I will admit when I first started in design and marketing, I would take on any and every client and project placed on the table just to have a constant stream of income coming in. I figured, the more work I had, the more work would come in and I would surpass any of the competition. The truth is, there was a lot of learning to do on my behalf, and a lot of compromising going on in both my personal and professional life because of it.
The personal consequences:
- My family life suffered, as well as my own personal growth.
- I was under constant stress, which started to take a toll on my health.
- There was no time for keeping in shape, and my eating habits took a dive as well.
- I was working several weeks’ straight, hours on end, without a day off in sight.
- I had trouble getting to sleep worrying about the next day, and when I did fall asleep, I would usually dream about work.
The professional consequences:
- I was spread so thin with a multitude of projects that each got less attention than most-definitely deserved.
- The quality of my work suffered – yeah, me, the perfectionist.
- Client-satisfaction decreased.
- As a result I eventually received less offers of future work.
Basically, through this ‘quick gain’, I didn’t realize I was setting myself up for long-term losses. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand what the heck was going on.
So, I took some time away from my own business after we moved from Florida to Georgia in 2007, and connected with others that were in the field much longer than I was. I am grateful for them, because I learned so much from them.
Even they, at one point in their careers, were actually in the same predicament I was in – Think in terms of Einstein’s Theory of Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results.
Yeah, that wasn’t working out too well.
It was time for change, and it was then that my mentors helped me realize what I was doing wrong. I was working hard, not SMART. I realized from the pros that I needed to start being more selective in exactly who my clients were, not how many I had, and define my niche market (I’ll cover this in more detail in my next post).
Quality will always reign over quantity.
So I dusted off my heels, quit feeling sorry for myself, and jumped on the Quality Bandwagon with the pros.
Yes, it’s true that I may not be making as much as I used to, but I feel like I have an even bigger gain over the “More, More, More” lifestyle:
- My client base is awesome, and they ALL receive the quality services they deserve.
- I place more value on my time and building a more solid foundation for my business.
- I respect myself more by saying “no” and listening to my instincts on who would be an ideal client, and appreciate the value of it (so do my loyal clients).
- I have a regular workweek so I can dedicate more time to my husband and kids.
- I am healthy again, getting outside and hiking, bicycling and jogging almost every day.
- I fall asleep with ease, and actually no longer dream about work – YAY…BIG POINTS!
I still see several newbies in the field who think they have it all figured out and they all think I must not have my head screwed on right with my philosophy:
“ Stop being all things to all people. Work SMART and not like a chicken with your head cut off.”
That’s okay. They’ll learn in time, if they truly understand the importance of it.
So this is a big THANK YOU to my mentors for paving the way for me, and an even bigger THANK YOU to my awesome clients to whom my team and I love and adore. Last but not least…the newbies, to whom I generously give you the clients that want to put me in the grave WAY before my time. Perhaps one day you will join the Quality Bandwagon with the rest of us professionals. You’ll love it. It’s an awesome ride!
Peace and love,