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Be Your Own Best Client

As entrepreneurs, we all strive to do our best. We want to obtain new clients and keep our current clients. Yet, many of us fail in one area or another. Could you change that by becoming your own best client?
Written Jul 27, 2011, read 341 times since then.

 

As entrepreneurs, we all strive to do our best. We want to obtain new clients and keep our current clients happy. We work on improving our skill set and being a worthwhile investment to our clients. Yet, many of us fail in one area or another.

For myself, I found that I could deliver beautiful, functional, easy to navigate websites that achieved my client's goals. However, I could never get my own site completed. I wanted it to be everything and to be able to do everything, but the end result was that it did nothing. I could not be objective about my own business. After all, I poured my heart and soul into making this endeavor work, it was part of me.

If I had a prospective client call, who found me from a referral, then I always sent them a list of my current client's websites. I never sent them to mine and if they had looked at mine, I cringed. Honestly, I would not have sold my website design or functionality to another client, and I would never hand it to another client as a finished product, so how could I change?

It finally dawned on me one day that I needed to treat my own business as I did one of my clients'. I had,  over the years, developed a list of questions, concerns and points that I went over with every new prospective client. I had even went as far as to turn this into a form that I used regularly. I found it was an essential tool to me and my business. I referred back to this form often during the design and development process. I even had a checklist that I used when near competition to make sure I had "dotted every i and crossed every t".

I then enlisted the help of my husband. I gave him my form and had him go through the list, with Me being the client. This turned out to be a great exercise. I learned a lot about my business. I know this may sound funny, but its the truth. Even though I created this business on my own and it seemed I should know "every in and out", I actually learned a lot by putting things into words and writing them down.

Before this exercise, I would consider any and every business in the world a potential client. I mean, after all, isn't my work on the world wide web? However, I discovered that my passion was for Start-Ups because I love to help people get their business off to the right start. My other focus was for long-term businesses that gotten "stuck" and wanted to see growth.

In the end, I had my own form filled out and I was able to create a website I can be proud of. I also add new content and work on it every week, just like I recommend to my clients. I changed my business model from simply websites to all types of marketing both online and in print. I'm keeping up-to-date with training and adding new skill sets that fall into this category. I'm even eliminating things that no longer reach those objectives.

What could you learn from being your own client? You might be surprised. Try it and let me know what you found. In my next article, I'll discuss another great insight that resulted from this exercise.

Learn more about the author, Elizabeth Dyer.

Comment on this article

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | Jul 28, 2011

    Elizabeth- what a great idea to be our own clients. It is sort of like the story of the shoemaker's children's shoes. They walked around barefoot because he was always making shoes for everyone else.

    I do try to run my own business the way I tell my clients to run theirs, but it is a challenge some days- especially with work/life balance.

  • Interior Designer & Coach 
Kirkland, Washington 
Nancy Meadows
    Posted by Nancy Meadows, Kirkland, Washington | Jul 28, 2011

    I love your article, Elizabeth. You became the cobbler with no shoes! You also had "analysis paralysis", which I've had too many times to count. You solved it in a simple, yet creative way. I use a VA for my website, but I'm going to try your technique in other areas of my business. Thank you.

    www.nancymeadowsdesigns.com

  • CEO 
Blairsville, Georgia 
Elizabeth Dyer
    Posted by Elizabeth Dyer, Blairsville, Georgia | Jul 29, 2011

    Kaya ~ work/life balance is my hardest struggle. As I sometimes think it is everyone's. Thanks for reading.

    Nancy ~ I'm glad you found my article useful. Thanks for commenting.

  • Media Producer/Consultant 
Washington, D.C. 
Rouane Itani
    Posted by Rouane Itani, Washington, D.C. | Jul 31, 2011

    Elizabeth,

    Great process. I have a bunch of designers friends, and many don't have their own websites, or are not proud of them and don't advertise them. I think it is that perfection paralysis, that they are afraid to be judged on their own website.

    Perhaps it might help actually hiring another designer or working with a coach to get you through the emotional obstacles.

    I think another possible solution is to design a handful of websites, either as variations of designs, or each one reflecting one side of you, and adding them under your signature, so it becomes like a body of work rather than just 1 website. You can at least have a portfolio website and a business website and allow yourself to be freer and more whimsical in the personal one than the professional one. thanks for sharing.

  • Business coaching services 
Portland, Oregon 
Kaya Singer
    Posted by Kaya Singer, Portland, Oregon | Jul 31, 2011

    Rouane

    I appreciated your points and know those people as well! In truth- "looking" at a web developers website is not necessarily a reflection of how well they can build, and is more of a reflection of how well they know how to market their business. Most web builders are really good coders but that doesn't make them good at graphics or know how to craft a core marketing message in the content.

    A web builder might get credit for the whole site, when in fact there was also a graphics person who designed the presentation and a lot of work that went into the content that the web builder has nothing to do with.

    My new website is a good reflection of this. It is wonderful and the builder did a great job as well as the graphics person I hired and I wrote all the content and constantly update it.

    Before my site went live- I was similar to the people you refer to. My old site was ok but it was outdated and began to want to apologize to people for it. Like you, Elizabeth, I was helping all my clients get their new site done but I hadn't done my own!

  • CEO 
Blairsville, Georgia 
Elizabeth Dyer
    Posted by Elizabeth Dyer, Blairsville, Georgia | Jul 31, 2011

    Thank you for your input ladies. My business website is, my eyes very professional.

    There are a lot of competitors in my small town that think they are designers/developers all around gurus with anything to do with computers if they just know how to turn one on...LOL.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people have gotten taken by these self proclaimed experts. So, I always like to present my professional side to others. Afterall, I worked hard to earn my degree and I have the bills to prove it....lol.

    My next big project for myself (hopefully for Sept) is do a personal website to show more of my "wackier" more laid back side. I actually love to joke around with people a lot. There's few things better in life than to laugh.

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