Special Projects 101

Several months ago that I came out of the closet as a Special Projects Lead. It’s true. Before that, many of the people in my network, new or veteran, sat with wrinkled brows; curious either about how I made ends meet with such a selective approach to new web design and development projects or why I assumed ownership of projects outside of digital property development at all.

Truth is, I have always (subconsciously) felt like a Special Projects Lead. I just never had the words for it. Some would call it highly creative, über-adaptable, ambitious, or even opportunistic, and, while all of them are certainly honest and true, none such label really told the world what I was doing in the process. The process of fearlessly pursuing creativity.

Most of the people being introduced to me are actually brand managers and executive leadership talent looking for a versatile, virtually dextrous creative to help them design, develop, and deploy powerful integrated marketing initiatives. Sometimes this involves the design and development of a new digital property (website, eCommerce, or system); sometimes it doesn’t.

Still a lot of questions remain: What is categorized as a Special Project? What does a Special Projects Lead do? How do you (read: I) steward successful Special Project missions? What are some of the previous Special Projects you (read: I) have experience stewarding?

Some of the more recent Special Projects on my roster include consumer pop-ups and in-store branded activations, consumer research, systems adoption, design, and implementation; as well as specialty product/service development and targeted recruiting and team building. Commonly, the Special Projects I gravitate to are those well-supported and rooted in high-stakes branding, business, and reputation management initiatives working through data-driven, experiential, or otherwise consumer-focused efforts (customer experience, etc.).

Thanks to my signature grounded approach to just about everything that I do, my process for executing Special Projects is (like everything else) very approachable, adaptable, and effective: I first work to gain the clearest, deepest, and most honest understanding of the client’s needs and expectations. (This means unpacking the intention and desire around the specific goals—not just what they are but why they are and what we truly wish to do here—and ensures we’re focused on and chasing after the right things, internally and externally.)

I have a stellar reputation for being a most reliable and responsive collaborator and I take pride in the respect I have for other people’s resources, time or otherwise. Powerful project management and collaboration tools, like Asana and Notion, work to support and streamline productivity while strengthening connection, communication, and continuity between check-ins and deadlines.

Because every Special Project is different, whether in scope or timeframe, each is given its own project management task list and timeline and we approach every single project with respect to such. Moment by moment, day by day, or even month by month the guided, grounded approach to relationship management and project completion rings tried and true.

 

Curious how I would steward your Special Project or tackle your next task? Tell me what you’re up to below. I’m all ears:
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Enlisting the support of a Special Project Lead, like me, means more than bringing a concept to life. It means welcoming meaningful connections into your professional life for collaboration and committing to a proven and productive creative process. We, Special Project Leads, are like creative centaurs, half-independent-creative, and half-entrepreneur-for-hire, committed to your success.


two devices displaying the new EricMichaelCreates.com homepage and EM&A toolbox

Refreshed and Reset

Welcome back, finally!

I am so excited and proud of this new and evolving iteration of EricMichaelCreates.com that I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to it and to the new-found Why that's governing my work.

Clients, everything that you have come to love about my site, like the Toolbox and other functionality, is still here (in the same places) but with a cleaner look.

A cleaner, lighter interface accentuates the added functionality of the Toolbox, offering a direct point-of-contact to Eric Michael and access to the collaboration tools that keep our partnerships thriving. Check it out now.

I have spent the better part of the last three months pecking away, page by page and post by post, to migrate my digital presence. This included reviewing, restructuring, and reorganizing every page and article on the site while rebranding and repositioning several service items and all of my social media channels.

An all new Portfolio page features revised case studies, the latest digital properties, and more still to come.

The goal was really a simple one: I wanted singular digital and social destinations to share my work, as it relates to both my creative and individualized personal and professional development offerings.

I've come to find design deliverables—like brand assets and custom Shopify, WordPress, and Squarespace digital properties—to be just a fraction of the work I do.

The real intention I have for my work, the thing that I breathe into all that I do and hope to leave behind, is a stronger and more sustainable culture. Through a guided approach to consciously redefining what it means to be in creative collaboration, we collectively strengthen the connection to the work and deepen the meaning in the work.

Keep checking back: There’s a lot more coming from new creative service listings to helpful self-serve functionality and a new personal and professional development hub that’s sure to deepen our connection. Don’t worry, I’ll announce and lay it all out here.


Is there something, a particular aspect of my work or supporting feature, you'd like to see integrated into the website? Drop us a note and let's unpack all feedback and suggestions and maybe you'll see it here shortly.

Clients Pay What They Wish

I’ll spare you the long, winded story: Over the last few months, I have been piloting a new proprietary system for assessing and recouping the value of my creative work with clients. It’s not all that revolutionary or new, except that I don’t think any other creative agency has ever done it. The system includes a custom-built payment gateway that allows the end-user (the client) to choose the amount they want to pay for services rendered. Or, in other words, a user-friendly widget that allows the client to pay what they wish.

Here’s a video with some backstory and a little more information:

Hey thank you so much for making the time to watch this. I didn’t want to burden your calendar with like a full length conversation.

So you carving out a little bit of time in the day for this really means a lot. I wanted to share an update on something.

I was hoping to work it into like check-ins, but it’s happening sooner than I thought. So I wanted to share an update on something that’s kind of affecting the way that I’m doing business with clients.

And it’s something that I’ve been really excited about for the last couple of months and something that I’m like really looking forward to and something that I really anticipate clients yourself included really, really loving.

So, but before I share the thing that excites me most, I want to take a step back and kind of talk about the process behind it.

So maybe we’ve talked about this. Maybe we haven’t, but I’ve been really reflecting a lot over the last year, year and a half on the, I guess it’s rooted in the value that my work brings clients, but more so along the way that that value shows up in the work.

And it’s different for everyone. So if, and I guess it completely depends on where we’re at in terms of collaboration.

So if it’s really early in a collaborative relationship with someone, the value tends to be at the forefront. If we’ve been in collaboration for a number of months or even a number of years, that value is scattered out throughout the work.

And then it’s always kind of just like left up to someone to, and by someone I really do mean either party to kind of just condense all the work over the year and then determine the value, but then that check-in never happens.

So a lot is kind of like loss. And when I say a lot, I mean, communication, the deeper knowing all that stuff.

So one of the ways, or the way that I really thought I could bridge that gap and make the work so much better for both of us, I think in a really fun, it is like a really fun way is to pivot to more of a value based revenue model, which the word value comes up a lot.

It’s come up a lot in this video. The value is the only reason anybody does anything, obviously. And in terms of creative and professional services, value is imposed in the relationship and often like sticky and stuffy and like traditional way.

And there’s nothing traditional about like what we’re doing.

Like even when we’re building a traditional website, right, with like no e-commerce functionality and it’s all informative, it’s all engagement, it’s all entertainment focused.

There’s, that’s all like deeply rooted in tradition. And then even when we’re disrupting a space through powerful e-commerce or powerful custom systems or powerful custom content, there’s still a lot of tradition in that the project is proposed.

That number is reviewed, it’s accepted, it’s denied, it’s put on hold. And regardless of what that outcome of prospect or opportunity turns out to ultimately be, I found that the answer is always yes, and the barrier is the financial value that’s tied to the work.

So I thought, what if I could just like, get rid of that? I mean, I’m not mother Teresa and I can’t sell everything that I’ve gotten live in the streets and just type away as much as I would love to.

But I was like, how could I like break down that barrier? Like how could I, how could I support the decision-making in a better way that doesn’t compromise my values as a creative who sees and understands about you, it was work sometimes, and maybe you’re familiar with this.

Maybe you’re not, but sometimes as a creative freelancer or as any creative professional at all, we have to kind of, we have to compromise our values more often than not in accepting jobs for a lesser rate or doing a few more things and what we promise just to show value.

And that really shouldn’t be the way that business is done. And not just because of convenience. I love jumping through hoops.

But just with respect to our core values and that’s more on the emotional front. So you’re probably wondering how have I decided to support in the financial decision making before I show you the thing I’m most excited about the way I’ve decided to do this is by allowing clients to essentially pay what they wish, which is kind of a tagline that I wanted to like draw out, but I just had to say it out loud.

I have created a tool that is going to support the payment processing process. That essentially allows me to send you a link, show you the amount of time and resources that have been committed to a project neither of which would ever be a surprise.

So taking a step back, we have a conversation, you have a goal or an idea, and I have a creative process that can bring us there.

I let you know how much time and whatever other ancillary resources might need to be pumped into, said, project. I get to work.

I bring the project to life. And then at the end, the finalization process, I send you a link and I let you finalize the project.

And that finalization process looks like a quick review of what we’ve discussed. Again, no surprises. And then you work through a two step process of choosing how much you’d like to pay this custom widget that I built, which I’m going to show you in a quick second is designed to give you three payment options.

So you can get a suggestion for payment options, actually.

You get the suggested value of the work based on the earlier conversation and what you know, to be true about my terms of service, the rate that I collect and what all, if all of it, all of the expectations add up, this is what the suggested cost of service would be.

And then you can make a selection of whether you want to pay a little bit less or a little bit more, or, and those numbers adjust automatically based on data I’ve accumulated over the last couple of years in terms of client expectations.

And then the fourth option is a custom amount. So you can go in and you can manually select what you’d like to pay for something.

If a little less is too less, or if a little more is too much more, you can find your own happy medium there.

And I want to kind of quickly introduce you to this new little widget that has taking me forever to build.

But I’m so excited. So I’m going to minimize myself. And so what you’re seeing here is the first iteration of this new tool that walks you through this entire process.

So essentially what you would receive at the end of each project is a link. Maybe you’ve already received one a link that will take you to finalize the, the project.

This link leads here, which is an auto-populated form and a collection of data from all over the place. Most of which comes from either a project or a monthly account summary.

So this is dummy data just for the purpose of this video.

And what we see here is a suggested of $350.

And that is to compensate for two hours of creative time and then $50 in costs or expenses. And then this tool gives the client the option to pay a little less and you can see the price is automatically adjusted at the top.

You can pay a little more and you can see how that’s influx there, or you can set a custom amount in which case the cost is automatically dropped down to suggest a higher rate than that, for sure.

And then once it is approved, you can proceed to payment. The payment is processed through Stripe, which is a leading payment processor.

It’s I would, I don’t have the data directly in front of me, but I would say they’re the number one payment processor for online payments.

Next two, if not above PayPal they’re the only they’re one of the only people that allow like the seamless integration of apple pay, Google pay and all that stuff.

So I just went with like, who I know to be the trusted leader in that space. And then the payment process really looks like just entering in first name, last name, credit card information, and then an email address for receipt.

You’ll agree to terms of payment and then you’ll select pay now and you’ll be good to go. Again, so have you find that as cool as I have for the last couple of months, it was crazy putting that thing together, but I really do think that it’s something that clients are going to get a lot of use out of.

And it’s something that’s going to make the collaborative process so much more streamlined and not just streamlined and efficiency, but streamlined in overall compatibility.

And I’m really excited about it. So I hope I haven’t kept you too long. I and I hope you enjoyed the quick little walkthrough of this.

If you have any questions about any of this, or if you want me to elaborate on anything I I’m happy to do it.

You know where to find me, have a good day. 😉

Pay What You Wish pricing is currently extended exclusively to existing clients with proven reliability within my practice, however, similar functionality will be adopted to the traditional proposal and acceptance process by summer (2022). You should consult my Terms of Payment and Terms of Service documentation when it comes to all new creative projects and keep an eye here (on my site) for more information as the program evolves.

Please note, this does not change any of the following policies: Payment is still expected only in United States dollar (crypto and other foreign currencies must be exchanged ahead of collaboration). Pay What You Wish doesn’t mean “or not pay at all,” clients simply make a selection to “pay a little less” or “pay a little more” based on a suggested value rate; uncompensated work is subject to traditional invoice and collection efforts.


Introducing the 'Managed Digital' Suite

One thing I know for sure is that creativity, innovation, and powerful performance cannot simply be left to their own devices. Not in an ever-changing digital landscape like the world wide web, anyway. You’ll come to learn, soon enough, nothing here is evergreen.

Success online requires the same things as success anywhere else: skillful and intentional management, regular and recurring maintenance, and (for most) a trusted collaborator who can help you chart and stay the course.

Sites must be designed and/or developed by Eric Michael and his team of associates to qualify for coverage under the Managed Digital umbrella suite. Or, check out our Site Adoption options.

The Shopify, WordPress, and Squarespace platforms have been my personal sandbox for nearly fifteen years and, in all that time, I’ve never known one operating system, theme, or ancillary software to not require regular assistance or support. WordPress especially.

I’ve taken all I’ve experienced in supporting brands in managing their presence online, all of the data and statistics spanning management and maintenance tasks, content creation, and more to introduce a new service suite into my practice: Managed Digital.

Common Space from EM&A Managed Digital works to streamline registration, management, and maintenance efforts for small- to medium-sized brands on WordPress and Squarespace.

Recurring management and maintenance services are nothing new for creative agencies and independent collaborators, like myself. While I don’t, some designers and developers require recurring service agreements for upwards of one, three, or even five years after your digital property launches. And more often than not, you’ll be thankful that you’ve locked yourself into one—anything can happen. (There are a myriad of reasons why I don’t require them but we can get into that later.)

I’ve served as registrar, host, manager, and maintenance support for clients over and over (and over) again throughout my career, however, Managed Digital is still a first-of-its-kind offering for me in many ways.

Managed Digital is the most concentrated-yet-robust service suite I may have ever incorporated into my practice:

The entire suite is á la carte, allowing clients to pick and choose the service coverage that may (or may not) serve their brand, online shop, and ancillary needs best. And snackable pricing means we’re even more in line with our core values of guiding our work through intention. You’ll never pay for tasks or services you don’t need.

The best part? I’ve incorporated the earlier ‘Park’ + ‘Prime’ + ‘Power’ suite and other offerings (for large-scale organizations) into Managed Digital as well. So, it’s more or less a one-stop-shop for all that comes next—and everything after.

an iPad featuring content from the "Park + Prime + Powered" section of the Managed Digital pitch deck
What should really be titled "convenience and control and freedom," our coveted Park + Prime + Power suite supports larger organizations in the registration, hosting, and ongoing management and maintenance of their WordPress digital property.

Managed Digital offerings are available now, including WordPress and Squarespace Common Space, recurring maintenance and management packages, and more. Book a conversation to learn more or inquire about how Eric Michael can support your digital property.

Eric Michael & Associates

Work Order Terms & Conditions

By submitting a Request of Work (or “EM&A Work Order”) in writing or by way of the online form, the Client (submitting party) agrees to the following terms and conditions in addition to the EM&A General Terms of Service, Payment, and Work & Acceptance as outlined below.

  1. Submission of a Request for Work (or EM&A Work Order) and/or receipt of quotation or proposal documentation does not initiate the assignment. Assignments are initiated on acceptance of said proposal collateral and the timely payment of any/all associated costs. This is not to prolong the process or inconvenience the client, this is to ensure Eric Michael & Associates has all of the required authority and resources to execute the work.
  2. Unless outlined otherwise (in writing) all work orders commence within 5 business days of receipt of payment.
  3. Costs and pricing shared in any forthcoming quotation, the scope of work or formal proposal documentation are flat-rate fees based on the (estimated) hours necessary to complete the work. This hourly rate, dictated by the delivery and turnaround requirements, will be called on for any additional or “overtime” required to bring the project to completion.
  4. Eric Michael & Associates quotes all assignments at one of three hourly rates, determined by the expectations and demand of the client: Standard and long-lead assignments (requiring fulfillment in no less than 10 business days) are quoted at $150 per hour with a five-hour minimum commitment; On-Demand and short-lead assignments (requiring fulfillment in less than 10 business days) are quoted and billed at the hourly rate of $225 per hour with a three-hour minimum commitment; Rushed assignments (requiring delivery in less than 5 business days) are billed at the Rushed Order rate of $300 per hour with a three-hour minimum commitment.
  5. Quotations and proposal rates include all reasonable and necessary project management (PM) and communication time and are clearly outlined within said documentation. If the Client requires additional meetings or erroneous communications, that time can/will incur additional fees associated with the scope and to the cost of work.
  6. Eric Michael & Associates reserves and requires all necessary third-party costs and fees in advance of the commencement of work. This includes all software, template, theme, shipping, file storage, and other needs.
  7. All sales are final and all standard EM&A Terms of Payment apply unless otherwise noted, in writing in advance or in the proposal of the assignment.
  8. The Client understands that Eric Michael & Associates works with third-party vendors like print suppliers and other partners and suppliers, including sign manufacturers and installers, photographers, illustrators, film-makers, interior designers, external website developers and coders, and other relevant partners to provide an extensive high-quality service offering beyond immediate in-house capabilities.
  9. The Client understands that there is always an expected variance of colors between color, shape, and size of print and physical products. This is due to the source of the print or visual, the types of inks and colors, the printing process, the substrate use, individual preferences, and other factors. As a result, Eric Michael & Associates is unable to guarantee 100% accuracy or consistency of color on any/all items and may not always be able to achieve the exact result expected by the Client. EM&A always suggests, when this is a concern, the obtaining of a "wet proof" as firm and final proof of production. Wet proofs will always incur additional fees.
  10. Eric Michael & Associates will never knowingly infringe on any copyright or trademark and will deliver, to the best of knowledge, original and unique creative solutions to the Client. Unless otherwise agreed to in writing, it is the responsibility of the client to ensure that no copyright or trademark has been infringed or violated and to make their own application for copyright or trademark with the United States of America Intellectual Property Office - if required.
  11. Eric Michael & Associates will never, at any time or in any manner, directly or indirectly use for personal benefit or divulge, disclose or communicate any information that is proprietary to the client. We will work to protect such information and treat it as strictly confidential, as outlined in our Client Privacy Policy.
  12. All general EM&A Terms of Service apply.

AutoPay Terms

Carefully read the Terms and Conditions for the EM&A AutoPay ("AP") option: By enrolling, opting-in, requesting, using or paying for any service provided by Eric Michael & Associates by AutoPay, you agree to these terms and conditions. If these Terms and Conditions are not acceptable to you, please notify the organization immediately.

AUTOPAY ENROLLMENT: (i) I understand that AutoPay enrollment is a manual effort via over-the-phone, over-the-web, and other application-based payment gateways; (ii) I understand that if I enroll in AutoPay online or over-the-phone with an electronic approval or signature, I authorize Eric Michael & Associates to treat that approval as evidence of my consent to initiate electronic payment transactions from my designated bank, debit card, or credit card account. This consent only applies to the initiation of the recurring electronic bank, credit card, or debit card payments. My authorization via electronic signature or written consent has the same effect as a handwritten signature on a paper-formatted agreement; (iii) I understand that AutoPay enrollment applies to the bank, debit card, or credit card account that I designate only; (iv) I understand the need and agree to make manual payments to Eric Michael & Associates until the AutoPay enrollment is established and I have written confirmation that I no longer need to make manual payments; (v) I authorize Eric Michael & Associates to automatically charge my debit card, credit card, or bank account, as applicable, for any/all recurring and incurred charges on my EM&A Account; (vi) I understand and agree that AutoPay payments are withdrawn on or around the fifteenth (15th) day of each month, or on the overwritten dates specified in my formal agreement or individual invoices which Eric Michael & Associates will provide no less than ten (10) days prior to the AutoPay date; (vii) I understand that in order to cancel AutoPay I must telephone or provide a written request to Eric Michael & Associates no less than ten (10) business days prior to the requested cancellation date.

PAPERLESS BILLING: (i) I understand that by enrolling in AutoPay, I also agree with Paperless Billing; (ii) I understand Eric Michael & Associates will issue and deliver statements of work, estimates, quotes, purchase order requests, and invoices to me directly via email, and authorize them to do so; (iii) I understand that it is my responsibility to alert Eric Michael & Associates of any/all virtual or email address changes in addition to ensuring proper forwarding is in place from the previous address; (iv) I confirm and agree that Eric Michael & Associates has my most accurate and reliable email address on record to date; (v) I agree to have Eric Michael & Associates notify me via email and/or SMS text message each month, at least ten (10) days before my payment is to be debited or charred of the amount of my bill and that my bill is available for round-the-clock online viewing, printing, and manual fulfillment; (vi) I agree to promptly and immediately update my email address and wireless phone number with Eric Michael & Associates if it changes.

UPDATES TO FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS: (i) I understand that if there is a need to change my debit card, credit card, or financial institution on record—including billing zipcodes, expiration dates, and security codes—I must telephone or provide written notice along with the necessary revisions to Eric Michael & Associates; (ii) I understand and agree that Eric Michael & Associates may automatically receive updated card information from the financial institution issuing the cards or accounts.

BILLING ERRORS & DISRUPTIONS: (i) I understand and agree that Eric Michael & Associates is not liable for erroneous bill statements, incorrect or accidentally authorized debit/credit charges; (ii) I understand that, if a billing error occurs, Eric Michael & Associates is responsible for correcting it after proper investigation, if and when I notify them of the error.

RETURNED PAYMENTS: (i) I understand that if my payment is rejected, refused, returned, disputed, declined, or reversed by my financial institution or card issuer for any reason, Eric Michael & Associates has the right to charge a returned item fee ($75 per-item) and cancel my AutoPay open enrollment account; (ii) I understand that my participation and AutoPay enrolment is subject to Eric Michael & Associates’ approval and AutoPay may be paused, suspended, or removed from my account for any reason; (iii) Eric Michael & Associates and participating financial institutions reserve the right to terminate my participation in this payment option at any time, as authorized by applicable law.

FEES: (i) I understand and agree that AutoPay is a free and complementary feature provided to clients as a convenience by Eric Michael & Associates and that there is no fee for participation in the program; (ii) I understand that I should verify with my financial institution to determine if additional charges apply.

CHANGES & UPDATES: From time to time, Eric Michael & Associates may revise these AutoPay Terms & Conditions. Eric Michael & Associates will provide notice of such revisions by posting revisions in any number of ways, including posts to the EricMichaelCreates.com website, Client Account Management tools, and even the EM&A Newsletter. Material revisions to the Terms & Conditions shall be effective no sooner than 30 days after posting any/all necessary alerts. If you do not agree to Eric Michael & Associates’ revision(s), you must terminate your AutoPay enrollment immediately in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. By continuing to use AutoPay after revisions are in effect, you accept and agree to all revisions and changes.


Corporate Social Responsibility, The Ten Percent, Eric Michael & Associates

The Ten Percent

At the top of my career as a creative consultant, way back in 2009, I emailed (a very famous) celebrity mother and asked her kindly to be my mentor. (For the record: We had no mutual connections, no prior contact, and I had absolutely no right.) But I got an immediate response that spoke candidly about the growing demands of her professional life as her family rose to stardom and she generously offered me “at least one phone call and we could go from there.”

We talked for two and a half hours about a myriad of things (most of them personal) from situation to circumstance, curiosities and creativity, success and fame (and the difference between them), and, of course, at the very end, what the hell I was going to do with my life. I’ll never forget what she told me: “I don’t know what will ultimately become of [my life] but I know you know that it’ll be rooted in good.” I agreed and she continued with a lesson she learned from her daughter, “The easiest way to drop those roots is to embed it into your culture.”

I hung up on that call having gained two things: The first was a new friend and mentor who went on to make herself (and her network) available to me at what felt like my disposal, even when I clearly didn’t know what to do with it. The second was the informal framework for the core of what would become known as my (drum-roll please) corporate social responsibility, also known as “how I give back to the people and organizations that keep our communities thriving.”

My primary objective has since been to donate at least 10% of our resources (profits or time) to deserving non-profit organizations or not-for-profit initiatives.

The result of that commitment has yielded an unfathomable sense of gratitude and a bold underscore to the permeating daily reminder of the fragility and richness of my (and most of our) individual circumstance. The commitment itself has ensured I never reckon and rumble with the dreaded boredom and the accountability (needing to answer “when was the last time you leaned-in ‘just because’?”) has become a siren call; bringing me back to Self while pushing to-and-through gratitude year-after-year.

If you’re curious: I tend to be called into the arenas of supporting those living with or healing from childhood cancer, recovering from addiction, poverty, resource scarcity, and homelessness, as well as the fights against suicide prevention and discrimination and social and criminal injustice of every kind—including the fight for widespread equality and humanitarian liberation.

If you’re at the helm of a philanthropic organization, charitable giving endeavor, or another worthwhile initiative that you think might benefit from a collaborative partnership, please use the below form to get in touch.
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Payment Policies

THE BILLABLE RATES:

This is a pricing table depicting the standard, on-demand, and rushed hourly rates of Eric Michael and his team of associates.Projects are billed based on one of three hourly rates, determined solely by the expectations of the individual client: Standard or “long-lead” projects, those with a reasonably expected delivery date (usually within ten business days or more), are billed at the rate of $150 USD per-hour; On-Demand assignments, projects or tasks with a need for more immediate delivery (usually within five to ten business days), are billed at the rate of $225 USD per-hour; and ‘Rushed’ projects, or those with a delivery date of less than five business days, are billed at the rate of $300 USD per-hour.

Meeting, Communication, and Project Management time is billed at the discounted rate of $100 USD per-hour, unless otherwise stipulated with formal agreement.

THE BILLABLE PROCESS:

Clarity and continuity are the bedrock to a mutually beneficial professional relationship, this we know for sure. Eric Michael and his team of associates work diligently to ensure every request for work is met with the most accurate, fair, and transparent value assessment and collection practices possible.

Formal proposals and requests for work are served “flat-rate” value assessments. This means Eric Michael personally assesses and evaluates the needs of the organization and expectations of the client to render a full scope of work, with a set schedule of timeline and investment. If accepted, flat-rate investments do not change (up or down) with respect to the delivery of service outlined in the scope of work.

One-off projects for existing clients are billed by-the-hour. This billing process applies exclusively to known clients whose expectations are clear and may not warrant a detailed scope of work. If a project is agreed to be accepted and billed at an hourly rate, a range of time is served to the client and the project is put into production; billable hours are tracked and invoiced at the end of each month. More on that in the next section.

THE BILLING SCHEDULES:

Clients may expect invoices to be served immediately following written acceptance for any formal proposal or responses to requests for work.

Hourly work (projects billed by-the-hour) or any additional costs that have been added to a client account throughout the course of a calendar month are invoiced on/around the 1st of the following month. (For example: Any hours or costs accrued in January would be invoiced on or around February 1st.)

Clients who engage the studio for recurring service agreements and/or employ Eric Michael to maintain specific third-party licensing and services on their behalf are subject to automatic billing. No exceptions. More on that below.

TERMS OF PAYMENT:

Payments are due in-full upon request. No exceptions.

Invoices or requests for payment that are ignored or unsettled for more than ten business days are subject to Late Fees. Late Fees are assessed and applied to past-due accounts automatically at the rate of 2% of the invoice total and reapplied every five days, concurrently, until the total past-due amount is paid in full.

ABOUT PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS:

Eric Michael is committed to strengthening the faith and trust throughout his creative partnerships and nothing erodes those two values like sensing a lack of cooperation, this we know for sure. That’s why, from time to time (and solely at his discretion), clients may be welcomed to capitalize on the support of payment arrangements.

Payment Arrangements are considered to be any payment structure that allows for a significant balance (those that exceed the minimum threshold) to be divided up amongst more than one installment. Typical arrangements include an initial payment valued at 50% the total cost of service, as show of good faith, with remaining balances dispersed over the following weeks.

Payment Arrangements are subject to individual terms and conditions at the time of acceptance and the terms and conditions of AutoPay as it relates to payment processing. Please note, in an effort to mitigate risk, overall productivity will never anchor the schedule or overall arrangement towards the collection of payment.

ABOUT AUTOPAY:

If you engage Eric Michael & Associates to support you or your organization through regular and recurring service (such as through ‘Managed Digital’ services) and/or in the facilitation of third-party service licensing, or software procurement, you will need to agree to the AutoPay terms. These terms are served “as needed”, per-client account.

Automatic Payments (AutoPay) is how we circumvent risk and ensure a more effective and streamlined approach to collaboration. Simply put, accepting the terms of AutoPay grants Eric Michael the authority necessary to charge a client account for any/all cost of service covered via the payment method the client has on file.

AutoPay is about more than payment processing. It’s an all-encompassing system that relies on paperless billing, sensitive response times, and more. It’s highly encouraged that clients review these terms in advance of final acceptance.

VALUE-BASED PRICING:

Eric Michael and his team of associates are excited to be introducing a new value-based revenue system over the coming year. This means repositioning what we (collectively) consider to be investments away from “cost” and in closer alignment with personal and financial value, putting the price-point more in the hands of the client.

Our first phase of adoption to this process includes a new user-friendly payment gateway that works to satisfy month-to-month balances. Through it, clients are given a suggested value of work (based upon time-spent + costs) and are welcomed to pay “a little less” or “a little more” or by entering a custom amount.

The goal is to protect the integrity of creativity as a profession while breathing flexibility into the otherwise archaic and stuffy accountability process.

Similar functionality will be introduced to the traditional proposal and acceptance workflow by the summer months and it’s our hope to be operating on a fully value-based revenue model (and proprietary system) by the end of 2022.

This page outlines the expectations, processes, terms, and conditions as it relates to paying Eric Michael and his team of associates for work across the creative studio.

A WORD FROM ERIC MICHAEL:

There’s nothing I value more than the relationship I share with my clients (and it won’t take you long to understand why). I have come to consider trust and transparency to be the keystone of meaningful creative collaboration and the team and I ‘bring our all’ in this department, the best we can.

My steps are always mindful when billing clients and I believe our rates, processes, and terms to be both fair and equitable to all parties, given the nature of the work and its intention and impact across organizations and teams.

Please know that my door is always open. You’ll just as quickly find I’m committed to maintaining a conscious state of open and effective communication with clients at all times. If any number of my terms, conditions or individual efforts warrant reasoning or clarification, I encourage a steadfast address and dialogue.