139 | Business Boundaries

Nicola provides the client challenge today, namely all the challenges faced by a new freelancer;  establishing a daily rack rate, discounting it (or not) for friends, enforcing her business boundaries and what to do when clients overstep the mark and ask for more than they are paying for. Yikes! It’s a tall one with lots of messy feelings involved, right up Judith’s rue for her book. Great timing.

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In the Show…

Nicola is happy to be settling into a new routine in her new house in Stoupa, home after her travels. She’s been out every night bar one since she got back, and that one she spent wrangling with Apple’s helpline trying to get her computer to speak nicely to her TV.

Since she announced on Facebook that she’s writing a book, Judith has been bombarded with FB sponsored content for ninja writing skills (!), editing, proofreading, marketing, for authors, book covers, and all manner of related sales materials. Thank heavens for Ad Blocker on her laptop, she’s only prey to this on her ipad.  And, in other book-related news, she’s delighted that so many newsletter readers have sent in questions for her to answer in the book, that she’s 33% of the way through her Scrivener training, and she’s manifested a more comfortable chair to sit in for her writing which she is taking as an encouraging omen, naturally.

  • What’s Fuelled Their Fire?

Judith’s celebrating 40 years of self-employment from 1st July 1977-2017 and enjoying her current business very much indeed right now, thanks to her clients and the book idea. And Nicola is downloading Xero on her computer; fortunately she’s discovered her neighbour is an Xero expert and has invited her round to help her with the sticky bits.

  • Client Challenge of the Week

A new freelancer is being coached by Nicola to set up a daily rack rate and discount it, where applicable, to ask her clients and friends “what’s your brief and what’s your budget?” and to contract with them by email before leaving home. This challenge is all about creating some business boundaries and, more importantly, enforcing them, and the difficult feelings that can go with this at times. Clean communication is all. Speak up sooner rather than later when people have unrealistic expectations of what you can do for the time/money, or who are pushing their luck and putting upon your good nature. Don’t wait for the explosion which inevitably comes and which confuses and upsets all. The earlier you say something, the sooner it can be fixed. Notice when your boundaries feel breached.

  • Words of the Week

Nicola chooses Expansion…into clutter-freedom in her new home, which also provides some nourishing personal and psychological space. Judith chooses Agency, not for the jargony use of the word which she dislikes intensely, but from the perspective of another definition which she loves and was hitherto completely unaware of “having a sense that you can create, influence, make things happen, aligned to autonomy/a sense of empowerment” and, according to a former client of Judith’s “a trust in one’s own capacities”.

  • Project Updates

This week update is about Nicola’s Write Club intentions to enter a £1500 prize competition, writing 3,000 words on the topic of A Journey which, as she says, she’s just returned from.

  • Who or What’s Impressed?

Judith: David Lee Martin’s Scrivener for Windows course on Udemy and this film about Elon Musk from which she learned about re-usable rockets that can land precisely back on earth and not clutter up space. Wow! Against the odds and all the naysayers who continued their scathing and ruthless attacks upon him, particularly upsetting since they were his own space heroes. Also, Judith learned that Musk had borrowed $20 million from the US taxpayer and repaid it with interest AND a bonus, so he made them a profit! Sometimes you can’t get a break even when you do all the right things as people are determined to see only their own agenda.

Nicola: the hostesses of Stoupa who have a constant stream of relatives coming to stay in the summer months and especially all the work they put into entertaining, fetching/delivering from the airport, turning around the laundry etc. Also Hidden Figures, the film about the women who worked at NASA. And (Nicola gets three this week!) her app guy and his “thrilling” commitment to ongoing customer service.

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Discover more…

Nicola Cairncross  NicolaCairncross.com

Judith Morgan  JudithMorgan.com


  1. Gosh, I wish I’d connected with you two when I started out as a copywriter! I’ve had 18 years of clients pushing boundaries – “could you just” etc. No more! Thanks Judith & Nicola…

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