“You were right,” she said in the phone message. “You said I’d see things pick up steadily around 6 months, that one thing would lead to the next, and it is!”
The client – Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, a divorce attorney in Bloomfield Hills whom we have been rebranding and introducing to the media since January – called the other day to tell me that all of the work we’ve done is paying off. People are calling, referring business to her, getting to know her brand and it’s sending a steady stream of clients her way.
Of course, I was thrilled by her call. Yay – what we do works! I knew it, of course, but it’s always heartening – and a relief – when a client is over the moon happy with my team.
When a client signs on with me, I always tell them that while they’re likely to see immediate results from our work together, ongoing steady business growth is something you build gradually, steadily, over time. I usually throw out the number 6 months as a benchmark for when they’ll see the momentum pick up.
I’ve seen it many times, but I understand the initial hesitation from clients: they’re investing in our relationship – really, in themselves – and they want to see change. There’s a reason people come to me: if everything were going swimmingly and they had more work than they could handle, they wouldn’t be looking for help.
The thing is, every business owner needs help of some sort, at some time. Sometimes it’s just a willing ear and other times it’s hard and fast public relations campaigns and marketing communications strategies to tell the world everything wonderful about what they do and who they are.
It’s hard to trust another person or firm with your baby – i.e., your business. For entrepreneurs, their business is part of them. It’s the idea that grew inside them and blossomed into the prettiest tree on the block.
It’s theirs. And the line of separation between who they are and what they do is very faint.
In our society, we identify a bit too strongly with the work we do. We are NOT our work, even if it is singularly brilliant.
If we are lucky enough to do work that we love, then the line blurs slightly, but there should be a whole other part to who we are and what enriches our lives.
Listen, I was a little bit too pleased with Alisa’s phone call. We all identify with our work quite strongly. And this morning, I am heading to Channel 2 Detroit’s Fox TV affiliate, with another client, Kenny the Car Guy Walters, from Mufflers and More in Walled Lake. I’m a little too happy about his monthly car-care tips segment that we landed this year for regular exposure of his expertise.
Still. If who we are is caring beings who help others in the best way we know, well, then that has nothing to do with work.
If it’s about the bottom line and the dollars and cents, then I have an issue with it. Because money comes and goes but quality relationships and the desire to help others, that’s something that lasts a lifetime.
I guess it’s all in how you look at it. It’s in trusting that hard work will pay off in time and the slow and steady runner makes it to the finish line.
Except in work – and in life – we’re not aiming for the finish line. We’re aiming for a steady flow of traffic throughout our days so that we don’t have to work so hard to make ends meet.
Anything worthwhile takes time to build. It’s just so important that we make sure we know what we are building so that we don’t too closely identify who we are and our personal life satisfaction with the results of what we do every day.
Sometimes a day – or a week! – off is exactly what we need to grow business. And much of the time, investment in the Self – even if it comes in the form of hiring someone else to help – is even better.