14 client-screening questions to ask before designing a site

There was a time, early in my freelance days, when I gleefully accepted any client who came a-knockin’ at my door — no client screening or preliminary fact-finding recon necessary. However, I quickly learned that it pays to be selective, and moved to using a rigorous screening process early in my onboarding process.

Providing a finely tuned and comprehensive questionnaire allows prospective clients to work at their own pace, pondering the questions over time, while formulating their responses.

Trust me, working through this exercise at the start saves time and aggravation down the road. If the prospective client answers all questions to your satisfaction, in addition to confirming the right fit, you’ve assembled much-needed information for your proposal. Useful questions not only gather information, but raise red flags to seriously consider.

Ask these client-screening questions

Here’s my starter list of 14 key questions for your “new client” questionnaire; take … Read more

Cities with more diversity have more online micro-businesses

Amber Khan-Robinson, the daughter of the first African American athletic shoe designer in the U.S., has always had entrepreneurship in her blood. So when she was looking for ways to keep her three children from staring at screens all day, she decided to help them “start a business.”

Working at home in Atlanta, they made 85 hibiscus lime ice pops to sell at a festival. Soon, the family was selling hundreds per weekend at events around their city under the name MOKIPOPS.

When the pandemic hit, MOKIPOPS, like many neighborhood businesses, was forced to pivot their business to maintain sales. So Khan-Robinson set up a website for online orders. As customers began ticking up, the whole family pulled together to keep MOKIPOPS afloat.

“We just started delivering,” Khan-Robinson says.

She and her husband drive their 10-year-old son to a customer’s address and he takes it from there.

“He … Read more

How to use coaching as a leadership technique

Employee development is a powerful tool for business owners. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report of 4,000 professionals, 94 percent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. One great way to invest in your team is to coach them, stepping out of the training classroom and helping them learn day-to-day. Using coaching as a leadership technique can help you better connect with your employees — and help them become even better workers. Keep reading to learn more about what coaching involves and how to do it as a leader.

What is coaching in business?

Like all in-office learning, coaching is used in business to help employees learn and grow their skills. It’s not unlike in sports, where a hitting coach will help a baseball player get out of a slump or a shooting coach will work with an NBA player on their … Read more

What’s the deal with quarterly estimated taxes?

This post was originally published on Jan. 8, 2015, and was updated on March 5, 2018, Jan. 17, 2019, Jan. 30, 2020, and Jan. 15, 2021. 

The above content should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

When I first started my business, I was naïve about a lot of things. I treated colleagues like competition, didn’t require clients to sign contracts, and charged way too little. But I was by and far the most naïve about taxes. Quarterly estimated taxes? What are those?!

For one, I didn’t get that I was supposed to pay my taxes four times per year.

Wait. What? If you just did a double-take, don’t worry. Many of us have been there before you. We get so caught up in creating our first invoice or picking a logo that … Read more

Who Should be Named in a Will?

We know that creating a will can be confusing and maybe even a little overwhelming. But having one in place is the only way to ensure that your wishes will be carried out after you’re gone, including who will care for your children, pets and dependents.

To help simplify this topic, we’ve created a list of the key roles you should consider before creating your will. Having them selected upfront will make completing your will a lot easier later.

Who should be a beneficiary of a will?

A beneficiary (or heir) is any person who receives something from your will. You can list a class of beneficiaries (e.g., your assets should be divided equally among your three children).

But if you know you want your daughter to have your Aunt Sally’s ring and your son to have your grandfather’s pocket watch, you have to clearly spell that out in your … Read more