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This past weekend I took a break from the hustle and bustle of last week and found myself watching “The Devil Wears Prada” starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. It occurred to me how fortunate we are that none of our (current) clients fall into the “devil” category, and whether or not they wear Prada – who cares?! We don’t!
Sadly, Andy Sachs, the main character, faced a dilemma a lot of new business owners face as well – lack of optimal job opportunities. While they know what type of jobs/projects they would like, either the opportunities aren’t out there, or a lack of experience working such jobs keeps them from winning the project. In the end, these conditions mean the contractor must accept less than desirable projects and/or clients to keep their bills paid.
At the start of our business, we had a few such devils. Unbeknownst to us when we accepted the projects, our clients expected us to be on call 24/7. Our business hours were changed without our knowledge or permission, and phone calls, Skype messages and emails were expected to be answered immediately into the wee hours of the morning. (And by wee hours, I’m talking 1-3am). A failure to respond would result in being reprimanded as though we were 5 year olds tracking mud across a white carpet.
To put it mildly, these clients created much stress for us physically AND mentally. Luckily, we had already invented and implemented our trial period. As long as we stuck it out, did a good job and maintained our tempers, these clients would have no reason to be unhappy when the projected ended. Somehow we managed to keep it together until we could let them go, while at the same time we building a roster of reasonable clients.
If you’ve found yourself in a “The Devil Wears Prada“-type situation, it is important to remember that this won’t last forever. Like Andy, use your time as a “learning experience” and to hone your skills and resume. And… If it helps you get through the time you have to work together any easier, imagine your devil wearing something completely hideous…