Working with Me
This short but important page will help you decide if we should walk down the aisle.
Many people—maybe even most—don’t get to choose their clients. I’m fortunate enough to be able to select the people and organizations with whom I work. Make no mistake: that is not lost on me.
Right from the get-go, know this: I endeavor to make all of my clients as happy as I can. I place great value in the fact that individuals and organizations choose to work with me and not someone else. However, there is such a thing as bad business.
It is nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.
I’ve seen it many times in my days. I’m talking about client-vendor matches that were doomed from the start. Often they were predicated upon incompatible personalities and styles. It was only a matter of time before these relationships self-destructed. I can’t speak for others but, to borrow a great line from Breaking Bad, I have no intention of being around for the boom.
Fundamentally, there are three types of people in this world:
- Those who get it.
- Those who don’t get it but want to get it. (These are some of my favorite people.)
- Those who don’t want to get it and don’t want to get it.
In 2009, I made the decision to only work with the first two groups. Work should not resemble Office Space.
Trust me, working with me is easy. Many of my clients have been with me for years. At the risk of being immodest, there’s no shortage of people who will sing my praises. No matter what we do together, it’s essential that we understand each other from the beginning. If you read this page and you decide that we wouldn’t be a good fit, then it has served its purpose and I wish you the best of luck.
Without further ado and in the interest of complete transparency, here are some things that you should know about working with me.
E-Mail and Collaboration
E-mail is not collaboration. Period.
Thanks to Dropbox, Box.net, and Google Docs, there’s no need e-mail attachments back and forth like it’s 1998. Join.me lets you see my screen and vice-versa. Todoist serves as an excellent task-management application, allowing us to quickly see where things stand. ScreenFlow lets me record videos so I can teach you how to do something.
Tools like these let us work together far more efficiently than relying upon e-mail alone. Everybody wins.
If you will only communicate by e-mail, then we shouldn’t work together. Period.
If you haven’t heard of these tools, that’s ok. You just have to be open to using new ones—just like I am. You probably will enjoy learning new things that save the both of us time and make each of us more productive. I sure do. Slack is a case in point.
Don’t get me wrong. E-mail is fine. I send many messages every day. But it’s only one form of communication; it is not the only one.
I abide by a three-email rule:
If we e-mail each other three times over the same issue, it’s time for one of us to pick up the phone.
I’m a big proponent of clarity. I demand it of myself and of others. Throughout my career, I’ve seen the pernicious effects of horrible business jargon far too often.
I don’t expect you to interpret intentionally opaque language. By the same token, I ask for the same courtesy. If you can’t express yourself without using utterly vacuous phrases such as “experience flows that seamlessly bring together all of the experiences throughout the infinity loop of customer engagement,” then we probably shouldn’t work together—unless you are hiring me specifically to improve your communication skills.
There’s always an initial period of adjustment with any new professional relationship. I get it. Really.
I am a very happy and willing collaborator. For instance, I will gladly talk about the theme of a conference before preparing my talk. I will send my slides well before I show up or get on a plane. And it doesn’t stop there. I insist that new clients approve outlines of my posts, white papers, and other articles that I write for them before I begin in earnest. I don’t want them to be surprised or upset with me. (After we have established sufficient rapport, most of my clients accept my posts with minor edits and/or provide very little direction ahead of time.)
If you don’t trust my judgment, then why are you hiring me in the first place?
I consider myself a professional. I have never met anyone who likes to be micromanaged. The same holds true for me. Whether it’s for coaching, speaking, writing, consulting, webinars, or any one of my other services, I am quite capable of working quickly and independently. If you’re the kind of person that needs to approve every tweet, word, and/or little detail, then we shouldn’t work together. Ditto if you want to see six different versions of a 500-word blog post prior to approving it.
I understand that all organizations need time to make decisions. All things being equal, larger ones need more time than their smaller counterparts.
I’m not a fan of vacillating and excessive delays. If it’s going to take your six months or more to pull the trigger, then you should probably reach out to me when you’re closer that key point.
I don’t consult, write, and speak as a hobby. I enjoy what I do, but I do it for a living. If you don’t take invoices and payment terms seriously, then we’re not a fit.
I’m a pretty responsive guy, but at any point I’m probably juggling a bunch of different things. I can’t guarantee an immediate response all of the time, but you’ll rarely see 24 hours go by without a response to an issue–even if that response is “I’m busy. I’ll get to it in a bit.”
If you’re not responsive and/or don’t take our work seriously, then we’re not a good match.
Thank you for taking the time to read this page. If you believe that we’re a fit, then I’d love to hear from you.