I’m working with about ten clients right now on various projects. And I’m dealing with a personal family issue that makes it challenging to work quickly or steadily, at least for a few days.
Most of my clients are authors. A few are corporate folks, but they’re folks I’ve spoken with, folks I’ve worked with, folks who have an idea who I am and what I do.
My personal philosophy with clients is, of course, based on having exactly the right experience to help them with writing in ways that no one else can. But it’s also based on something else.
I’m fast. I respond very quickly. If you have owed me a chapter to edit for a month and it comes in on Monday, I’ll be on top of it on Tuesday. Even if I can’t jump on it instantly, I’ll respond quickly and give you a firm promise on when it will get back to you.
I cannot be fast right now. It’s just impossible. And I’m blowing past some of those firm promises.
But a funny thing has happened.
Some of my clients have already reached out to me to tell me that they don’t need me to quite so fast — because they’ve read my blog and know what’s going on with me. “Get back to me when you can,” they say.
Other clients who don’t read this blog were unaware of what’s going on with me. When they sent something in for me to work on, all I can do is tell them what’s going on and that they may have to wait.
Their responses have been uniformly patient, along with heartfelt positive wishes.
The conventional wisdom says that if you want to grow your client base, you need to build a funnel. You need to take on more and more work. You need to hire more people. That way, when one is on vacation or has a personal issue, someone else can step in. That makes you dependable.
My one-man business can’t do that. But I don’t want to.
I want to work with people who I care about, people who know who I am and, as it turns out, care about me as well.
When you work with people like that, even if they are part of big companies, they can flex a bit when things are rough for you.
It’s pretty awesome to see this. Do the right thing and your clients will, too. I always hoped that was the case. And it turns out, it actually is.