How to set business expectations

Setting kind business expectations

Six thousand dollars of uncollected fees! That’s what the average freelancer or independent worker loses each year, according to the Freelance Union.

$6,000 sawbucks, smackers, clams.  That’s a little over 20% of the $25k a micro-business makes in a year.  That’s major.   Just imagine what that money could do in your life. Help your family.   Invest in your education. Finance your next escape. Live more of your dream life right now.

Buddy, you need a system

Why do soloproneurs lose money? Lots of  reasons.  Some, like the recession, you can’t change.  Some reasons you absolutely can.  And, that’s what I want to talk about your back end.  No, not your rear, although that might be on the line at some point, if you don’t focus a little on what happens behind the scenes in your business.

You are losing 6k because your back end is weak.  You know, the systems, policies and conversations you have with clients, colleagues and co-workers that protect your  money, time, or work product. You need a system to set and communicate the back end of your business.

Be the leader

If you know me, you know I’m a bit of a rebel.   I like to break rules.  But you have to know the rules before you break them.  And before that- someone has to set the rules.

That person is you, my friend.  You set the rules for your business, especially the rules around paying you.  I know this is a touchy topic, but you are the thought leader.  It’s your job to speak up about the money, set the expectations and enforce them.

Set Kind Expectations

How do you set kind expectations? Three fairly simple steps.

  1. Make a list of things that weaken your bottom line that you’d like to see change.  I don’t know what that means for you, so I hope you’ll say in the comments. For me when I was consulting to Fortune-ranked companies it meant things like:  scope creep i.e. adding work or training seats without negotiating for them, being a slow payer, copying my materials and using them internally without permission.  Now, coaching self-employed folks, it’s still about creep and payment but also attracting action-oriented clients, fairness in joint venture and protecting my brand.
  2. Figure out what you expect.  Crazy but sometimes what you truly expect and how to meet that is not all that obvious to you.  Ask yourself: in the best of all worlds, when it comes to _____, I expect ____________. Do that for each item on the list.  For example, when it comes to payment, I expect to be paid on time.
  3. Teach your others (clients, partners) how to treat you. Once you know what you expect then you can share that in a positive way that helps your client hear you and act accordingly. Try framing your kind expectation with this attractive opener- I do my best work when…  Hello, who doesn’t want the best work, service, advice possible? Getting what you deserve becomes an easy yes when your clients know their best solution or result hangs in the balance.


You can be powerful in your own business and life.  You can set the rules expectations so that both work the way you want.  That’s the reward for being an entrepreneur and helping so many others.

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