It sounds so cliche to say, “I don’t know where the time is going.” But I really don’t. Last week, I was working on something and my phone went off as a reminder that it was the 15th, and there are certain things that I need to do on the 15th, and I almost didn’t believe my phone. I thought it was lying to me, because it seemed like September just started, so I don’t know how it was halfway done already. But that’s what seems to be happening lately. I don’t know if time is just disappearing into some weird vortex into that black hole of nothingness, never to be seen again, or what is happening, but it’s going fast.
Time going quickly compounded with being busy is not always the best combination, but that’s where I find myself today. It is Friday as I’m recording this, and I have nothing prepared for the podcast. I have ideas, but I haven’t had time to focus on the ideas and put together any kind of cohesive outline about what I want to talk about. So here is my rambling for the day, and it will probably be a fairly short episode because it’s not planned. I think about something john McClain said in his interview: “It’s not done, it’s due.” I’m at that point. This episode is due, so I need to get it done. So maybe it won’t be perfect, but when is it ever? Perfection, I’ve talked about before, it’s not something that I think is attainable. It’s not that it’s not okay to try to be the best that you can, but I think sometimes we have to accept that we cannot be perfect. And sometimes we just need to get something done and accept that it is what it is. How’s that for another cliché?
I know I’ve talked before about the glorification of business and how some people like to speak about how busy they are as a point of pride. And that’s not me, I really enjoyed my downtime. I’ve not had enough of it lately. But I also don’t like to use busy as an excuse for not getting other things done. However, I do understand that it does complicate things when you are spending all of the time you have, and all of your energy, and all of your brainpower, on just getting through with all the work that you have somehow committed yourself to do.
Even with the best plans in motion… and I think I said this recently, and that’s where I’m at right now. I don’t even remember what I’ve talked about in recent episodes because I’m just trying to get them done so fast, in the limited time I have available. But even with the best boundaries in place, and saying no, and doing all of those things, sometimes everything is going to fall at once and you just have to do whatever you can do to get through it.
Yesterday, I was talking to one of my clients, and it’s someone I consider a friend. He and I started working together when I was 23 years old, and there was a big chunk of time in between where we didn’t really work together, but we would still catch up every now and then, see how each other were doing. We’ve only started working together again in the recent years. I joke with clients sometimes that my whole M.O. is infiltrating their business in a way that makes it so they can no longer live without me. It is really the strategy that I’ve had, and that’s how I have all these loyal clients, because I make their lives easier. And I do it in a way that makes them almost dependent on me, but that’s not really the intention. I do like to be there. I like to make sure that their lives are easier. That’s pretty much the point in what I do. But also, it’s job security for me, right? So it is strategic. It’s a win/win. It’s not just me giving and them taking. I don’t work with clients who don’t value what I have to offer. And this is what he and I were talking about yesterday. He made the comment that he didn’t know how he would do all of this, referring to an upcoming project, without me.
Also yesterday, a completely different client in a different type of business and a different working/friend relationship. She said the same thing. “I don’t know what I would do without you, Amanda McCune,” is what she said. And I really love to hear that even though in my personal life, and who I am in general, I don’t like people being dependent on me. It’s a big part of why I didn’t want to start a company when I left my job. I didn’t want to be responsible for other people’s well-being and their livelihood in terms of a paycheck. That was just too much pressure. I don’t like to be dependent on anyone else, and I don’t want anybody else to be dependent on me. Probably why I don’t want kids, right? That all ties in together. But I do like these relationships that I have with my clients because I never really had that when I worked for someone else. I had clients who I appreciated, I enjoyed working with. I know I made their lives easier in that capacity. And that all served its purpose. But it wasn’t the same because they were hiring the company. I just happened to work there. Now they want to work with me specifically.
And that’s something that I think is really important…if you’re just starting out or even if you’ve been in business for a long time… is to think about what it is that you want to offer, and also who it is you want to be. And so for all the people who think your business and your personal life aren’t the same thing, in a certain way they are. Your personality is who you are as a person, and that does translate into how you work and how you are to work with.
It always baffles me when I talk to somebody, or hear a story about someone, who doesn’t take any pride in what they do. The people who don’t seem to care. They clock out at 5pm on Friday, and don’t think about anything again until Monday when they have to. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just different than how I am. I do take the weekends off also, as much as I can. Sometimes lately that hasn’t been possible, but that’s okay because of why I’m doing it. Certain clients, in those situations, they didn’t do it intentionally. And if I waited until the weekend was over to do certain things, it wouldn’t be good for anybody. So always able to make exceptions.
But there’s this weird thing in production, and it seems to be happening a lot more, maybe because so much work is ramping up and everybody’s really busy. They didn’t work for so long so now any job that comes around, they want to make sure to take advantage. One of my other clients keeps running into this issue where he has people who he’s hired, who have committed to jobs, and then they drop out at the last minute with no warning, and no replacement, no suggestion for who could cover for them. That’s the part that I don’t get.
If you make a commitment to a job, or to a project or however your business works, your word should mean something. I know that’s how it is for me. My word is everything because what I say I do reflects on who I am. And I will never be a person who doesn’t honor a commitment that I’ve made, taking emergencies aside and those situations where you really can’t do anything about it. What I mean by that is if I’ve made a commitment to your job, it doesn’t mean that if something “better” comes along, I’m going to just go with that direction instead. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do, but that’s what’s happening so much. Somebody makes a commitment, then something better comes along – maybe it’s a higher paying job, maybe it’s more days of work. It ultimately benefits the person, so I kind of understand that point. But to just flake on the person who’s counting on you already, I don’t understand how that keeps happening.
I have turned down work because I was already committed to something else. Fortunately, I am able to do that. I don’t feel that I am obligated to take any job because I need a paycheck, I’ve worked really hard to get to the point where I don’t have to feel that way. But I can’t imagine ever leaving someone hanging like that. If I ever got to a point where I really had to back out of a job and go do something else, I would make sure that I found a quality replacement for me and did the work to transition that person so it wouldn’t affect a client at all. I do understand that ultimately, you have to do what’s right for you, but I think the way you handle certain situations goes a long way. Because that client is going to remember the time you flaked on him, and that person is never going to hire you again. Not only that, but people talk. I know how it is in the production industry, and I’m sure it’s like that elsewhere. People talk. And they talk more about the bad experiences, unfortunately, than the good ones.
When I teach the “Rates, Quoting and Billing” workshop with Melissa, we talk about the two lists. There are the lists that you want to be on, which is the list that says you are easy to work with and people want to hire you, so you’re that first call. And then there’s the list you never want to be on. And that’s the one who causes problems. The “do not hire this person ever again.” Even if they’re the most talented person in the world at what they do, it’s not worth it if they’re not reliable.
I don’t know if I’m making a solid point here. I hope that I am. But really, it’s think about who you are, what kind of work you want to do, and what kind of reputation you want to have with your clients and the people they know. And I say the people they know, again going back to how my business is 100% referral based, meaning I work with someone they like what I do, they recommend me to someone else, I build relationships that way. I like to be on that list where people call me first. And if I’m not available, or don’t want to do a job for some reason, even if it’s not somebody I’ve ever worked with before, I do my best to offer alternative solutions. I’m going to talk more about that in an upcoming episode. It was the one I was going to be doing right now, but just couldn’t get my brain into it to be articulate enough in what I want to talk about. So know that that’s coming.
But ultimately, what it comes down to is being solution oriented, making your clients lives easier, and being somebody that they want to work with any chance they get. Your talent and your skill and how well you do whatever it is that you do is really important, but who you are as a person sometimes matters more. So be the kind of person that you would want to hire. Be the kind of person you would want on your team. Be the kind of person that others can depend upon when needed. Be the kind of person who makes any project better, just by being you.
I say this with all the humility in the world, that I do understand everyone is replaceable. It’s not that I do anything so well that nobody else could possibly do what I do, but nobody else is me. It’s my unique balance of the way I look at the world, the way I solve problems, who I am personality-wise. Yes, I’m a little bit awkward. That’s totally fine. Sometimes that works in my favor. All of those facets of who I am come together to make me me. And I’m not the right fit for everyone, and that’s perfectly fine, too. But for the right people, I feel that they appreciate me. I appreciate them. And that’s why I have such loyal, quality clients and people I really enjoy working with. The type that make me want to say yes, even when I feel like I just don’t have any more time or any more brain capacity to take on one more thing. I will always figure out a way because it’s important to me.
I hope you are running your business the same way. I hope you’re being the best person that you can be, so that your clients see that, they value you, and they want to hire you more. I would love to hear your take on this. If I sound a little bit rambling, it’s because I’m just talking off the cuff, which is not really what I’m comfortable doing all the time. I have a lot of thoughts in my head right now, and they might be a little bit scattered. Further proof that I am human, despite some people thinking that I may have robotic tendencies, myself being one of those people. Sometimes it happens.
So I hope all is well with you, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. And I just want to say thank you for listening. I do appreciate every time I get feedback about an episode or a topic and I know you’re out there listening. I don’t look at my stats all the time, because I kind of find that stuff irrelevant, because that’s not why I’m doing this. But I do see new downloads popping up from different states and countries all the time and it’s really exciting to me. I don’t know how you found me, but you found me, and I’m glad you’re here.