Booking Projects for the Upcoming Year
Today Sam & Karyn discuss booking projects at year’s end so you can slow down while planning ahead, and how to leverage this time of the year to create exclusivity in your calendar.
Episode 28: Booking Projects for the Upcoming Year
Knowing your goals and availability are among the first steps needed to start booking future clients.
Karyn Paige, Sam Munoz
Sam Munoz 00:00
The biggest outcome of booking now and working later is that you create certainty in a space that is very uncertain where there are a lot of times that you’re asking yourself to step into something that doesn’t have clear 100% outcomes. That’s the life of an entrepreneur and a business owner is that nothing is ever really certain. I mean, that’s just life in general. But this creates certainty, right? It creates certainty around how you’re spending your time in the next year, it creates certainty around the availability and then it creates that financial security to know I’m not going to have a dry January or February, I have projects booked. My clients have monthly payments that they’re making. They made a deposit this year, which helps for this year. But also, more importantly, it’s setting the stage and setting you up for success in the following year, which I think is huge. Welcome to Making website magic where we empower women to step boldly into their web design businesses follow their intuition and claim the success they’re worthy of. I’m Sam Munoz.
Karyn Paige 01:00
And I’m Karen Page, where the Tech Wizards behind Sam Linnaeus consulting and the making website Magic School of Business where two women here to talk about what it actually takes to run a web design business that’s aligned with your vision.
Sam Munoz 01:13
Spoiler alert, it probably isn’t what you think it is ready to hear about everything from refining your business vision, networking with intention and creating a magical client experience.
Karyn Paige 01:22
Let’s do it.
Well, hello, Karen.
Karyn Paige 01:31
Hey, Sam, how are you today?
Sam Munoz 01:34
I’m doing super well. We are approaching the end of the year. And this is my absolute favorite time of the year. Without question. I think I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before, like I’m not a summer person generally. So as soon as like the weather starts getting cooler, I know summer has officially ended and I can move into like the fall and winter. Fun holidays like all of it. So my energy and excitement is like through the roof today. And just throughout the rest of the next couple months,
Karyn Paige 02:02
I feel the exact same, this part of the year like corner for when you’re kind of winding down, you’re thinking ahead, you’re getting cozy like it’s this great intersection of slowing down and looking forward. So that’s where I’m at in my sweater with my pumpkin harvest candle burning off to the
Sam Munoz 02:22
side. So oh my gosh, I love it. What’s really interesting is that we just finished we just wrapped up two days of planning for 2022. And I think that is really cool context and perspective to be going into this episode today about booking projects for the upcoming year. Because we did spend a significant portion of our planning time and talking about availability for next year financial goals, who we want it to be working with what kind of projects we want it to be basically manifesting and bringing into the SMC studio. So I’m so excited to talk about this topic today, and get into some advice and ideas around actually booking projects for next year. So before we get into that, though, let’s talk about our fun, end of the year review, exciting thing that we’re doing.
Karyn Paige 03:13
So we are sending out an invitation right now, on this episode to anyone who’s listening. If you have yet to leave a review for this podcast, we would love for you to do that. We’d love for you to leave a review and then take a screenshot of it. and tag us or DMS on Instagram. And we’ll send you a special gift.
Sam Munoz 03:33
Yes, I love it. And the reviews that you all have left already have been amazing. The DMS that we’ve been receiving about the podcast episodes have been life giving. And thank you so much if you’ve taken the time to share with Karen or I about your thoughts and opinions. And you know how the podcast is affecting you and affecting the way that you’re seeing your business. Some of the things that have come up in the DMS things about like, you’ve completely helped me see that I don’t have to have things like an email list. Like there’s a lot of unlearning happening and just the graciousness of you taking the time to write a long form DM telling us about your experience with the podcast. I mean, I can’t I can’t say how much I appreciate that.
Karyn Paige 04:15
Yeah. And so we want the like ripple effect, I guess to go a little bit further out. So the more reviews that you leave for the show, on whatever platform that you listen to our podcast, helps us reach more women who are in the web design and development space. And if you have been impacted by the show, we would love to just like keep that goodness going out into the world. So yeah, definitely tag us on Instagram. You can find our Instagram handles on making website magic.com Just go to make the website magic.com/twentyeightwhichisgoingtogiveyoutheshownotesofthisepisodeand You’ll find the links to our Instagram accounts there.
Sam Munoz 04:56
Awesome. Okay, letting that go. Moving on into the topic. For today about booking projects for the upcoming year. As always, let’s start with why we’re talking about this, why this is an important topic to discuss, and especially like right now. And I feel like that’s reason number one, right? We’re starting to approach the end of the year, by the time this episode goes live, it’s going to be November, we’re going to be you know, fully in the swing of the holidays, and all sorts of winter things coming up. And we’re rapidly approaching the end of the year. And so let’s start thinking about next year.
Karyn Paige 05:30
Yeah, and you might already be doing this in your business, you know, this is the time of the year just like we set aside some time to plan what we wanted 2022 to look like, you might be doing the same thing. So while that’s going, you can get your wheels turning about booking projects.
Sam Munoz 05:44
Right. And I do want to share a little bit of a story. When I started my business, that very first year of business, it went really well it was it was great. I enjoyed all the clients I worked with, I found you know, a lot of success doing the tactics that we talked about on this podcast and within our mentorship. However, I knew I wanted to have a slow December and I wanted to be able to take two, three weeks off December in January, you know, for Christmas and New Year’s and things like that. And so I was like I’m doing this, which was awesome, like fully committed to that kind of self care and like giving myself time off for the holidays, like two thumbs up for that. But what I neglected to consider was this idea of, okay, when I get back to work, what am I working on? Right? So January, I had maybe one client that was like, kind of a recurring person. But otherwise, I had no projects booked. I spent January booking projects for February, it all turned out okay. But the issue was that December ended up having a lot of stress for me thinking about how am I going to book these projects I’m supposed to be taking time off. And I did. But like my mind was going right? My mind was thinking like, there’s no consistency, I have no security, there was like nothing that made me feel good, necessarily about the business moving into a new year. However, had I stopped, which I did all of the subsequent years, right? stopped and considered how can I start booking projects now November, October whenever you want to, for the next year, so that I can have that security and that safety net. And honestly just knowing that projects are upcoming. So I definitely learned from that experience. And I hope that today’s episode encourages you so that you can learn from my mistakes. And you don’t have to make those same mistakes yourself.
Karyn Paige 07:29
Yes, You took the words right out of my mouth, like lesson live lesson learned, and then share what you know, so that others can grow. Oh my gosh, I just made that up. Right now do bars bars. even know what I just said it on a shirt, but I know it right. Okay. But yes, like in honor of consistency, which we when we’ve talked to so many women web designers like in conversation, this is a really big issue and like brings up a lot of anxiety, like not sure where my next project is coming from. Not sure how I’m gonna meet my financial goals. So in honor of consistency, thinking ahead on projects for the new year, and getting those on the calendar can really relieve a lot of the anxiety and frustration and stress.
Sam Munoz 08:09
Yes, and I mean, that’s like you said that’s the one of the biggest things that we come up against is feeling like these highs and lows and peaks and valleys and dips, when in reality, if we kind of are always looking ahead booking projects for the future, knowing our availability, knowing how much we want to charge and all of these things, there can be less dramatic peaks and valleys and it can become more of a consistent flow, which honestly makes us feel so much better and makes us feel more free to do different things in our business when we don’t feel so attached to the scarcity of not having money or clients. We like to say here, book now work later, right. So book now work later, whether that be like this year to next year, which is when I when that phrase always comes up for me, but it can happen anytime, right like time is a construct. So technically, you could do this March, you can just say I am taking April off. So I will book my next project for May. So whenever you’re listening to this, this will still apply to you booking projects for the upcoming year though I love this just there’s so much around the new year that a lot of people experience. So we’ll talk about how you can make this happen for yourself in a minute. But let’s talk about the beauty of booking now and working later.
Karyn Paige 09:21
Yes. Okay. So first of all, when you book now, you’ll get paid now, hopefully, that’s part of your pre client journey in your sales process, right? Like you can book a project right now in 2021 and get that deposit going. And then you know that the work is there waiting for you later
Sam Munoz 09:42
on. Right and you can play you can start planning out the beginning of your year you’re like great, I’ve got this project on deck. I know exactly. You know when I’m coming back into work after taking some time off or you know, even if you didn’t take time off. I know that like January 6, I’m coming in. I’m going to get started on this project. We’re going to have a welcome call with my client like There’s so much planning that can happen, which of course, as we’ve talked about in several of the previous episodes, episodes, 27 and 26, about just process and timelines and things like that, knowing that you have work waiting for you is also a part of having a good solid process and allows you to just get into the work and do it and do it well for your clients and create that magical client experience that we’re always talking about. The other side of this is that it does help with financial projections. Right? If you know, I’ve got $5,000 coming for me in January, awesome. I’m like, already off to a good start for my financial goals that I have for the next year.
Karyn Paige 10:38
Yeah. And then kind of tying that in, right? You touched on it just a little bit like the time piece and the availability piece, right. So you already know that you have this chunk of time on your calendar for 2022 that’s blocked off, which allows you to feel one comfortable, but then also, like, Look further out and be like, Okay, well, my next availability is coming up here. So it’s constantly like, in conversation around like when you’re available, and also knowing that there is time that’s already secured.
Sam Munoz 11:09
Right. And, you know, I love that you said the word knowing, because to me, the biggest outcome of booking now and working later is that you create certainty in a space that is very uncertain where there are a lot of times that you’re asking yourself to step into something that doesn’t have clear 100% outcomes. That’s the life of an entrepreneur and a business owner is that nothing is ever really certain. I mean, that’s just life in general. But this creates certainty, right? It creates certainty around how you’re spending your time in the next year, it creates certainty around the availability, and then it creates that financial security to know I’m not going to have a dry January or February, I have projects booked. My clients have monthly payments that they’re making, they made a deposit this year, which helps for this year. But also, more importantly, it’s setting the stage and setting you up for success in the following year, which I think is huge. Just one less thing to have to scramble around. And again, when we start scrambling, when we start feeling like our backs are up against the wall, this might be when we start undercharging, it might be when we start saying yes to projects we shouldn’t, it might be when we start saying yes to clients that we don’t actually want to be working with, but giving yourself some space and time. I mean, that’s, that’s beautiful. Yes.
Karyn Paige 12:21
Okay. So there’s one piece that when you’re talking about that it made me think of to just, we’re not talking about planning out through like October 2022, it can be like very close, it can be January, February, and then that’s really the baby step like the momentum that you need to kickstart your year, from a place of certainty, right. And then like, also thinking about time off for holidays, right? Like we touched on this a little bit earlier in the episode, like if you’re someone who’s like, I want to make sure that my summer or my spring break, I have time off with my family or like here at SMC, we want to make sure that like December, we always have the last two weeks off that certainty of getting your financial projections off to a good start also allows you to like build time in for rest, and really have a certainty around when that availability can be on your calendar. And like we’ve talked about this, in our episode on burnout, Episode 20. In our episode on self care, like, even if it’s not around, specifically, like holidays, or breaks or whatever, like, you can create some certainty around your calendar. And when you’re working, even if it’s your weekly daily schedule, you know,
Sam Munoz 13:38
totally and I think the beauty and I mentioned this before, just with my own experience, the beauty of knowing that you’re taking that time off for whatever it may be, in our case at SMC for December in particular, it is time off for you know resting, recharging holidays, things like that is that you can be fully present in those moments because you’re not worried about where’s my next client coming from? It’s already on the calendar. You’ve already got automated payments coming in starting January 1, right? There is no question about all of those things so you can fully rest knowing that that stuff is just waiting for you. And that’s awesome. That is I will again from personal experience that first year super, super stressed. And every subsequent year after that I have had the most joyous holiday break, just knowing like, all these projects are coming. We’ve got stuff scheduled, we know what’s happening next, like I can fully rest so that I can come back in January recharged and ready to do this. And this is again, I love that you mentioned like this is not something you have to do at this time of the year. This is just one particular use case for this concept of booking now and working later and it’s a really good one because we’re going to talk about this now in terms of like how can you actually make this happen for yourself? The beauty of this is that you are not the only person that’s thinking ahead in your business right Your clients are already thinking ahead to what they want to do in 2022, your past clients, your potential clients, so everybody is kind of in this same headspace of like, what’s happening next year. And so how do we use that and leverage that for booking now and working later?
Karyn Paige 15:18
Okay, so we start with knowing what our own availability is and what our own financial goals are, what our client goals are, right? So that’s a piece there, just to kind of get your wheels turning, like, what do you want? Your 2022? To kind of look like? If you don’t know this is a good time to answer that question for yourself. Right? Like,
Sam Munoz 15:39
how much money do you want to make? How many clients do you want to be working with? On average? How much do you want to make per project? How many clients do you want to be working with per month? These are questions you can start asking yourself now so that when you are thinking ahead for January, February, you can say, Okay, I know I want to book three clients every month, let’s just say, so you want to book three clients every month? Great. Let’s start getting people on the calendar for January, let’s start getting three people on the calendar for that, right. Yeah. But it has to start with you has to start with you knowing.
Karyn Paige 16:08
And then also like on the flip side, if you want something to be different in your business, and what you’re currently experiencing, right, like maybe you want to work a four day week, next year moving forward. Or maybe you want to increase your pricing a little bit and work with fewer clients. But again, you have to kind of know that for yourself. And so if you haven’t already asked yourself those questions, this is a great time to do that.
Sam Munoz 16:33
Yes, I love that so much. And I think the next step here is like, Okay, who do we talk to in order to start booking for next year. And so when we’re, you know, over your SMC and the things that we’re talking to our mentees about is like start with people like your past clients that you just worked with, this is a great time to check in with them and see what their 2020 goals are, how you can be a part of that just do a genuine check in, you can do you know social media posts and things like that saying, Okay, I’m booking projects for next year, like, let’s get on a call now, so that we can get you on my calendar for next year. And really creating that exclusivity around your calendar and saying, like, I take time off in December, I’m here and ready to go in January, like let’s do this, let’s hit the ground running next year. Those are the sorts of people that you can be talking to past clients and people that are looking ahead for the next year and looking to do something maybe new in their business or take, you know, their tech side to the next level.
Karyn Paige 17:29
Yes, past clients kind of makes me think of, you know, just reaching out me like, hey, New Year, you know, new projects, you want to expand what we’ve already done together, this is how we can work together, et cetera, et cetera,
Sam Munoz 17:41
your contact list? Yeah, right. Like, think about your contact list, whichever episode that was, we’ll link it in the show notes, we have an episode all about like the email list versus the contact list, like who is on your contact list and within your referral network that you can reach out to and start letting them know I’m booking projects for next year. That’s the who,
Karyn Paige 18:00
that’s the WHO for sure. And then the other piece, too, okay, let’s say you know that you don’t want to undercharge yourself anymore, right? It is not uncommon to raise your rates in an upcoming year, right. And therefore, it’s not uncommon to make an announcement to your contact list, saying, hey, get on my calendar. Now. Like if you book now, you will secure my 2021 rates, because they are increasing.
Sam Munoz 18:26
I love that, again, that’s that idea of like leveraging the time period, because this is a time where conventionally people will raise their rates like this is a great time for anyone who is considering to make these kinds of moves. Again, you can do it whenever you want to. But if you are looking for a time, now is definitely a good time to look at your rates. And I will say like, look at your pricing, right? See where you can incrementally increase, like if you feel nervous. Definitely. I think we’ve talked about this several times. But I will say it again, we’re 100% not advocates of just double it, that whole idea of like, just take your rate and double it. There’s so much context and depth missing in that. So in our six month mentorship, we have an entire class dedicated to pricing and breaking it down and understanding why you would charge that much because that’s highly important. But if you are doing that kind of work, and you’re looking at your pricing, and you’re like I do actually think I could charge $50 More an hour or $1,000 More for this package. This is a great time to do that and let clients know like, Hey, if you want to book me at my current rate, this is the time you can book it now get a deposit were secured. But next year, if you want to work with me, this is going to be the rate that’s a very compelling marketing and sales tactic. That’s not sleazy. It’s just honest. Next year, I’m raising my rate. That’s just the reality of it. And
Karyn Paige 19:47
I also just want to point out like, again, from like a client centered point of view, people who are in this zone of thinking ahead, making investments in their business like doing their own financial projections. those types of clients are probably going to be very receptive to the idea of like booking a project at a rate that they can get it on the calendar this year. And then that kind of helps them with like, even things like tax periods. It helps both of us, right. But just this is kind of maybe maybe like an advanced business idea, but like, it benefits your potential clients to book in this year, because then they can clinic kind of like close out their like tax stuff, right. And we get to as well, that’s income that we have for this year. And that’s expenses that they have her for this year.
Sam Munoz 20:40
Yes, these are all like extra benefits and ways that you can position this type of offer, right? Why book now? Yeah. Another thing too, is like just thinking about the fact that it’s a new year, right? And you we touched on this a moment ago. But if you’re reaching out to past clients, or reaching out to people that you’ve worked with before, this is just such a good opportunity to say it’s a new year, what are the new things that you’re doing in your business? And how can a new website or an updated website or a refresh or a brand refresh or things like that, what are extra things that you need, that we can get on the calendar now, because again, that creates some level of the word that keeps coming up is making your calendar just a little bit more exclusive, right? Just saying like, I’m not available 100% of the time, here’s my availability, that is Uber professional. And is also again, it’s creating very clear guidelines for doing work with you. And I love that idea of it also being client centered too, because then they know when you’re available, they know that they’re on your calendar. So they also can enjoy their holidays, knowing like, my new website is going to happen next year, it’s already on the calendar, we’ve got it blocked off, I can just chill and rest. And then when we come into the new year, I’m also in the same headspace of like, let’s do this work. I mean, all of those things that we just mentioned are great things to talk about on a discovery call with someone or talk about in an email that you’re sending out to past clients, I definitely would recommend sending that email individually. Right. So like people that you’ve worked with, you’re like, hey, I love these things that you’ve been doing all year. I think, you know, if next year, you’re looking to take your course to the next level, or you’re looking to upgrade your branding, like here’s all of the details that we just talked about, right? The updated pricing, the benefits of booking now, and working later. And all of those things, I love the idea of pulling that all into a fabulous personalized email. Yeah,
Karyn Paige 22:33
and just kind of to wrap things up. But also to keep things simple, like this whole process, it can take a very minimal amount of time, in your schedule to one figure out what your goals are for the year. And then to craft an email or a few emails that go out to the types of clients that you would like to continue working with. You know, having like a few discovery calls me up in the next several weeks to talk these things out. Like it’s almost like it’s not as much effort as you think it is. It’s just a matter of showing up cracking open that laptop and giving it a shot.
Sam Munoz 23:15
Yes, and I do I think that what’s really great is Episode 29, we’re talking about the pre client journey. This is a journey that your prospective client goes on to work with you. And these episodes are really going to go well together. So definitely listen to that one when it releases, because we are going to talk about how to make that process very simple. Because to us, Karen like that might sound really simple. But if someone has like a very muddy pre client journey, the idea of like booking someone now might feel a little bit overwhelming, right because they’re maybe not using systems or, or good processes that make it simple for them and simple for their clients. So it might feel like a high barrier to entry both on their part and on the part of their client. But we’ll get there next episode and I definitely invite you to listen to that one to make this whole process very simple, right? But again, it can be just as easy as sending an email, taking a deposit this year and getting a contract signed and then just having on your calendar, that project and you know you are no longer available. January 12. Do you know February 15
Karyn Paige 24:25
I love that
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