It's late March, I am sitting here watching my daughter finish her work shift during this uncertain time. I am in awe of her resilience. She is so driven to achieve those next steps in life of self-sufficiency that she braves the current state of health in our world. She put on her uniform and anxiously awaited the time to leave and start her shift. Wanting a slice of normalcy to our chaotic state of the unknown.
She didn't get ready amid a whirlwind of fear, but out of a longing. The longing to hold on to a shred of her teenage life that was thrust into the abyss of a major health concern. She understands the severity of the world around her and what it means to be on lockdown. No, she does not take it lightly, but for these few simple hours she was able to feel like she was still moving forward.
Earlier in the day, we took the time to practice parallel parking, and all the nuances that come with earning a driver's license. Frustrated that it took a few too many tries to get the car lined up properly between the cones. I sat watching her think through which way to turn the wheel to make the car go where she wanted. That concentration served as a break.
A short break from the "When can I finally go back to school? When can I see our school musical actually in full dress rehearsal and then enjoy opening night? When can I finish my next test or essay? Will I be able to get my driver's license on time?".
In these moments, I stopped worrying and was just "mom". The person who is there, no matter what and no matter when. The person who answers the questions and reminds of looming deadlines. The person who serves as a beacon of safety and security. It is in those moments I am reminded of how much I learn from my children on a daily basis.
Now, they need us more than ever.
It isn't easy for adults, so please remember it isn't easy for our children either. Create moments where they can enjoy a piece of "normal". Where they can stop asking "When" and just "Be".
They deserve it.
We all deserve it.
Make space, make time, and be open.
Yes, I continually think about different ways I can serve my clients and my business partners. Yes, I feel concern over the security of my business, and my clients' businesses. But, I cannot allow that to overcome my role as "mom".
Be patient with your work, your business, your clients. We are all in this together. Just remember what we teach our children, be kind, courteous, and do good.
Did you connect with your clients today? Did you make them feel appreciated and cared for?
If not, you need to consider doing it right now.
Regardless of what type of business you have, customer service is the central theme behind any business. Your goal is to serve your clients while earning an income. The term client can mean many different things depending on your role and what sector you serve.
Starting any relationship comes with the excitement and enthusiasm it so deserves. It’s full of all the new things, all the firsts, and that flurry of “Woo”. A working relationship is no different. It is just as exciting. It’s a fresh start with all the unknowns that come along with beginning something new.
A new client is excited just as you are. They are full of energy, excitement, and ideas. They over-communicate and share their BIG ideas and thoughts. This, however, can be short-lived. Just as when that new relationship is no longer “new”. It becomes comfortable and you become relaxed. It also becomes less “work” with no need to keep that energy level high. It becomes everyday life.
Clients do the same thing. They are excited to start working with you, but once it becomes part of that familiar daily routine the urgency and excitement fall off. All of a sudden you don’t hear from them as often. They aren’t as eager to respond to your requests or messages. Or, if really complacent, they will even delete your messages without reading them.
This doesn’t mean they aren’t happy with your work, they have just gotten comfortable with your working relationship.
We get so many emails on any given day, let alone the amount during the holiday season. It is easy to not check it for one day and suddenly your inbox is out of control. Then, it becomes overwhelming and becomes easy to just let it continue to build.
Instead, take back control of your inbox.
Driving through the country, have you ever paid attention to the rows of crops?
They are straight, even, consistent. The farmer plants them evenly and tends to them on a steady schedule. They are evenly spaced in neat rows. And, every season the crops are plentiful.
This same care and order are needed in all forms of business. Consistency is more than social media content. Consistency is tending to your clients as the farmer tends the field.
Are Intention and Purpose Synonymous?
NO. As a business owner, I know there is a clear difference between Intention and Purpose.
As I sat on the front porch watching the kids ride their bikes up and down the sidewalk, I got worried.
Riding full speed, without thinking about the what-ifs or falling, raised my "Mom Radar". They need to be careful, what if they fall.
Then I Stopped.
Wait a minute, they are having fun. Why should they worry about falling? If they do, they will get back up and continue on.
In the words of Gru from Despicable Me, "Light Bulb". Isn't that what we do in business?
Yes, I give advice on ways to improve systems, no I'm not going to send you screenshots of my Standard Operating Procedures as examples.
Clients ask how to improve profitability by automating systems and tracking sales, which I excitedly give suggestions and input on what types of systems to implement.
Last week I received an email from another business and I was rather surprised. The email had a texting-style language - extra letters in words and exaggerated punctuation.
This is a business that has always upheld a more traditional style of communication, following standard language protocols and using formal salutations. To receive an email from a new staff member in a format I would save for text messaging my friends and teenagers, was unexpected.
In today’s business culture, there are numerous areas where a more relaxed format is necessary or expected. However, it needs to be used in the right context.
I have talked to people interested in seeing what it takes to become a Virtual Assistant and something I’ve heard over and over is, “I am just…” or “I just do…”. This is the wrong approach when brainstorming a business idea.
You are so much more than “just” anything - You are a Master, an Expert.
You have mastery and experience in some service skill - whether it is mailings or letter writing or customer service - you are GREAT at something. Don’t sell yourself short. Be honest about what you have mastered. Being an expert in a service will provide you with the tools necessary to help others and build your service-based business.
Undermining your skills is not an endearing quality revered by others. It comes across as though you lack the confidence it takes to be a success. You want to portray yourself with the confidence to lead others looking for help with your services. You aren’t out to be led but show that you have the capabilities to complete the work and take responsibility for the successful results.