Respecting Your Time is Respecting Your Clients’ Time

It’s important to set healthy boundaries in life and in business.

I believe in two rules for success with clients:

1) You’re not at beck and call.

2) When you’re speaking with a client, you give the client your undivided attention.

If you don’t follow rule #1, you will be incapable of following rule #2.

Unless you’re a doctor or it’s part of the nature of your business to respond to medical emergencies, you’re not “on-call” 24/7.

When your phone rings and it’s a client, many freelancers and others who work in client service feel obligated to answer or guilty if they don’t.

In my opinion, you should never feel obligated to take a call that isn’t scheduled. Making appointments isn’t snobby. It’s a way of making sure each client gets your full and undivided attention.

You are not expected to drop everything at a moment’s notice. We’re all busy. Our clients are busy. We all have families and careers.

If you don’t respect your own time, then you will not be able to respect the time of others. And, time is money so you must respect time.

In the beginning, it’s easy to get seduced by the notion that catering to your clients means you’re always available anytime they want to speak to you.

But you owe it to yourself and your clients to have some boundaries.

You Gotta Listen to the Coach

You gotta to listen to the coach. 

In my experience, there seems to be a tug-of-war game between agencies and the internal teams of clients. 

The agency or consultant advocates X. The client’s staff says Y. Or, places red tape and obstacles to slow things down or prevent the execution of the strategy. 

When this isn’t remedied, communication breaks down. The client wonders why there is no result. The employees blame the agency. The agency explains that they have been prevented from implementing their strategy and carrying out their tactics by the gatekeepers. 

In the end, everyone loses. 

Agencies must be careful not to step on toes and to respect client’s internal structures, protocol, and their team’s insider knowledge gleaned from working in the trenches every day.  They know their industry and the daily goings on at the company better than the agency ever will. 

At the same time, if you’re not going to listen to your marketing firm, then why did you hire one in the first place? You’re busy. Your employees don’t have the bandwidth to create content at scale and hack social media distribution. You should also concede that your marketing agency probably understands marketing strategy better than you do. 

So, swallow your pride. Cooperate. And listen to the coach.