I’ve been neglecting my most important client

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important clientIt’s confession time: I’ve been neglecting my most important client. True, he doesn’t pay the best, he can be a bit loony under pressure, and I’m pretty sure he’s adult ADHD. But, he’s good at what he does and he’s generally amiable, so I stick with him.

As the cool kids today say: IT ME.

I can give a litany of excuses, of course—as we all can! Neglecting your own business seems to be part of a freelancer’s job description: Paid work is always first in line, cobbler’s kid with no shoes, yadda yadda yadda. As I noted in my previous post, I’m a fan of saying yes. In addition to steady client work and regular deadlines, there was a longtime client who needed a helping hand during a family crisis last week. A few new clients have come on board since the beginning of the year, so there are the usual startup follies. A book I’m editing and helping someone self-publish is in its final stages, so I’m knee-deep in the nitty-gritty. Ah, and there was the much-needed (and wicked fun!) vacation last month, so things logjammed before and after it.

Week after week, I keep telling myself that on Monday, things should get back to normal…whatever that is.

How My Important Client Got My Attention

The neglect part has been simmering in the back of my mind for a while, but came to a full boil at my monthly mastermind meeting earlier this week. The featured speaker had us perform a couple of exercises, including one of my favorites, a simple brain dump. Three columns—business, personal, and family—and just write down everything you can think of that you want or need to do.

As I frantically scribbled, it became pretty clear that the weak link was very specific: business tasks for my own business. I have a bunch of cool projects that I need to upload to my Boomvang Creative portfolio. (Oh, I also need to cultivate some testimonials from all that work.) I’ve delayed long enough on writing my next business book, so I’ve given myself a deadline for research. My computer and physical files could use some serious TLC. Invoicing, yeah, obviously. And, sure enough, my ever-growing list of topics that I want to blog about needs to be chipped away at. Consider this a start.

While none of these items are going to deliver immediate ROI, every single one of them will pay off in the future—sometimes in ways I can’t even see at the moment. That’s key.

If you’re nodding your head at all this, do yourself a favor: Jot down a list and give your most important client some dedicated attention next week. Without them, you’ve got nothing else.

In the comments: Do you have any cool tips for fellow freelancers about how to avoid neglecting their own businesses?

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  1. says

    This pretty much describes my whole freelancing career. 😉 I am gradually transitioning away from business writing for clients (except a few I love and projects I love) to focus more on my most important client. 🙂 Let’s check back in next year, Jake. 😉

  2. Bobbi Hoffman says

    I needed this today.Thanks! I am deadline-oriented, and if a task doesn’t have a strict deadline attached to it, I tend to ignore it.

  3. says

    I’d say just make it a regular part of the workweek. Schedule five minutes at the beginning or end of the day to go over one item. on your business to-do list. One thing. Five minutes. Maybe at the end of the day in case five turns into 25….

    Another thing I do is I keep a rather untidy stack of papers to the left of my monitor. They’re my “must file or deal with” items. Since I really, really hate a messy desk, I’ll go through the pile weekly. Sometimes some of the stuff will land back on the pile, but at least I’m looking at it every week.

    • says

      1) Good suggestion on making it part of the routine. Personally, I’m a start-the-day planner, but I know lots of people who argue for end-of-day. Either way, it needs to get done!
      2) Oh, man, you would HATE my desk 🙂

      Thanks for commenting, Lori!