Cultivating relationships is more important than accumulating favors - #IMadeTheAsk with Jordan Gill
Welcome to the #IMadeTheAsk entrepreneur spotlight series, where we share the stories of entrepreneurs and small business owners who have made the ask...and lived to tell the tale.
Read on to learn about Jordan's business journey, how making a bold ask propelled her entrepreneurial career from Day One, and why getting to a peaceful place makes asking easier.
Tell us a bit about yourself, and your journey as an entrepreneur.
I'm Jordan Gill and I'm the founder of The Kolada Group which is a business operations firm. I’m also the host of the Systems Saved Me Podcast. I've been in business as a full-time entrepreneur for 2 years and I actually didn't even have a business before that - so I actually made a complete leap from my full time job to the entrepreneurial world and thankfully I made on my feet and didn't have to eat ramen everyday!
I enjoy creating systems and putting in place automations that allow business owners to have more time for the people who matter - their families, their friends and their clients.
What's an Ask that you chickened out of making...and regret?
I was working with a client on the creation of content - and the scope of our working started changing. Even with the content creation agreement in place, we ended up working on a full launch instead. I’d agreed to work on the launch, but I should have asked for the rate to change to $5,000 a month - that’s how much running a launch for someone costs.
Instead, I didn’t ask. I wanted to be in the client’s good graces because I saw it as a potential continuing relationship. But I also just rationalized not asking, because I knew she was already paying a lot for other things in the launch. But for the amount of work I had to do, and how much I had to push back schedules on the other work I was doing for her, I regret not asking for more money. That said, I’m one of those people who doesn’t dwell on the regrets. ‘Boohoo’...but now I know for next time.
What's the Ask that you're most proud of making - whether or not it worked out
I’m definitely most proud of raising my rates with clients - they quadrupled!
I had switched my packaging and I was starting to get clients that were at a new rate of $75 an hour, instead of the old rate of $20 an hour. The $20 was ok at first because it was just side money, but once I had 3 new clients at the higher rates I really wanted my previous clients to move up to that level as well.
It was scary because I was basically going to be asking this person to nearly quadruple the rate for nothing else but for the sake of me being able to get clients at the new price. I was very very aware that this could mean that he would not be a client anymore and I was ok with that. I’d made peace with that so that when I asked was a whole lot easier.
I made the phone call, he said he needed a moment to think about it, and then he said yes. Which was kind of crazy and honestly wasn't what I was expecting but he was a great client of mine and I enjoyed working with him.
Which Ask has been the biggest win for you - professionally or personally?
Honestly, one one of the biggest asks wasn't really a negotiation. When I made the leap into entrepreneurship I had about 6 weeks notice so I wanted to actually have something to land on. I asked some friends of mine and said ‘hey you've known me for two years, you've known me for a year, and I’m looking for clients who need help in x,y and z areas. Can you send me a potential client?’
It was such a big win because I was able to start my entrepreneurial career making about $12,000 a month which is kind of insane and I hadn't heard of anyone else being able to do that. I understand the power of people and connections and really building relationships and not just looking for ‘tit for tat’ all the time. It's always so interesting that most people think that you have to have an even exchange at the point of exchange. You don’t. I'm just not one of those people. I think that people might ask me for something now and then 6 months or a year later I might ask them for something. Nobody's counting is what I always say. I think it kind of helps shift other’s perspective as well, understanding that I'm not trying to just tit for tat at all the time...because that doesn't feel very good.
What's your #1 piece of advice for other entrepreneurs or business owners who are gearing up to #maketheask?
I would say to be at peace if somebody says No. To get to that peaceful place before you get on the call, before you're at the contract, because then it makes the ask a lot easier, at least for me. I'm already at peace if they say No, and then it's ok. So if they say Yes - then yay! You’ve prepared for the No mentally and emotionally so it doesn't hurt or sting, and you don't go crawl in a hole after hearing it.