Did you read my recent blog about being a giver and guaranteeing your clients’ satisfaction? It’s all about going that little bit further to put a smile on your clients’ faces.
But what about you and your satisfaction?
We begin our start up businesses with such excitement. We want to please, to succeed and to grasp every possible opportunity that passes with our eager little hands.
We can carry on this way for a little while, taking every bit of work we come across, trying to please EVERYONE and do EVERYTHING, even if it’s not strictly what we imagined doing in the beginning – the client wants it, so we do it, right?
But eventually we are presented with a choice…
- continue stuck on this path serving others at all costs. Often to the detriment of all else – your health, wealth and happiness – until your initial enthusiasm is sucked dry, replaced instead with a nagging feeling of ‘Is this it?’
- learn from each interaction. What feels right, what doesn’t, who you want to work with, the projects you enjoy, how you want to work, what you’re prepared to accept, and what’s a deal breaker
Many of my clients come to me when they are at this crossroads. They are worn out. Their energy tank is empty, and they are nervous about what this actually means for their future.
If I no longer love my business what else is there?
I’m going to tell you exactly what I tell them….
How many times have you agreed to a project only to resent it mid-way through because it’s more work than you thought or isn’t really what you want to be doing?
Or, agreed to work on a specific day and when that day comes you wish you hadn’t.
Or, your client is more challenging than you thought (shoulda listened to that nagging feeling from the beginning!), and you’re pissed because you feel like you haven’t charged enough.
Next time you’re faced with a decision whether to accept work, check in and be honest with yourself. What’s the balance between how much you want it vs what it’s worth to you (in time, money, effort, stress) then base your decision on that outcome.
Have faith that by turning away projects that aren’t a perfect fit, you’re allowing room for something else that is (seriously, I see this at play often and it’s happened for me several times).
If it doesn’t get you juiced up, say no. You owe it to yourself and your clients. What’s more they’ll respect you for it. Also, it’s a chance to open the conversation – there may be a way to compromise or agree on something that you’re both happy with.
Learn and adapt
Saying no to work isn’t easy, in fact it’s totally unnatural at first.
We’ve ALL taken on clients or work that we should have said no to. We can get internally frustrated with ourselves for doing so, then repeat the same pattern the next time. The key is to remember how crappy it felt, be true to yourself and stop yourself repeating the pattern next time around.
Learn what you DO love doing and what your genius zone is.
(Hint: it’s usually that thing that feels soooo easy and fun you almost feel bad charging for it)
Don’t feel like you need to keep taking on work you don’t love just because you thought that that’s what you would do in the beginning.
Choose the right path
YOU are the boss of your business. YOU make the rules and you choose which direction to take it in. Make sure it’s the right one for you, and if it isn’t, change direction – it’s your choice!
Your clients are looking to you to maintain the level of service, support and guidance that attracted them in the first place. Plus, they want to get the best of you – and you can only deliver your best when you’re jazzed and excited. And THAT’S the feeling you started your business for!
So think about projects that have excited you, what did they involve? Who was the client? What did you deliver that was so great? Then go after that work and ONLY that.
Over to you
In the comment section below, share your answers to these questions:
- Do you suck at setting boundaries?
- Are you worried that by doing so you’ll lose clients?
- Or, have you stood firm on your boundaries and been pleasantly surprised by your clients’ reaction?
Let us know your experience so we can inspire and learn from each other!