What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
I charge hourly for consultations and different services; I charge a lump sum for workshops and trainings, depending on the number of participants.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
I give them a free consultation on the phone or in person; if they decide to move forward working with me, I draw up a proposal of work to be done based on the conversation; once client approves the conditions of the proposal and any revisions, I draw up a contract we both sign before work begins.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have more than 25 years of experience in the communication, education, and business fields, both in the US and overseas. I hold a bachelor's degree in Communication and a master's degree in Education--Diverse Learner. I have taken many workshops and seminars over the years to stay current in my field, regardless of industry or task needed to accomplish for a diverse clientele.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I wanted to "hang my own shingle" for many years, but I moved a lot and wasn't able to do that until now. I have worked in and out of the classroom and the business world--newspaper reporting and editing, fundraising and marketing, English language teaching and training overseas, communication and curriculum design at the university and high school levels, and now as a communication and business consultant.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I have worked with educators and students, with international business clients overseas, with small business owners and individuals who want to build a more professional profile and business presence. My clients have represented numerous industries and positions. That's what I love about what I do!
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I have been working with a company of
about 15-18 employees and staff. The
owner hired me last year to do monthly workshops for all the staff and then I designed three other leadership workshops for a small group of young people who have been identified as future leaders. Because we focus on their particular concerns and problems, everyone benefits, from the top down. These young leaders have been flourishing ever since, and everyone in the company is held accountable for what they learn in each workshop. They also feel valued by the bosses and by me. That is the most recent one but there are others.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Look for someone who really cares about your needs, not the generic needs of the industry nor their own particular, cooker-cutter approach to business communication consulting. It's all about relationships, not just about making money--what you are willing to pay up front to prepare your employees and colleagues for success will net a higher rate of return on the other end. To do that, you have to feel you can build trust with the service provider. I set my fees based on industry standards and my
years of diverse experience, and I give my clients more than they pay for in added value and extra time spent on their behalf. My advice is to remember Warren Buffet's words: "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." Make sure you see the value in hiring someone.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
What foundation pieces do I need in place to get my business off to a good start, or what foundation pieces do I need to re-evaluate now that I have been in business a while? What communication challenges are affecting my success or my company's success? How can I best use my money to get the services I need most?
How can create a healthy, professional, and caring work culture for my employees that reflects out in the business community and with potential clients and customers? And who can help me do that?
What is it that is most important to me? What do I want to accomplish first? What am I willing to do to see sustained results and what do I need someone to help me with? Be realistic and proactive.