Every Friday I post a “here’s the thing” blog. “Here’s the thing” is something my mum (and many other wise people) like to say when they’re about to make a good point. Hopefully these posts are also good points.
Over the last month, a number of people have asked me if I take my own advice. After last week’s post in particular, my boyfriend told me he was going to make me read it when I was worrying about not being good enough. Touché, Ryan, touché.
So I wanted to write this week’s post to say yes, I take my own advice, but yes, I also sometimes struggle with “is this okay?” and “what if it all falls apart?”
And I thought the best way to do that would be to tell you about my first ever client.
My first client is someone I’ve known for a long time. She’s inspiring, determined, fickle and stubborn. She’s a born introvert, but loves being around like-minded people. She’s more successful than she thought she’d be at this stage in her business. She’s wondering how she can keep that up.
[Spoiler alert: Before anyone gets into thinking “oooh, I wonder who she’s talking about,” or “oh god, she’s talking about me,” – I’m not. Keep reading. It’s okay.]
Here are some of the things we’ve said to each other:
Her: “Hi Jenny, I’m about to launch this new website, but I’m suddenly not sure it’s what I really wanted. What if it’s rubbish? What if no-one likes it? What if there are 50 billion mistakes in it and people think I’m stupid because I didn’t fix them?”
Me: “You’ve worked really hard on your website, with a really talented web designer who gets what you’re trying to do. Did you really know how it was going to turn out at the beginning? Not really, because otherwise it would have been that way. And you know what, here’s the secret of running your own business: if you don’t like it a month from now, you get to change it. It’s a process. This won’t be your website forever.”
Her website launched, people really liked it. But more importantly, she saw that, for her launch, it was absolutely the right thing.
Her: “I have too many ideas and not enough time. What should I concentrate on?”
Me: “What’s going to make the biggest difference to your business today, this week, or this month? Do that first. Then do something that has long-term value – write down your ideas, flesh them out, so you can come back to them. Then, back to the first question. Repeat ad infinitum. And remember – you’ve got good intuition. You’ll know the best things to do.”
So have you guessed it yet? My first client is, well, me.
A very wise woman introduced me to the idea of thinking about it like that, knowing that I would struggle with a lot of the things all small business owners struggle with. And it remains true. I do read my own blog posts, my own notes, and I have open, honest, slightly ridiculous conversations with myself. I also seek guidance from people who get it, who I know I can trust.
So here’s the thing:
If you were your first customer, what would you need or want? Would you like your products? Would you buy them, have them in your home? Do they resonate with you?
And while you might be your first customer, you’re not going to be every customer. You will need to think beyond your own preferences at some point. Just because you like it, doesn’t guarantee other people will.
BUT making sure you’re happy with your work is the route to sanity and happiness. If you’re spending all day designing, crafting and making products you don’t even like and have maybe started to resent, well, I hope this blog is a little nudge towards creating something new that you really, truly love.
So today, this weekend, over the coming week, pretend you’re your first customer. Don’t try to second-guess yourself. Just you, your preferences. What are they?
PS I can’t believe it’s almost a month since I became self-employed! Time has flown by. My 25% off launch offer ends on July 31st. If you want to work together at the reduced rate, get in touch before then (even if we don’t start work together until way later).