A common misconception that seems to plague those of us in the personal services industry is this idea that you aren’t a real entrepreneur if you aren’t doing everything yourself. We tend to think we can’t just be a service provider to our clients. To our business we must be accountant, graphic designer, web designer, receptionist, advertiser, marketer, PR agent, small business attorney, content developer, technician, marketing strategist, and more!
When starting out we tend to absorb all the tasks associated with running a successful business. Especially when there’s enough free time to do so while waiting for those new clients to call or come through the door. But this isn’t always the best approach. In my years of consulting, I’ve come across three common clients.
The first type of client is very easy to help. The easiest clients are the ones who simply lack the skills to perform those business tasks. If they don’t know this about themselves in the beginning, they quickly find out when they fail to obtain new clients. They usually seek out help sooner than those who possess the skills themselves. They know that in order for their business to succeed there are things that must be done by people who know how to do it. So this isn’t really about them.
The second type of client is the one who is decently skilled at performing those business tasks. Assuming you’re skilled enough to take on all these tasks, eventually it all takes its toll. Having done this myself, I am more than understanding of the mental strain and stress this causes. When you finally do get a good flow of clients, those business tasks you performed to get to that level are put on the back burner. The high priority now is the client and the business needs get neglected.
This is how the cycle begins. When the business is hungry for clients you put in all the work behind the scenes to feed it those new clients. Once you get a few new clients in the door, you no longer have the time or energy to keep doing the work necessary to gain more clients. Not to mention you now have the job of getting those clients to come back! If you can’t keep up with the business tasks along with the increasing client demands, it’s okay to outsource some of the work. This doesn’t make you less of an entrepreneur. In fact it makes you smart enough to recognize the needs of your business must to be met whether it’s starving for clients or not.
The final client is the most difficult client, and many times the one who experiences no success or experiences it very slowly. This is the client who cannot dissociate enough to objectively help their own business. These are typically the ones who built a very good client base while working for someone else.
Without the pressure of bringing in their own clients, they mistake their employer’s success for their own. They believe that being a good service provider is enough to be successful business owner. Having experienced success as an employee, they completely neglect the business needs and have a hard time accepting that success as an employee came from good business practices.
But this is also my favorite client. They tend to be very passionate and keep trying regardless of failed attempts. Once convinced to let someone else focus on the business while they focus on doing what they do best, they end up doing very well.
If any of these clients sound like you, there is a simple solution. Simply do a bit of honest self-evaluation. Appreciate your strengths but respect your weaknesses. Successful business owners don’t try to take on more than they can handle. Instead they surround themselves with people who can help them achieve their goals and leverage those relationships to experience success beyond their imagination.
Kamillya Hunter is the owner and founder of Spa Analytics. She encourages independent owners to focus on The Details That Matter when running a business. She’s a mom of two, an army wife, author and a self diagnosed “Spa Junkie” who lives, eats, breathes and sleeps the personal service industry.