate it through email auto responders, so it happens without me and I don't have to put time into it. It's what allows me to deliver high-end projects for a lower budget price. It's like, how do I create the kind of client experience I want, but keep my projects at about that $10,000 mark.
[00:38:40] When I was working with freelancers and solopreneurs, right? 10 grand was a huge amount of money for them, but it was also if I came in at $9,997, they were like, yep. That's an easy, yes. Right that's but once you go over 10, it's oh, that's still on that easier end. Automating all of those things allowed me to do great things, but when you go up in price the more people spend, the more they expect to be cared for.
[00:39:08] Think about it when you invest in experiences, right? You can do a tour with 35 strangers who are going to talk and walk slow and get in the way of things. Or you can pay for a private tutor. And you get personalized experiences by client services is the same thing. So as I went up in price as I go and I say, okay, for 10 grand, everything's automated, it's automated and it's done. But when we get higher than that, or for certain clients, like I have do a lot of personal brand stuff for some C-suite execs, they don't have time for this stuff. So I'm like, how do I minimize the amount of time I need from you? How do I minimize your work? How do I minimize your involvement and maximize the results rather than sending you forms and having you do all these things.
[00:39:57] We could get it done in a quick 30-minute zoom session or in a one hour zoom session and knock all this stuff out and then I can go to work. And I don't use a lot of your time that holds huge value for your clients, right? So some handholding is the updates, keeping them apprised. Here's where we're at.
[00:40:16] Here's what's coming next. Here's what you can expect. Here's what we're doing. That's some of the handholding, but some of the consulting, forms and worksheets are the lower end. You doing the work and asking the questions and handling all of that is the higher end.
[00:40:32] Cory Miller: Now, how do you message that? Or do you message that on the front end of your website?
[00:40:37] Jennifer Bourn: I don't.
[00:40:38] Cory Miller: Okay.
[00:40:38]Jennifer Bourn: I do it in the sale in the sales calls when I'm sussing out the class.
[00:40:42] Cory Miller: Okay. Gotcha.
[00:40:43] Jennifer Bourn: Cause I don't want to be like, Hey, you're spending $10,000 with me, but I view that as a small project. So I'm automating all this stuff. So you don't bug me that much. On the front end of my website. I want every client, regardless of how much they spend to feel like they're appreciated and valued and to feel like they really matter to me. So those are the things that I assess out when I'm on that sales call. It's why we look at budget ranges and things like that. Now, if you go to my website, Bourn Creative right now, and you look at my form.
[00:41:17] My budget numbers and things are totally different than my actual workload because I'm booked solid and I'm not taking on any new work and all the work that I am, all the inquiries that I am coming in, am referring out. So I have a few really reliable referral partners and I'm handling it that way.
[00:41:32] But the really the key is in that sales call asking the right questions to figure out, are you a client who's more a fit for automated client care and communication? Or do you need heavy consulting? Do you need that personal high touch care?
[00:41:53] Cory Miller: Yeah. And I liked that too, because you've, you're, that's how you're able to do your margins and scale your business and take on more and better work. Because again, I love it. It's like the velvet rope approach that you've. Whether you say it to the client or not like the $10,000 level it's automated emails. It's not Jen Bourn's one-on-one minute, four minute time. It's do it once, scale it. And I love that, but higher end, you're getting paid way higher of her premium.
[00:42:25] What a brilliant way to do any kind of service oriented business, but particularly e-commerce and web design. I love that so much in the consulting. When you get to that higher end type packages. How does that look for someone? And I know you have a packaging and pricing mini course, I'm gonna put a link to it in the chat. And I know, I think I heard it's like your most popular mini course right now for good reason, because I think this is the thing having worked with freelancers for a very long time, served freelancers and agencies. The big thing is how do I price and prep package, but…
[00:43:00] Jennifer Bourn: Some people just guess. You're like, what do you charge? Yeah. Sounds good.
[00:43:03] Cory Miller: Yeah. Sorry, round about, I want to come back to my question. What does the high-end consulting look like? Is that, is it… cause I think part of the conversation might be. Or at least in my mind is go. I want to over-deliver people that spend 200 grand with me. I want to over-deliver, but I know you're so good at balancing what has been said and expectations where you don't get into this camp where I've over-delivered 15 times and they don't really value it.
[00:43:31] And they're actually devaluing me. And I know you dread that so perfectly, but, so how does the high-end consulting look and all that for an e-commerce type project, when you get into those,
[00:43:43] Jennifer Bourn: The majority of all of the consulting for e-commerce projects comes at the very start of the project, right? And the majority of it is tied around business decisions, right? Most of it isn't, Hey, let's talk about software. That's not what it's about. Most of that is business decisions, right? Are you going to charge tax? Are you going to build tax into are you going to build tax into your projects?
[00:44:08]How are you going to handle tax? What are the tax laws of the state that you're in? Because you can't just make whatever text decisions you want to make. You're governed by what state you're in, where you're selling, where you have employees, you're governed by all of these other things.
[00:44:24] But it's looking at business models. Like most of the time clients like, Hey, I want to sell this product on my website. Great. Are you going to ship it? Are you going to use a fulfillment house? Is it digital? Are you going to have a digital or a physical version? If it's a physical version, what happens if people want to buy more than one thing, what happens if people want to buy one thing and ship it to one place and buy another thing and ship it to another place?
[00:44:46] Can they do that in one order, right? It's asking these questions. This is they're all business model questions it's asking. If somebody buys this product, is there an upsell? Is there a similar product? Is there unlike on Amazon people who bought this also bought this and this, what are those things?
[00:45:05] Most people have never thought about that. They just know, Hey, I have these products and I want to sell them on my website, but it's your job to come back and say, Hey, have you thought about when they buy this product? What else do they need? What else are they going to have to think about? These are those questions in the consulting that you have to ask upfront and let's face it. We don't want to do this work for free. So it's offering paid discovery or paid consulting. So more than any other, I think kind of project, but e-commerce sites, membership sites, LMS sites, paid discovery is huge.
[00:45:42]So pitching that Hey, sounds like you don't have a lot of the answers to my questions, right? If you're on a sales call and you're asking, how are you going to handle this? What are you going to do about this? How are you going to handle this? And they're like, I don't know. I don't know. I haven't thought about that before.
[00:45:56] That's a good question. Oh, you're like, you know what? It sounds like that there are a lot of decisions that maybe haven't quite been thought through yet. Here's what I would recommend. And that's when you pitch paid discovery, we can help you figure out all of these details. We can put together a full functional requirements, document model, your entire e-commerce business, right?
[00:46:16] How are these things going to flow? How's it going to do? And then once you have that, we can accurately estimate the build because if we start without having answers to these questions, we either have to do it hourly because we don't know the full scope or we can guess, but you're probably going to have to keep chunking out change orders and additional investments.
[00:46:38] As we discover these things along the way.
[00:46:42] Cory Miller: You're the expert you're in the sales call, which is quote, free, but what you're, you just really cleared it out for me. You cleared it up. Which is in the discovery call. You're presenting big, hairy questions that they probably haven't figured out, but need to.
[00:46:59] And that's your part is both educator and expert and all that, that I was like, there's tension. I go, if you asked that, I'm going to say, I don't know, but that's where you connect the dots for me. And then here's a paid discovery where we can map it all out and make her recommendations. So you're like positioning almost your prepping and positioning your high-end consulting.
[00:47:22] We know it as paid discovery, but the client doesn't necessarily think about that.
[00:47:27] Jennifer Bourn: No. They're it's consulting. Yeah. And it's huge because you know your job on that initial call on those sales calls, right? And sometimes with e-commerce sites and larger projects, you're having multiple calls with different stakeholders and different people, your job on those calls isn't to answer all those questions for them, it isn't to provide consulting and solve those problems on the sales call.
[00:47:49] So you can put together a proposal. Your job is to find out where their holes and gaps, what information is missing, and then selling the consulting to help them answer those questions, fill in those gaps, and create a clear plan. So you can then estimate the project accurately was so many people try to go sales call, proposal. And that's fine when you're building a basic WordPress site, is fine. When you're building a basic site, a blog, a lead gen site, when you're, that's fine. You can go from sales call, the proposal. No problem. But you can't do that on these bigger projects because you don't have most of the time, all the information.
[00:48:32] It's very rare that a client is going to reach out and say, Hey, I need an e-commerce site. And here's my entire functional requirements document with every single detail already mapped out. I would love that, but that's not how it works.
[00:48:43] Cory Miller: You just showed us how to get paid discovery, which we know from our service side. But for clients, it's getting answers, filling in the gaps. So I'm going to assume and ask you, after the paid consulting thing, paid discovery at the end, they get some document, which is that requirements. So that's an outcome that they could conceivably. They paid you well, but they could conceivably go somewhere else and do that.
[00:49:15] But for the client, they've just got their answers, but I love how you've taken this thing. I need a e-commerce website. They come to bourncreative.com, hit the thing, get on a sales call. You're posing questions, trying to suss out the gaps as I understand it. And then going great. I offer whatever this paid discovery type thing is where we can, you're selling the first step of the outcome, answer these key questions, give you recommendation, steer you in the right direction and that the outside, you know exactly what you need.
[00:49:45] Is that an accurate reflection? And then you're going to propose the actual technical work on the backside.
[00:49:52] Jennifer Bourn: Yeah. And it works really well because also what I found is a lot of times I'm working with an e-commerce director. A director of digital. You're working with a marketing person. You're working with someone who reports to executive reports, to a board of directors, reports to other people. This step gives them something that says, Hey, we're going to map out the entire plan, all of the details and get this full document when we're done that I can give to my exact, I can give to my board.
[00:50:20] I can give to the people that I report to that says, this is exactly what we're building, right? This is what we're building. This is how it's going to work. These are the things so everybody, all stakeholders are on the same page. They know what's going to be happening. And then you can give that proposal or estimate.
[00:50:36] And the idea is that they have such a great experience during that discovery that they don't even think about contacting somebody else. You just mapped the whole thing out. You're naturally the best person to build it. If you're smart, you may also word that. Deliverable. So that you're the best and only person to deliver that work.
[00:50:59]Cory Miller: Okay. So what do you call that? The paid discovery thing? What do you to the client? What is that part? It's consulting? Mapping out a roadmap.
[00:51:11] Jennifer Bourn: Yeah. Typically when I'm talking with clients I am pitching them on consulting to define the project roadmap.
[00:51:18] They get the roadmap of the project. And the roadmap for me has two parts. It's the business model end of things. And then the functional requirements.
[00:51:29] Cory Miller: I love that in so many ways in one you're getting paid too. I'm what, I've learned, I think a negative planner. So I go, what could go wrong? All these five things and you put them all at the front and you got paid for them or you've automated it and all that stuff. And I think I keep thinking what could go wrong here. You're stacking it all at the front and getting the answers that e-commerce director has been like, we work with some marketing directors for instance.
[00:51:54] And part of that is I got to go sell this or share updates. And who wouldn't want to buy that? How that part of the consulting project, because they know how to talk knowledgeably and they have a document to, you know, corporate corporations. I think their love language communication is and spreadsheets and slides, but they have a document share with people.
[00:52:17]Jennifer Bourn: Because really at that point, your job is to make your client look amazing. This make them look like the rock star to their bosses. Anytime I'm working with someone that reports to somebody else, I'm like, okay, how do I make them look amazing to their bosses? Because then they're going to love me.
[00:52:30] And they're just going to want to work with me forever. So when you give them here's the business model that we've mapped out of the site that we're building here are the functional requirements. They can go back and give them that document. And then they can check back in. Here's where we're at.
[00:52:43]You don't give them that document and then never talk about it again. It's the same thing. You don't give them a contract and never talk about it again, as you're moving through the process, it's Hey, here's what we've done. Here's where we're at. Let's look at that functional requirements document.
[00:52:57] Let's look at this section done. Here's where we're at right now. We're going to tackle this part. Now we're going to do these things, here's what we're doing. And you refer back to those things as you go, and it makes it easy for your contact to go back and give updates to the people that they have to report to.
[00:53:13] Cory Miller: Okay. You have just gushed experience and expertise this whole time. I want to spend a couple of minutes talking about you. What's exciting that you've got rolled out next. I know jenniferbourn.com. Go check out everything Jen's offering there. I can tell you and would testimony if I don't have a testimonial to you, Jen I've got to get one over to you.
[00:53:32] I've seen you work. Seen your family work. I've seen how you do things. We've talked about all this. What are you most excited about what you're doing for next steps on these types of conversations for freelancers and agencies?
[00:53:44] Jennifer Bourn: Ooh, what am I most excited about? I think in November two things are coming one profitable project plan reopens for enrollment for the 2022 program.
[00:53:55]It's a 10-month long program. So enrollment only opens once a year. And then the content camp for website copy one of the biggest holdup. In building websites is the content. So we're doing a version of content camp. It's three full days of let's write your website, copy let's use frameworks and formulas.
[00:54:14] Let's write it and let's edit it, clean it up and polish it together. It's similar to what I do in content creators club, which is a monthly membership. We meet twice a month. You bring me your content drafts and your Google doc links. And I live edit it for you. And we talk through the whole thing. We clean it up, polish it and get it ready for prime time.
[00:54:34]I do a lot of work with these businesses on flushing out their messaging and their content because let's face it right. The first step to becoming that leader in your business and instilling confidence in your customers is having them. Love everything you're doing and learn from you before they even get to that sales call.
[00:54:52]If you do it right with your content, with your messaging on social media, on your blog, on your website, in your newsletter, right? In all the places that you show up, if you're consistent with your messaging and it's compelling and it's powerful and it's helpful, right? It positions you as the undeniable expert that your clients need.
[00:55:13]And that's where you want to be. You want them showing up to a sales call thinking I already want to work with this person. I just want to confirm some details before I pull that trigger. And I say, yes. And I signed the contract.
[00:55:25] Cory Miller: Okay. How to, and I already know the answer to my question, I was going to say, how do I get on your email list?
[00:55:31] And it's go to jenniferbourn.com. Scroll down the middle of the page right there. It says me, you, your inbox. Let's do this. I promise you that'll be one of the best emails you get your link section at the bottom. Jen, I'm sitting there going pocket, trying to get, cause I love discovering good things.
[00:55:51] Okay. jenniferbourn.com. Thank you so much for being here today and sharing so generously like you always do. I hope you will all will go click through, signup for one of these offerings that Jen has. I promise you, I can give you a testimonial right now live, that you will not be disappointed if you think about just think about for a second, what she does with her clients.
[00:56:13] And then you think about educational offerings to workshops and classes and groups and courses think about that. That's delivery. And you nail that, Jen. So thanks so much. I will be seeing you in two months at Cabo press with our friend, Chris Lema, who's host, and I'm so pumped for that.
[00:56:31] Alright everybody say thanks to Jen by going up and sign up for her email newsletter and perusing some of her projects she's talked about, but Jen, 'til I see you next, thank you so much for being on today.
[00:56:41] Jennifer Bourn: Thanks for having me.
[00:56:43] Cory Miller: All right. See you everybody.