Want to know the 2 biggest lessons I learned working with 100+ clients?
First, I have to call myself out for the tendency to undershoot to avoid lying. 😂😂 When I say over 100 clients, it’s likely been more. But I don’t like making a claim that I’m not certain is something I can back up and support.
From working with so many amazing small businesses and entrepreneurs, you could say I learned a thing or two. Let me share two of the biggest lessons I learned through the journey:
As you move through the role, help where you can, become part of their business and integrate into their processes, you’re forming a relationship. While I don’t refer to clients as family, you DO form a bond and that can be lasting. I enjoy following up even years later to share photos of my growing kiddos and hearing an update on how their lives have been moving forward. I still receive referrals from clients from years ago or have them reach out again for one-off projects here and there or to see if we can work together in some capacity – or, as stated, just to catch up and wish each other well. Even those that didn’t ultimately work out can be great connections and you can part amicably. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and everyone won’t be your cup of tea. That doesn’t mean you can’t possibly have a recommendation of someone who might be better fit and still have that as a positive part of your network.
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Communication is everything. Following up, being clear, concise, sometimes over clarifying is absolutely necessary. Knowing which questions to ask and sometimes even restating what you believe you are understanding can prevent a lot of misunderstandings or assumptions (we all know what assuming does, right?). From the very start of the working relationship, establishing how you will communicate, track progress, assign tasks, ask for items, know who’s responsible for what, etc. This will help you draw out the contract, agreement, scope of work, and remain on schedule for deliverables. If someone “ghosts” you at any point in the onboarding process, you can follow-up 3-5 times and be clear when it is the final attempt (not like those student loan calls and car warrantee last-chances).
Both of these lessons go hand-in-hand as communication will allow you to solidify those relationships, and those building relationships will allow for establishing even better communication as you work through any hiccups that happen and provide the work that exceeds expectations.
You will become VERY aware of your personal shortcomings in each area as you work with more and more people with varying personalities to your own, but those are definitely skills you want to continue to improve upon.
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