Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Serenity Tip: Diversify

How many clients do you have? Does any one of them account for more than a quarter of your income?

If you're like most people, your answer is yes. As we head into a shrinking economy (or maybe we're already there--who knows) diversifying your clients is more important than ever. And it doesn't just make business sense. It makes sense for your serenity, too.

I'll give you an example: One of my favorite clients is also my longest-running clients. The money isn't phenomenal, but it's a steady stream of work on things I love to do. Then cut to yesterday, when I got that email. You know the one: The dear-john email:

Thank you for your years of service. We love working with you but we're taking this work in another direction and we won't be needing your content anymore.

Obviously, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

When I came-to this morning, I looked around me, at all the other amazing clients I also have. Of course it's upsetting to lose this client. I love them. They've been a true joy to work for. But this loss is not going to keep me up at nights. It's not going to leave me panicking and looking through my spreadsheets for how I'm going to make ends meet. It's not going to leave me worrying about things I can't control, like what I did wrong and how many other clients are going to go the same way. It's simply a very sad change in my workflow.

That, my friends, is serenity.

It's not getting and keeping your clients forever, because you can't do that. It's simply impossible. It's getting clients you love, doing your work with love and then looking for other clients.

This just happens to be the first client I've ever had drop me. But I guarantee you it won't be the last. It's part of the business. What was this week's mantra again? Just because things aren't going as planned doesn't mean they're going haywire.

So where are you looking for new clients? Are you prepared for your clients to leave?

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