Why I’m fed up with the statement ‘under promise and over deliver’

Simplified Business

November 3, 2022

I believe in a slower, simpler approach to doing business. One rooted in intention, meaning & purpose, where you find that beautiful (yet often seemingly elusive) balance between deeply supporting your clients, honouring your creativity, and reclaiming your time, energy and heart.
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I have had something on my heart for quite some time now. And that is, I’m fed up with the statement ‘under promise and over deliver’ as it relates to your client experience.

There I said it! Big sigh of relief.

Just listen to a podcast or read a blog post related to Client Experience and I’m almost positive they will tell you that providing your clients with an amazing experience is all about under promising and over delivering.  

The worst part is, I have been guilty of saying this phrase to myself and to others in the past!! The honest truth is, it’s taken me over a year to start dissecting this phrase and discover why it always bugged me and why I think it’s soooooooooo harmful to empathetic solopreneurs. It’s because it doesn’t allow for our humanity or take into consideration how hard it is to try and wear multiple hats in our business on a daily basis. Guess what, sometimes we can’t always deliver on what we promise (sometimes life gets in the way, we have to take an unexpected break or something unexpected sets us back slightly). As a solopreneur we don’t have a massive team to rely on, nobody who we can delegate to or rely on to pick up the pieces.

And at what stage do we stop over-delivering? In my experience (working with a lot of big-hearted solopreneurs, most of whom are also people pleasers) they actually don’t know when to stop over delivering. 

This leads to stress, overwhelm and sometimes burnout!

We try so hard to make everyone ‘happy’ that we end up forgetting about our process, what we are realistically able to deliver and what has been charged for. 

I know this because I am a recovering people pleaser myself 🙂

How can you ease the pressure surrounding the need to over deliver? How can you feel ease around navigating client boundaries – all without compromising the personalised care and unique service that you’re known for?

Here are my 3 simple strategies to generously support your clients without the overwhelm:

Get really clear on what you do well, and what sets you apart

Here’s the thing, we aren’t super human. We can’t possibly do everything well. There is no one size fit’s all approach to designing a signature experience for your service. 

Deeply embedded in each and every one of us is something that makes us shine, that can help set our service apart, and can offer your clients incredible value. By identifying this magic, you can create a really intentional experience for your clients, without feeling the need to always go above and beyond. Rather than adding more deliverables to your service, you can create a service that feels in alignment with, and of value to, the people you can best serve.

I see this when working with my clients, over and over again. They have a special brand of magic that we can use to infuse or weave into their client processes that really supports their clients, but also helps them do it in a way that feels natural and effortless for them. 

For example, I worked with an incredibly talented photographer (Lori Young), but beyond that, she is exceptional with kids! As an ex-nanny, she knows how important it is to let children be little, and so we used this incredible super power to create a unique brand of magic that is used throughout her client journey. Lori realised that if she showed the value of offering child-led shoots she could connect to her perfect fit client & let her talents shine! We then created her entire workflow centred around what she did well, and created a signature experience for her clients.

Create consistency in your process and find tools to support you

One of the biggest obstacles I see for my clients is that they don’t have a clearly defined process, OR it’s not consistent. 

This results in their clients taking the lead and them trying to keep up. 

This can show up in lots of different ways, like clients constantly checking up and finding out when they can expect something from you. Or feeling like your client work is draining or that you are constantly behind.

That is an awful feeling, and is what usually leads to you feeling guilty, possibly letting your boundaries surrounding your work slip and feeling the need to provide more than what you originally charged for. (this used to happen to me over and over again).

Which is why by getting really clear on your  process, you can gently guide your clients and stay one step ahead so that they always feel valued, seen and taken care of. You can anticipate their needs before they have asked and create valuable brand touchpoints to set yourself apart in your industry. The best part is you can make use of technology, to help you execute this process time and time again.

I always advise my clients to find ways to streamline and simplify their process. Remove what doesn’t add value and find ways to use technology to support you and make your life easier. My favourite tool is obviously Dubsado, which can help you create a really personalised service, and has incredible features to be a real asset to your business.

Here’s another little tip – plan for delays or stumbling blocks in your process. I always encourage my clients to create a running behind email or scheduled emails that lets their clients know where they are in the process and what they can expect next. 

Create a signature, repeatable workflow

Ok so once you have discovered your unique brand of magic, you have streamlined and simplified your process, you can now create a signature, repeatable workflow.

This isn’t about radically transforming your current systems and processes – but rather using the foundation you have already built to enhance what is working well, create brand touchpoints centred around what makes your service unique and look for opportunities to create a workflow that feels more like an experience rather than a checklist.

Now you need to document your process, think about how you want your client to feel at every stage of working with you. How can you gently guide them through your process in a way that feels in alignment with your brand values, and the unique brand of magic you can offer? Are there simple things you can create to still support your clients.  Can they be automated, or created once and continue to serve you and your clients.

One of my favourite ways to do this is through guides, and pre-recorded videos. This makes everything feel really personalised and thoughtful, but you only need to create them once and they will continue to add value long after you have created them.

This is how you create a client experience that is memorable and leads to more repeat business and referrals. It’s not about adding more deliverables to your to do list, it’s about creating an experience around the service you provide. It’s about creating a seamless client experience that showcases your value, helps you charge what your service is actually worth, and brings connection, joy and ease back into your business- ensuring both you and your clients get the support you deserve!

If this really resonates with you and you want to find out more – head on over to see how we can work together. Or sign up to my newsletter where I share more tips on how I run a thoughtful & intentional business rooted in slow business values & principles.  

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Why not craft an intentional goodbye ritual (aka off-boarding workflow) that will help you clients look after their images. A process that will help you get more reviews, sell more albums, and help you and your clients feel soooooooo supported. 


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Have the support of someone who can challenge your thoughts, remind you of your magic, and gently hold you accountable so you can accomplish your vision for your business.