Kids and Clients
Kids and clients… It occurred to me recently that sometimes they can be very similar. We love them for the joy (cough, cough, or money) they bring to our lives, and get frustrated by all the grey hairs they give. As a parent, I’ve realized there are times when kids and clients needed to be treated in the same ways.
Subdue the Hungry Grumpies – I don’t know about your kids, but mine get the hungry grumpies, just like me. As a client occasionally myself, I wouldn’t want to be my contractor when they’re working with me on a hungry stomach. Coincidentally, I have clients who aren’t as pleasant when they haven’t eaten either. If I have access to their calendar and I sense an attack by the hungry monster, I will usually encourage my client(s) to take a break to get a bite.
More times than not, I have not had an opportunity to eat recently (thanks to the morphing client), and I will take my own break then as well. What would happen if I didn’t force a break? Probably World War III. And when the Hungry Grumpies are involved, you could wind up with ridiculous temper tantrums.
“Are You Listening to Me?” – Kids and clients can both have the frustrating habit of not listening. While I don’t ask my clients to repeat back what I told them to confirm they heard me (hey, they’re paying me, not the other way around!) – I do it to my kids all my time. Either way, it’s obvious that kids AND clients can have listening problems.
Here’s a gentle reminder to all you small business owners: keep your cool, even when you have to repeat yourself 1,000 times. Well, keep your cool AND send whatever you told your client verbally in written form as well (ie. perhaps a, “per our phone discussion, this is what we discussed” email) so that when he/she forgets down the road you can simply re-send or forward your email. I hate to say it, but having that copy available to re-send will make YOU look good and your client… eh. Right now let’s worry about making you good, even though it should always be your priority to make your client(s) look good as well.
Monkey in the Middle – Kids and clients both play games sometimes, although the latter isn’t necessary intentional. A common game of both parties is Monkey in the Middle. As a parent you may feel like you are constantly chauffering from Point A to Point B, trying to catch a break. The same goes as a small business owner. Running from task to task it’s easy to be emotionally AND physically exhausted by the end of the day.
As parents there is a point when we say “Stop the madness!” We tell the kids they are driving us donkey bonkers (yes, that’s the expression in our house), and they need to find something quiet to do for a bit. But we don’t dare tell the same to our clients. Continued success for our clients makes us look good, so how can we tell them to stop swinging from vine to vine for bit?
How about, “I’ve got a lot on my plate from you already. How about if we clean some of these tasks, or if we re-prioritize before anything else is added?”
Remember, you ARE a full time parent, but chances are you are not a full-time contractor to any of your clients. Kids and clients both require a immense amount of time, care and concentration, but at the end of the day you only live with one of those parties… THEY are the ones who need your love and nurturing, and at 5pm you still need the energy to give them the hugs and kisses they deserve.
Kids and clients both require an overwhelming supply of patience, and Sutton Creative Studios has a seemingly endless supply! If your clients are multiplying the gray hairs your kids already gave you, our phenomenal staff of graphic designers, marketing consultants and virtual assistants can help you get your hectic life back in order! Contact us today for more information.
Kim Sutton is the Managing Partner and Chief Everything Officer of The Sutton Companies, including Sutton Strategic Solutions and Sutton Creative Studios. She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture.
An avid reader and passionate learner, Kim is constantly researching, studying and developing business improvement strategies. When it comes to client work, Kim especially enjoys helping her clients develop innovative marketing strategies and sales funnels, particularly when they are using Infusionsoft to automate all the heavy lifting. To find out how you can further develop your company’s marketing and automation strategies schedule a 1-hour Business Boost Strategy Session by clicking here.
In her free-time, Kim cherishes the time she gets to spend with her husband, Dave (her business partner), and five children. She also enjoys reading, knitting, writing and playing video games.
Get a copy of Kim’s FREE guide, “10 Top Tools for Small Businesses” by clicking here.