It’s noon on the West Coast and I’ve been at it since about 5:15am today. Why? Because I don’t work weekends. I made this rule for myself when I started my own business. It is very rarely violated. Only when I think something is a real emergency will I work on a weekend. Not when my client thinks it’s an emergency, mind you, but when I do. Why? Because I set my business’ standards and practices, not my clients.
Of course, I’m not ignoring them–not at all! I think about their needs and their wants and I balance those out with my own, and then I set my standards and practices.
Often, what they want is not the best thing for them anyway (ex., they want to avoid making phonecalls to potential clients), so my business focuses on their needs (they need to get clients) and I have tailored how I work based on those needs. But sometimes this means doing things they don’t want–like forcing them to make the calls or not being available to them on the weekends.
This is something you should consider for your own business. Set your own rules and standards and practices and hold true to them. It pays off. I’ve never yet lost a client because I wouldn’t work on a weekend or I didn’t answer the phone after 5pm. Everyone respects that this is how my business works.
The world will not end if you don’t do all the time what your clients say they want. Sometimes, it is good to be a little “selfish.” Do what you want how you want to do it and you’ll be more productive and enjoy the process to boot.
And it’s not just me who says so. Seth Godin tells a good anecdote on the same theme today on his blog.