Just Add Sprinkles: How To Elevate Your Freelance Systems To Delight Clients

Sprinkle a little surprise and delight into your freelance web design projects so clients feel happier, more satisfied, and thrilled with their decision to hire you.

Systems To Surprise And Delight

Plain sprinkles, fancy sprinkles, holiday sprinkles, sprinkles in fun shapes: I love sprinkles.

Rainbow sprinkles add extra fun and a bit of wow to any yummy treat be it waffles, ice cream, cake, cookies, donuts, or cupcakes. The colorful, bright, cheery topping prompts smiles and squeals of happiness from people of all ages — and while we think of sprinkles most often as being a rainbow of colors, sometimes they’re chocolate and sometimes they’re a single color or offered up to align with a specific party theme or color palette.

While the history of sprinkles is up for debate, no one can deny how popular this little sugary sweet treat has become. Just take a look at Instagram — Sprinkles are like visual crack and we can’t get enough.

Adding sprinkles transforms basic sweet treats into cute indulgences and everyday desserts into fun experiences. Sprinkles make everything more special and create delight.

Sprinkle In Some Delight

Just as there are many different types of sprinkles — nonpareils, hundreds-and-thousands, jimmies, quin, sanding sugar, shots, pearl sugar, toppers, luster dust, and dragees — there are many different ways you can transform a basic client experience into an extraordinary experience, make your freelance clients feel extra special, and create opportunities to delight.

So take a hard look at your current freelance business systems and processes. Honestly evaluate the quality of your existing client experiences. Then go ahead and add some sprinkles.

Consider how and when you can introduce a little surprise and delight into your projects and ask how you can:

  • Embrace fun and joy in your work?
  • Add something unexpected and surprise clients?
  • Increase the perceived value of your offers?
  • Go the extra mile to helps each client feel special?
  • Delight clients and create happiness and smiles?

To do this you aks have to ask:

Is there a specific part of the project that feels extra hard and drains my energy? If so, what can I do to change that?

When creating the client management systems in my business back in late 2010/early 2011, I identified client onboarding and mid-project client communication as a problem area.

  • Answering the same questions repeatedly and doing all of the onboarding hand-holding needed to get new clients up to speed and engaged in the website design process sucked up so much time that it negatively affected my ability to finish up other projects.
  • I was frustrated with situations where the client gave final design approval, the site moved into development, a bunch of progress was made, and then client asked for additional design revisions. Then, when I enforced the approval, they claimed to not understand what “design approval” meant.
  • I had far more work than I could possibly manage well and things started slipping through the cracks, which meant every client did NOT have an extraordinary experience.

Thankfully, my client management systems fixed all of these issues!

The new client onboarding system for my website projects was the first process I defined, documented, and deployed. I even decided to automate the onboarding process so it ran automatically after the client paid their deposit — without me having to do anything! The process sets expectations, provides education, answers common questions, outlines the project flow, delivers the intake questionnaire, and surprises and delights clients with bonus resources they weren’t expecting.

I knew getting a step-by-step system for onboarding in place would be a gamechanger for my freelance business. I also knew it would level up the care and support clients received. The most amazing thing though was the feedback from clients. I began getting emails that said, “Wow. Just wow. This has been worth every penny and more. Thank you!”

What’s even better is that I was getting that feedback before we even began actively working on the project!

It was incredible and it saved me so much time that I rolled out similar systems for every phase of my website projects, which means clients receive education, care, tips, support, and delightful surprises and bonuses every step of the way.

As a result:

  • Projects are much more fun and enjoyable.
  • Little details and unexpected bonuses surprise and delight clients.
  • Extra value is delivered throughout the entire project.
  • Conversations are more personal and meaningful — because the client management systems take care of the low-level tasks — which helps clients feel special.
  • Clients feel happier and more satisfied, which means they are nicer and more appreciative and understanding.

Working on my business gave me the opportunity to sprinkle in some delight and delightful clients provide fabulous testimonials, case studies, and referrals. Now, my systems get reviewed, evaluated, and refined as needed each year to ensure the every client touchpoint continues to align with my brand and properly shapes perceptions about my work and my business.

Sharing My Business Sprinkles

The only time sprinkles make people unhappy is when they’re spilled on the floor — no one wants to clean that nightmare of a mess up. But with the right tools and planning, you can stop sprinkles from spilling across your kitchen.

The same is true for your freelance business. Usually, the only times you must deal with unhappy clients are when the ball gets dropped, promises are broken, and expectations are unmet — and that can be prevented with client management systems designed to add value, deliver delight, and care for, support, and educate your clients through every step of your work together.

So, I’m sharing my business sprinkles…

Profitable Project Plan, my business training and mentorship program for web designers, developers, and agency owners, gives you my entire client management system for website projects — including the sprinkles (client education to add value and extra bonuses to add delight) — done for you and ready to be customized for your brand.

Enrollment opens in November, but you can sign up for program notifications now and get the secret Early Bird Deal only available to those on the list!