Is your work just good enough to not get fired?

Are you struggling to find clients day-to-day? Getting people that do one off-site build and then you never hear from them again?

How well are you actually doing your job?

Most employees do their job to a level that will just allow them to keep it. – Don’t Let Your Business Run You

The bike shop

Just last week the ‘new guy’ at my local bike shop got fired. He got fired because when it was his lunch time he set a watch timer and wouldn’t help with anything, no matter how busy things were, until that 30 minutes were up.

He got fired because at 6pm his backpack was on and he was out the door. He did not care if there were still 3 customers in the store, he was gone.

This guy didn’t even do a good enough job to keep his job.

That’s what most freelancer’s do as well. Just enough work to fulfill the spec and that’s it. They’re gone.

Then they complain about how no one will pay the rates they want to charge or how all their clients send them designs in Word files.

Of course

Yeah, I’d expect you to get clients like that, you’re simply a technician. You can execute the code/design and that’s about it. You provide little real business value. You’re a commodity.

You don’t stand out at all. None of the ‘good clients’ would ever work with you. If you happened to get one, they’d be frustrated with your barely passable delivery and suddenly become ‘bad clients’ as they try to hold you to a high level of service.

How can you stand out?

We know we need to stand out, but how do we do it?

Use your phone

Yeah, I hear you, I really don’t like my phone ringing either. I know that 30% of my business comes from someone that just calls my number to see if I pick up.

Most of you don’t pick it up and when you do, you don’t answer it politely.

Now I don’t pick up my phone outside business hours, unless I have the number on caller ID. There is a point at which business just needs to stay in it’s place.

Send some paper

WTF, paper? It took me 3 years to go through the cartridge that came with my laser printer. I’m a paperless office now.

But sending a hand written thank you card to your awesome clients at the end of a project is one sure-fire way to put yourself head and shoulders above anyone they’ve worked with before.

They don’t have to be fancy custom designed cards. Go get a pack of cards that you like at Staples and send one out after you work with a client you liked.

Chances are, that clients you like are going to know other people at some point that will need work and their friends are likely to be pretty awesome as well.

Send resources

When the project is done do you just walk away? When was the last time you touched base with the ‘best’ client you’ve ever had?

When was the last time you read an article that would apply to them and you sent it to them with a note about how/why you think it would help them?

I send at least 3 of those emails a week to clients. Sometimes it’s to clients that never worked with me at all (usually a schedule thing) but seemed like they would be awesome. At least twice a year that client that paid me nothing, but I sent resources comes to me months later for the next bit of work.

The other contractor was ‘fine’, but they haven’t heard from them in months.

It’s a *day

Yup, I try to find a client’s birthday and send them a card.

Did I find out they were sick? They get a card, sometimes even a book or something off their Amazon wishlist.

Are they’re kids sick? Did they have a new baby? Get in an accident?

All reasons to reach out to clients again or send them a card in the middle of a project.

The Client isn’t done with the project

Next time you get a great client that you liked, don’t let the relationship end with the project. Work in a question about their wedding anniversary, if they are married. You don’t need to know the year or the exact date, sending a card in the right month is something no other business is doing.

The worst that happens is they ask why and you tell them why. Then they decline.

Deliver the project on time and on budget. Then step it up by continuing to deliver long term to the client.

Step up your game and your clients will follow you lead.

photo credit: Dunechaser via photopin cc