Have you ever had to “fire” yourself from a job? I’m talking about it in the context of a blogger, a freelancer or creative. This is an idea I learned from my brothers, when they were deep into their digital strategy business. They were behind big brands like Fully Booked, Jericho Rosales, DMCI Homes, and such companies. Their goal after their corporate trainings and consultancies was simple: For their clients to become so competent so that they could fire their consultants (the consultants being my brothers). When I asked what he meant, he said:
“As a consultant, your job is bring ‘smarts’ to the situation. When you do that, you should be increasing your clients’ capabilities so that as you work together, it’s a learning process for them. Within a certain amount of time, they should should be able to fly without you,” says my youngest brother, Kayo Cosio of HoneyComb Communities.
Ever since they stated this years ago during a training workshop, I’ve thought about it in the context of my own work, and being “fired” on certain occasions, plus to how “fire myself” from situations. Let me explain.
See, I’ve been blog coaching for four years now. In the beginning, when I was handling a few clients at a time, it was great. I could do everything on my own, except for the graphic design elements of the websites and blogs of my clients. Down the road, more and more clients came, and I had to hire more people to make the websites and to do the work with me.
Growing a team is never easy, and I even hired some really bad people along the way. There were a handful of projects that never saw the light because of some unreliable freelancers I contracted. Of course, I learned it the hard way: All the blame went to me, as the project manager. As a result, I fumbled up projects, made clients unhappy, wasted people’s money and time, and of course, all that ruined my reputation. I had lots of great projects, but the disappointments and failures always affected me the most.
What my failures in consulting have taught me
I’ve seen through the years that I should have fired myself when I saw warning signs — like those I’m listing below. Looking back, my unhappy clients have been the ones whom I didn’t give value to. There were those who felt I wasted their money, others who didn’t jive with my style of coaching, and others who didn’t like their websites and blogs. These clients, I’ve since grouped into “the dissatisfied” for data purposes. Normally, I would let these glaring failures keep me down, but as it turns out they are the most helpful category of clients for me. Because it’s my failures with them that help me create something blissful out of a seemingly negative and career-killing situation.
What I’ve realized is:
1. There are clients who need more hand-holding than others. I’ve had clients who are more demanding of my time and supervision than others. If I’m not delivering their time expectations, I will of course fail them because they find value in constant access to me. I should fire myself before things get too detailed.
2. There will always be people who equate service price with hours rendered. I’ve had a handful of prospects who’ve said “Your Skype sessions are overpriced” without even trying them first. But I’ve had MORE clients say that my Skype sessions were vastly helpful, even more than my offline group workshops, because of the one-on-one aspect. When colleagues and I deduced what the unhappy clients found wrong with the service, we saw that these clients didn’t really care about the price, but they made price instead of time & consulting the most important aspect of their choice to work with me. I should fire myself, because I am not valued, nor is my service.
3. There will be clients you think are great for you, but they don’t really need you. It’s important to validate a particular client actually needs you. This was one mistake I made more than once. My coaching is most valuable to clients who really don’t know what they want for their blog or website. So in the times I was hired by clients who already knew a majority of what they wanted, I should have actually let them go. Why? Because if I cannot work with them or offer them value, then they will of course feel they didn’t get their money’s worth.
So, thank you, to every client I’ve had. The successful projects have affirmed that I am a great blog coach for a specific kind of client. The failed projects on my part confirmed what I was doing incorrectly, and have since helped me to “fire myself” as a blog coach.
But this doesn’t end in failure. I’m too much of a life hacker to settle in the dust.
I will always love doing social media and blogging strategy. But just because I want to work doesn’t mean I want to keep trading hours for money. For sure, I don’t want to work until I’m 60. And so, the goal is to create systems so that I still give value to those who come for brand consulting, coaching, but spend less hours being physically doing the work. This can be achieved through my new books, some webinars that we are cooking up, and limited number of consulting spots for those truly serious about growing their brands. This means letting go completely of certain services and automating current ones. These will also help filter out my non-ideal clients (those who need hand-holding and my constant presence).
So, hello to new things! Now that I have “fired” myself from certain roles, I can breathe easier, work more efficiently (and with better results), work with clients who are really the best fit (and I for them).
Have you ever had to “fire” yourself as a coach, a consultant or service provider? How did you look at the situation? Let’s share our experiences in the comments. (Or I invite you to start a topic in our Facebook Group, the Blissful Brands & Businesses)