Is this you?
- You see your client’s projects as more important or valuable than your own.
- You take your client’s business more seriously than your own.
- You put your own business development (including bookkeeping and billing) on the back burner and literally do your own stuff last or not at all.
If so, then you probably also suffer from The Feast or Famine Syndrome. You know, when you are forced to take whatever comes along (a.k.a. “word of mouth”) because you believe you can’t afford to do otherwise. Or you settle for cheap clients, and sometimes even abusive clients.
This must stop!
In Part 1 of this article, we established that the way out of Feast or Famine is to begin with these 3 mindset shifts:
- Shift from “The client’s project is the real work” to “My business is my priority.”
- Shift from “I want my clients to be happy” to “My happiness counts most”
- Shift from “Why won’t they respond?” To “The ball is always in my court.”
Now it’s time to add some action, because if scattershot marketing leads to a roller coaster of projects, then steady and focused marketing is the antidote.
In other words, you can harness the power of marketing to smooth out the waves of unpredictable work.
Building on those 3 new mindsets, here are 3 actions you can take:
- “My business is my priority.” = “My tasks get done first.” That means, you tend to your own business growth first – literally! Do it first thing in the week (don’t leave it for Friday) and first thing in the morning, when you are thinking most clearly. Don’t put “paying” client work ahead of researching your target market, sending out your email newsletter or attending a networking event. Don’t sacrifice your future to a measly client project! Prioritize your own strategic planning, self-promotion and billing. Carve out time for yourself, put it in your calendar and protect that time as if it were your lifeline, because it is!
- “My opinion counts most” = “I do my best for myself too.” That means committing to doing your absolute best for yourself! Use your own common sense. Do what you know is best or, if you don’t know, get help from someone who knows. Don’t let yourself flounder. Your clients get help from experts (that’s you) and so should you.
- “The ball is always in my court” = “I know what my next step is.” That means, instead of waiting for a response from anyone, you don’t even expect one and you already know what you’ll do next. For example, if you submit a proposal and don’t hear back within a week, re-send it with a friendly note that says, “Just want to make sure you saw this – please confirm receipt.” That way, when a prospect or a client does respond, you’ll be thrilled and even a little surprised. In the meantime, assume responsibility and always be poised for action. And, don’t give up when the people you want to work with don’t respond to your messages. Keep reaching out and showing your interest, your persistence and professionalism – humor helps too. Because you really have no idea what’s happening on their end. So don’t assume the worst!
None of this is hard, especially if you’re already making the effort to cultivate the right mindset.
On a practical level, all it takes is a little bit of your attention every day. 30 minutes could be plenty. In fact, treat yourself like your own client, if that’s what it takes to put yourself first.
And if you need help, take advantage of the complimentary 30-minute mentoring session I offer to pick my brain and get your questions answered.