Client FAQ

Your Questions Answered!

Before embarking on our work together, you may well have a few questions. I've rounded up the most frequently asked below, which I hope you'll find helpful. It covers everything from the services I offer to pricing and billing.

If you find your question unanswered, please get in touch, and I'll get right back to you.

Working Together

Q: What types of services do you offer?

I work as an independent consultant, and generally speaking, engagements take one of three forms:

  1. Consultancy — The majority of my engagements can be considered consultancy. There's an element of your business that you need help with, and you believe my experience, expertise, and advice can help you improve things. There will be a measurable outcome, something I can help you make better. Consultancy can take the form of an ongoing engagement or a discreet piece of work such as a "Marketing Roadmap".
  2. Trusted Advisor — Many clients choose to continue our relationship post project. Today I work with several individuals and teams in an advisory role. Often taking the form of regular sessions with 24/7 access, I am on hand to lend help and advise when the problems (big or small) arise with you and your business.
  3. Coaching — Typically, coaching engagements focus on you and not your business or product. Instead, sessions centre on helping individuals change and improve the way they work, live, and think. This option is ideal for solo founders and leaders new to their roles.

Q: What type of clients do you work with?

My clients all have one thing in common — Shopify. The last decade of my working life has focused on Shopify (7 years at the company itself and three years as an independent consultant). I know the ecosystem, the companies, the people, and the challenges. I'm one of a handful of consultants specialising in helping Shopify focused businesses — if that's you, let's talk!

Q: How do I know if I'm a good fit for your services?

To help us work this out, I'll ask you to complete a short survey before your free initial consultation. This will help me understand more about you, your business, and your challenges. Being as open and honest as possible in your replies will help me determine if I can help you move forward.

After our initial conversation and assuming a good fit, I'll present 2‐3 options for you to choose from.

Q: How do you work with your ongoing consulting clients?

I'll act as your strategic advisor. I'll ask the hard questions to help you make the most informed decisions and invest in moving you and your business forward.

We'll meet weekly for online working sessions during our engagement, and you'll have 24/7 access to me via Slack/IM/email. We can get into the meaty topics on our calls — in-between, I'm available for feedback and to answer those burning questions.

Q: What happens if we want, or need to, change our ongoing consulting engagement?

The moment we agree to work together is one day closer to the inevitable break up conversation! For some clients, this point is a year away — for others, it's a few months.

There's a reason you hire me at this moment in your businesses existence. I offer something you need today — that need will change as you grow and develop. It's entirely natural.

Having tried various approaches to ongoing engagements, I now offer fixed term and fixed price agreements — for example, six months. At the outset, we'll set the objectives and measures and work towards these during our time together.

During our fifth month of collaboration, we'll meet to discuss the current situation and work out the best way to proceed together.

From here we can go one of two ways:

  1. Renew — We carry on working together for another fixed period making adjustments to the agreement based on the progress we have made in the previous six months. This could take the form of increasing the scope of the project or moving our relationship to a "trusted advisor" style engagement.
  2. End — We've achieved our goal and there's nothing left for us to do.

It's all good!

Q: Can you help us implement the tactics you recommend?

My current service offerings do not involve tactical execution. However, I am fortunate to know a lot of talented practitioners who I will happily introduce to you.

Q: Do you offer introductions to your network as part of your services?

To respect relationships, I do not offer introductions as part of my service offering. However, I am happy to make connections when it's highly relevant to the project, and I believe the recipient will be very interested.

Q: May I speak with a couple of references about working with you?

Of course, please get in touch and I'll join the dots.

Admin & Logistics

Q: Where are you based?

I live and work from the city of Bath in the South West of the UK (GMT+1).

Q: I'm based outside of the UK. Can we still work together?

Absolutely. I currently work with clients in Europe, the USA (EST & PST), Canada and beyond. Some early starts and late finishes on either side may be required, but we usually make it work!

Q: Can we add you to our Slack workspace and/or email you for advice between calls?

Yes! I'm happy to be added to one or two dedicated channels in your Slack workspace and make myself available via email in-between sessions. I can't promise I'll reply within 2 minutes or even 2 hours, but I will get back to you within 24 hours.

Q: Can my co‐founder and/or team members join our working sessions?

For consultancy, absolutely. I politely ask that you share who will be on the call and their role in the project in advance of our session. Coaching tends to be 1-1, but I am open to small group work too.

It's not unusual for team members to initially feel threatened by the presence of an external consultant — I get it. However, your team mustn't see me as the "competition" but rather as someone who is fully invested in helping your business improve. If there are concerns, I will, of course, raise them with you.

Q: Will you sign an NDA agreement?

I understand that the Shopify ecosystem is relatively small and well connected. We'll likely know the same people. However, my reputation rests on the fact that I keep our conversations private. If you would like me to sign an NDA/confidentiality agreement, please let me know in my initial survey.

Pricing and Billing

Q: How much will this cost me?

Every engagement is tailored to your exact requirements, and as such, prices will vary. Factors including your investment, the scope of work, your timescale, and the delivery method influence the cost. I'd be happy to share more about costs during a free consultation.

Q: Is there a minimum engagement term for consultancy?

Yes. I politely ask that we agree to a three-month initial engagement — here's why.

The first few sessions together can feel a bit messy and unstructured. It takes time to get to know each other and dig into the issue(s). Experience has shown me that the really good work starts 4-6 weeks in. Neither of us wins if we quit early — great work takes time. A three-month initial engagement ensures we are both invested in the success of the project.

Q: Can we pause or downgrade our ongoing engagement during holiday periods?

Politely, no. Our agreement will cover a fixed time period and will account for the eventuality of you, and occasionally me, taking time away from our businesses. I'll ensure we recognise this at the outset, so neither of us feels hard done by!

Q: Do you have your own consulting agreement, or do we need to provide one?

I have a short and easy to understand agreement that I provide for us to both sign. Put simply, it covers how we work together, IP and confidentiality, and that I am responsible for paying my taxes!

Q: What are your invoicing terms?

For project work, I invoice in advance for 100% of the agreed fee.

For "fixed term fixed price" ongoing consultancy agreements, I invoice on the 1st of the month for "1x" of the total cost. For example, if we agree to a six-month term, I will invoice 1/6 of the total value each month. Alternatively, you can pay 100% upfront and benefit from a 5% reduction in total cost.

As a small business, I kindly ask you to settle invoices within seven days.

Q: Can I pay by credit/debit card or PayPal?

Whilst direct wire transfer is preferred I am happy to accept payment by credit/debit card and as a last resort PayPal.

Q: Do you always invoice in £GBP?

I do. My invoice will include full details for international bank transfer. If this is a concern, let's talk about it.

Q: Are you a sole trader or a limited company?

I own and run a registered UK limited company which was incorporated in 2004. It's listed as Metro 55 Limited #05243642 and I trade as "Keir Whitaker" for simplicity.

Q: Are you registered for VAT in the UK?

Yes, my UK VAT registration number is #177672955. If applicable VAT will be charged at 20% and clearly stated on the invoice.

Q: Do you charge for travel expenses?

Editor's Note: Travel, remember that? This section was, of course, written when we were partying like it was 2019. Alas, times have changed but let's look forward to the day we can happily convene in a room together once again.

I love to travel and am happy to get on a train or plane to meet you in person. All reasonable travel expenses will be agreed in advance and I will pass on copies of all receipts with my invoice.

UK meetings outside of the South–West generally require train fare and a single nights accommodation. For longer trips, I respectfully request flights and a minimum of two nights accommodation (i.e. the night before the meeting and the night of our meeting. This means we can get the most from our time together).

Last Updated: Monday 29th November 2021

Have More Questions?

Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any further questions or would like to discuss a consulting and/or coaching engagement.

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