I often hear business owners complain of less-than-ideal clients and projects. They feel trapped by their own business, and don’t know what to do about it. They may have said “Yes” to this type of client or project years ago, before they knew they would hate it. Now that they know they hate it, they fear that the consequences of backing out now or switching gears would outweigh any benefits. The problem is…they don’t know what they don’t know. So let me help…
Working with less than ideal clients and/or projects is a lose-lose-lose. You lose, as the business owner because you can’t stand the situation, so it drains you of motivation, will and energy faster than you can say, “afternoon nap!” This drain of energy leaves you lifeless when you do get that rare opportunity to work with your favorite client or project. Why aren’t we building our days around these people and projects??
The client loses because…let’s face it, you’re not bringing your “A” game. Even if you mustered all of your work ethic and drank a “5 Hour Energy” right beforehand, you would only have your “C” game, at best. Why? You just cannot replace natural enthusiasm – no matter how many “5 Hour Energy” drinks you have! With lackluster interest, your creative juices will not be flowing. There is nothing you can do to simulate what happens to you when you are genuinely, naturally interested.
The company loses as well, because now the client will advertise your “meh” performance to everyone who asks them about working with you. This is advertisement you could stand to do without! The company also loses because every wrong client or project pulls your company resources in wrong directions, causing your progression to look like the tree above – branching off in twisting, unpredictable and unprofitable directions.
So what’s the solution?
Grab a big ol’ piece of butcher paper – two, while you’re at it. Make a list of ideal clients on one and ideal projects on another…for you. It’s okay. Once in a while it’s okay to be selfish. Are you, or are you not the business owner? Ok then.
Next to each ideal client and project, identify the characteristics of the client and project that make them or it ideal – try to come up with at least 2 characteristics for each. Why do you like working with that client so much? What makes them enjoyable? Why do you like working on projects like these? What makes the time go by quickly?
At the end of this exercise, you should have quite a list of characteristics, both of clients and projects that you enjoy. Your goal is to use these lists as a filter when you’re choosing whether or not to take on a client or a project. Your goal is that 80% of your projects and clients fit these lists of ideal characteristics…eventually.
Never fear…you don’t have to make the switch all at once. The biggest key is doing the research. Once you get that done, you can slowly start saying “No” to the wrong clients and projects, and “Yes” to the right ones, for you.
I have a free, easy assessment you can do with just yourself, or with your staff if your goal is to get everyone working in 80% of what they love to do…because remember, if they love what they do, they’ll do it well, with conviction and they’ll love you forever if you give them the chance.
Email me (or message me here) if you’d like your free “Office Blueprint Assessment” firstname.lastname@example.org