Have you ever found that a client asks you to do something out of scope and you didn’t quite know how to respond? You thought, “I don’t want to make my clients unhappy, I don’t want to put more on my team and make them unhappy,” so you went ahead and did the work yourself.
In today’s episode, we’re talking about what scope creep is and more importantly, what to do when it happens to make sure you’re taking care of your clients, your team and yourself too. You’ll learn a framework that I teach inside of my program AGENCY to help combat scope creep.
Welcome everyone to the Scale Your Way podcast, episode 87.
You’re listening to the Scale Your Way podcast, where we share simple, proven strategies just for done for you service based companies. Here, you’ll learn how to scale your business on your own terms so that you can have more time money, create a bigger impact and a better life. I’m your host, Nicole Jackson Miller. Let’s dive into today’s episode.
Hey, everyone. All right. Today we were talking about how taking on more work yourself as the business owner is not protecting your team. And we’re going to talk a bit about scope creep and what to do when it happens. So. Hello. Welcome. I hope you are having a great day so far. For those of you who don’t know me. Hello, my name is Nicole, and I help done for you service providers step into the role of agency owner and really create a great environment for all of the people in their business. And those people are their clients, their team and themselves, too. So if you’re here, I’m sure that you are looking to build an agency that values people.
And this is a great quality. It’s one of my core values. It’s what I teach. It’s kind of what runs behind the scenes with all of the content that I create for my clients, because that’s ultimately what my goal is, is to help other agency owners, other businesses create a environment where they prioritize their people and their experiences, and that they don’t just prioritize one group of people. They’re actually looking at everyone again, clients, team and themselves, too.
So the upside to prioritizing people right is that I believe that when we really look at supporting all people inside of our businesses, we create a great environment, we create a great company culture and ultimately it does make for a better business. It will help you with the outcomes and the goals that you have inside of your business and help you be able to grow better and a little bit easier, too.
So the downside sometimes to this is that when I say prioritizing people, sometimes as business owners, we feel we take certain actions because we want to make it a better environment, let’s say, for our team and clients. But in doing so, we end up not really taking care of ourselves either. And in fact, what can happen is that by not taking care of ourselves or not thinking about solutions that don’t necessarily involve us doing more work or working all night and not like, again, prioritizing our self-care, it can lead to a pretty terrible experience for other people, which is what we’re trying to avoid in the first place.
So when you have a client who, let’s say, adds to the scope of work and you don’t want to put it on your team, right, because you want them to have a good experience, so you say, you know what, I’m just going to do this myself because it’s not really their fault. Like, I need to be the ones, the one that’s doing this. I don’t want my team to be upset. While it can seem like a nice gesture. It ultimately doesn’t create a great environment for team, and it’s actually doing the opposite because what your team really needs is you to show up as the leader of the business and of the team.
And so it’s not to say that you jumping in to handle work yourself can’t be a temporary solution. I get it. I do this myself. Or it’s sometimes like something pops up and it’s like, Oof, I like accidentally messed up here. Let me just jump in and take this over, right? It’s OK if it’s sometimes a short term solution, but it can’t be a long term solution. So if you find yourself in a position where you were doing this over and over again, or maybe you’re in such a habit of being the one to do the work and to do this, that you’re not pausing before you habitually do this and thinking about, wait, is there another way then it can not work so well. Your agency is not going to grow and you ultimately aren’t going to get that end result of creating a culture where you’re prioritizing your people, right? And again, that’s your team, your clients and yourself, too.
So if you do decide to do this in the short term, I want you to know it’s OK. It’s, you know, it’s coming from a good place. And now that you can see that it actually isn’t serving your clients or your team member or really your business, let’s put a transition plan in place, right? Let’s put a transition plan in place so that you aren’t the default person who has to come in and and take over things when clients go out of scope or maybe step out of the boundaries that you’ve created for their package, let’s do things different.
Let’s create a plan that you actually implement this time, right? So maybe you maybe you’re aware that this is something that you do, but you’ve just never done anything about it. This is the time where you can start doing things differently and you will notice that it will be a huge change in everyone’s experiences. So this is really one of the biggest reasons why people quit an agency model business and say that it just doesn’t work.
And I get it right. I mean, what is the point of having a business or an agency when you have a team, you’ve hired a team to deliver, but you’re still jumping in to deliver too, right? It can feel, I call it the in-between. I need to come up with a better word for it. But basically, we have done for you service provider, right, where you’re the one who’s doing the work. Then we have your agency right where you’re leading a team to do the work. But there’s this weird in-between stage. That people find themselves in where they’re still doing like the work, but they have a team, they’re paying a team to do the work, but they’re still involved in implementing and they’re also answering all of these questions for team. And it feels like, wait a minute, I’m paying a team to do this. They’re not really doing it. I’m still involved. What am I paying them for? It’s a very confusing space, and it’s OK if you’re in the space right now, it’s actually a very good sign because it means that you are on the journey of transitioning from done for your service provider, agency owner. But there are definitely things that you can do to really be able to fully step into the agency owner role.
So one thing that I highly recommend I’ve referenced this before, it’s been on the podcast, so I want you to take a huge what can be huge or small, whatever a post-it note and I want you to write. The solution is never to just do it myself.
Now, like I said before, it doesn’t mean that if something pops up right and you have to jump in to do something, you can, but that cannot be the long term solution. If you ever find yourself in a position where you are having to jump in to do something, I want to make sure that you really set aside time to have a debrief of what happened, what worked here, what did not work here and what needs to change in the future so that I don’t have to jump in right? What we just did this inside of my program AGENCY, where we outlined roles inside of the business that some that were being fulfilled by team, some that the business owners were doing themselves and the process and who was responsible for each of those processes. And then we identified where the gaps were right. And so we identified where is there a people gap and where is there a process gap so that they had the information that they needed to be able to go and then implement in the future so that their business operated more in the way that they envisioned, right? They run and to really bring that vision to life. And that’s what we’re doing inside of that program AGENCY.
So I want you to take a look at, you know, how to debrief and say, like, Okay, is there a people problem? Is there a process problem? And what? How do we need to? What do we what work do we need to do to be able to move forward and have this? Avoid this from happening again in the future? And again, this is all things that we cover inside of my program AGENCY. It’s where we take these frameworks and we actually customize it to the individual agency owner and their company. So Post-it Note is my biggest tip. It’s so simple, but it has really helped a lot of people. So I want to I always like examples. So let’s play out a scenario where the client adds the scope. So we’ve already identified that, OK, if I have this Post-it note and the solution is not for me to jump in and just do it myself, then what do I do, Nicole? Right? So the thing about the Post-it note is that instead of just habitually going and just being like, I’ll just do it myself, right? We want you to pause.
So let’s say you’re a web designer and you’re doing you’re supporting a client with a course launch with some pages for their their program or course launch. And you need to design. Let’s say they ask you to design four extra pages last minute. Maybe it’s like a checkout page. I don’t know. Let’s just say that maybe they’re doing some interesting funnel things right, but you need to do four additional pages and you have a team that’s working on the project but feel bad putting that extra work on them. Same time, you want the client to be happy. Right? So we have this situation right. We want client to be happy. We want team to be happy. And we also want ourselves to be happy to write so and we’re trying to break the habit of just taking on the work ourselves.
So in the past, you would have just jumped in, said, you know what, you two you two groups remain happy, like, I’ll take, I’ll take this one. But instead you read the post it note, right? The solution is never to just do it myself. Right? And this will allow you to pause and just think for a minute, because maybe the solution is that like, you know, you’ve totally missed something in the sales conversation. It is completely on you. And at this point, you just need to go in and do it. It’ll you measure your time and energy and but you’re debriefing and you know, in the future, there’s going to be there’s going to be a change in your sales process to make sure that you include all of the pages, right? OK. That’s we’re going to put that aside for a minute.
Let’s think about some other creative ways to handle this differently. So one thing is that let’s say the client reaches out to you and they’re like, Oh my gosh, like, we just changed our funnel strategy. We need some extra pages. Can you do this? So it’s interesting. Like, Yep, I’ve got it. You can say, You know what, client? I’m going to check and see if the team has capacity to handle the additional scope, and I’ll get back to you by X time or day or whatever. And if they have capacity, you can apply a rush fee and then pay the team the rush fee, right? If they are going to be doing extra work, if they’re an employee, you can give them a bonus depending on how you pay them. And so that can be a solution, right?
So that the client isn’t just getting a yep, we’ve got it right, which is like, Oh, great, great. That’s kind of like training them to think like, Oh, this must have been included, and maybe I can add some more pages in the future. It’s like, Nope, this was outside of our scope of work and let me just see, let me see if we can do this right. You could also tell the client that your team doesn’t have the capacity and offer another solution.
So, you know, maybe their team could replicate a page that you’ve already done. Maybe there’s like another designer that, you know, that could jump in to help. You could also tell the client it’s outside of scope and that you’ll be able to do this one time with a rush fee. But in the future, you need X amount of days notice, right? So there’s there’s this give and take right. What I see oftentimes service providers doing is just saying, Yep, I’ll do this. Yep, no problem. But I want you to pause and think about, is there anything that I could get in return so that this will make it a more fair exchange for both of us? Right. So maybe it’s a rush fee, but maybe, maybe it’s just the acknowledgment in your email that it is outside of scope and them agreeing that in the future they will give you X number of days, right? Because maybe, maybe you forgot to mention that or maybe you haven’t set that amount of days before and you want to communicate that right? So this is where really pausing and seeing, OK, what would make this an equal exchange? It doesn’t always have to be money, right?
It could be acknowledgment. It could be a promise for the future, right? Which then you can a boundary for the future, which then you can enforce. And it could be. I’m sure there’s lots of other things too, right? I would love if you are listening or, you know, hearing this, whether it be through IGTV or on Facebook or on the podcast. Like if you have other creative solutions that you’ve offered, I would love for you to reach out and let me know. You can send either comment or you can send me a DM on Instagram.
So ultimately, right? I know that you’re trying to do a good thing when a client comes to you and you jump in to do the work yourself because you don’t want to put it on your team. I want you to know is that this is not going to support your team or your clients or yourself moving forward. So if you’re going to do that right, I want you to make sure you debrief and then figure out, is there a people hole or gap, right? Is there someone on the team that I hired to do one thing that they’re just not doing it for whatever reason, right? It could be that you actually never delegated it to them, or it could be that there was a misunderstanding. It could be that they maybe didn’t think it was in their scope and you’ve never like talked to them about it, right? So really debriefing right people process and then also setting some boundaries and coming up with some creative solutions and not just defaulting to, yep, I’ll be the one to do it and having that be the end of it, right? That’s where people start getting really frustrated and oftentimes quite resentful of clients of team themselves, right? And that’s we’re trying to do the opposite of that, right. So start examining these what can seem like very, very small decisions and actions that you’re taking to make sure that they are really supporting yourself, your clients and your team and ultimately helping you grow your business.
All right. If you want more support with us and more support with this framework, I highly recommend you check out my program AGENCY. It’s currently open for enrollment for October enrollment and we dive into this. I give you frameworks and also we have the support system that’s there for you as you implement not just the first time, right, but as you grow, you’re going to need to reexamine similar things in your business and adjust them based on your experience. And so that’s why we have a 12 month program. We have different frameworks that we walk you through when it comes to the foundations of your business, delegation management and leadership so that you can ultimately show up for your people and be able to create a really great culture for for everyone in your business. If you are interested in learning more about AGENCY, you can head over to NicoleJacksonMiller.com/apply and read all about it, and it feels like a good fit. Send us an application we’d love to chat with you, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out. I hope you are having a great day and I will see you next time.
Thanks so much for tuning in. If you are ready to stop settling for being a done for you service provider and really fully step into the role of agency owner and CEO and lead a team that you love that just delivers excellent client results, then you have to check out my new program called Agency, which is specifically designed to remove you from at least 50 percent of client delivery in 12 months or less, so that you can have the time in the space to be able to run your business and, you know, to take a tech free vacation, too. That’s always nice, right? So if you’re interested in learning more, head over to NicoleJacksonMiller.com/apply. You can learn more about the program. If it looks like a good fit, then apply and we will send you before our call, we’ll send you a free business assessment that will really explain more about the framework that we use to remove you from client delivery, and it’ll give you an assessment that you can take to really show where you are now and where you’re going, we’ve had so many people get a lot of insight just from taking that assessment. So I can’t wait for you to check it out.