5 Ways to Handle Scope Creep as a Freelance Digital Business Manager + Script Template

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

“Could you actually just help me set up one extra page as well? You’re all logged in already anyway.”

🚩 SCOPE CREEP.

“Actually – can you create 4 extra variations of that logo really fast? I know it’s not technically included but it’ll be fast since you already have the logo.”

🚩 SCOPE CREEP.

“Sorry I didn’t realize it was going to be so much work. Could you just interview a few more people for me? It’ll be fast, promise.”

🚩 SCOPE CREEP.

When you agree on ABC and the client comes around and says… ‘What about D? Can we add E and F and also G?’ What about HIJK?’ 🚩 🚩 🚩

These are all examples of scope creep – which we are NOT about.

So let’s talk about why scope creep is the worst as a digital business manager and how to address scope creep.

employees hiding from clients

How Scope Creep Hurts Your Business

  1. 👎 Tasks or projects drag on and on.
  2. 👎 It devalues your time – you’re working for free when you do tasks that are out of scope.
  3. 👎 It establishes a precedent for the future and you may find yourself stuck in more and more situations where your clients are expecting you to do tasks outside of your original scope.

5 Lessons for Addressing Scope Creep as a Digital Business Manager

Here are 5 lessons I learned that I want to pass on to you my freelancing friend.

A few of these are preventative measures aka, they need to happen WAY before scope creep happens to mitigate it.

Lesson 1 – Crystal Clear Expectations

We want to be crystal clear before we ever begin work with a client.

Saying you’ll write ‘one blog post’ leaves too much up to interpretation. If you don’t give someone clarity, how will they know what is included and what isn’t?

For example, If you’re a social media manager – don’t just say ‘I’ll manage your Instagram for you’. That is not a clear scope – that’s a broad description of what you’ll do.

Break down each phase of social media management that you will be covering so that your client knows exactly what to expect.

Lesson 2 – Put Everything in Writing

People forget things.

After an onboarding call, draft up exactly what was agreed upon.

Put your scope into a contract, or a statement of work, and have your client sign it.

If you want to get fancy, you can also create a change request log which basically is where you can log every change a client requests and you can track if they are accepted as in-scope or rejected for whatever reason.

Lesson 3 – Immediately Address Scope Creep – Do Not Wait

Alright – now let’s say you’ve done lessons 1 and 2 and a client begins to creep up on that scope.

Lesson 3 is about timing.

The lesson here is to IMMEDIATELY address scope creep.

Do not wait on this.

Do not set the precedent that they can just slip in extra work during a call and you’re like ‘yep, no worries.

It’s a dangerous, slippery slope.

lady saying it's irritating
Not only is that horrible for you and your future relationship with this client, but it’s also horrible for all future freelancers this client will work with because you haven’t trained this client – you are spoiling them.

And don’t worry – we’ll talk about how to address scope creep, word for word in lesson 5.

Lesson 4 – Stop Feeling Bad About Addressing Scope Creep

Alright – lesson 4 goes out to my people pleasers 🙋🏻‍♀️. Those of you that get it, get it.

Do not feel bad about addressing scope creep.

For a long time, I felt bad about saying no so I’d be like, ‘umm… that’s not what we originally agreed upon but ok…’

sigh gif

I just said yes to everything because I felt so bad about saying no.
I thought it would hurt the client relationship – I thought they’d fire me or hate it.

So this is my pep talk for those of you who feel bad – DON’T.

🍎🍐🍌 You don’t go to the supermarket, buy an apple and then after you buy it, turn around and ask the cashier, ‘could I actually also grab 15 bananas and a pear as well for the same price as just the apple, of course? I’ll be fast, promise.’

More stuff (more work), for the same price, makes no sense.

If you are doing more work – you should be paid to do more work. Do not feel bad about this.

A reasonable client understands this as this is the basics of doing business – and if they don’t understand this, they aren’t a reasonable client and you may not want to work with them long-term.

Lesson 5 – Offer An Alternate Solution Regarding The Clients Scope Creep – Don’t Just Say No

Alright, lesson 5 – let’s talk about verbatim what to say and how to address scope creep on the spot.

My go-to is not to say no – my go-to is to say:

“I’d be happy to do that for you for an additional X amount as it’s more work than we originally agreed upon. Let me know if that budget is approved and I can get started with that on X date.”

Instead of awkwardly saying no or awkwardly saying ‘ok, no problem’ – offer up a solution for HOW they can incorporate the additional scope.

Then a client can weigh that option on how bad they want that additional feature or work.

I always give them the extra price and any timeline adjustments needed to incorporate this new request.

LET’S PRACTICE handling scope creep!

If you’d like to practice saying ‘no’ to scope creep with me, hop on over to Youtube where we discuss scope creep in full and practice giving a client alternative options to avoid doing work out of scope.

YouTube video

This is how I would recommend practicing:

CLIENT: “We agreed that you would be helping me write a 1500 word article about puppies. The article is now at 1508 words. Can you just add another 1-2 sections on kittens as well? Won’t be more than 500 extra words, tops. Is that fine?”

What would be your response?

YOU: “I’d be happy to do that for you for an additional $30 as it’s more work than we originally agreed upon in terms of word count. Let me know if that budget is approved and I can get started with that on Monday.”
🎉🎉🎉

I hope this has helped you feel more confident the next time you find yourself about to do work out of your original scope.

Want ALL the juicy details on how to work online as a digital business manager?

Check out my FREE intro class which goes over what exactly a digital business manager does day-to-day, how much I make as a DBM, my 5-step plan to get you started and more!

What's in this post?

Want ALL the juicy details on how to work online as a digital business manager?

Check out my FREE intro class which goes over what exactly a digital business manager does day-to-day, how much I make as a DBM, my 5-step plan to get you started and more!