I’m a lucky duck. A redhead sitting on a pot of gold with rainbows lighting up my sky and unicorns running around my yard. While I won’t even begin to explain the City of Denver code violations inherent in the above statement, I’ll keep shoveling unicorn shit so long as it means one thing:
that I keep getting kickass clients.
There’s a lot that goes into the “kickass client” qualifier. It’s not just a honkin’ retainer or consistent revenue. I wanted to share with you the things that, in my book, make my clients kickass. And keep in mind as well – MY kickass client isn’t necessarily YOURS, so take it all with a grain of salt and ask yourself: am I doing what it takes to attract kickass clients?
An open line of communication. Whether I think something’s great or it sucks, a kickass client for me is one that listens and keeps an open ear. I can bring ideas to the table, collaborate, share links and simply ask how their world is going. As a small business owner, my clients are a part of my family. I want to know if something is awesome or if it blows – and maybe I can make their world a bit brighter by doing awesome work for their business.
A sense of humor. If you haven’t noticed, RedheadWriting has an irreverent side. The most common question I’m asked is, “Umm, you use the f-word a lot. You’re not going to do that on OUR site, right?” No, I’m not. But my kickass clients have a sense of humor. I’m not above sending along industry-specific humor, helping them get a laugh out of their community and having a phone conference that lasts an extra 10 minutes because everyone on it is laughing so hard about something completely off-topic. A sense of humor is especially helpful when you email off product copy for a children’s clothing website where you spell check has auto-corrected ever instance of “shirt” to “shits.”
Permission to be myself. The above two qualities imply that my kickass clients give me permission to be myself. I’ve lost business because strategic partners feel they can’t refer my outspoken personality to a more conservative client. THAT’S AWESOME! I’ll lose business all day if it keeps kickass clients coming to my door. It might surprise you to know that I’ve worked with one of the largest domestic nonprofit organizations as well as an international luxury auto brand. It’s also likely that, the next time you’re in Las Vegas, you’ll be staying in a room or resort for which I wrote the guest services book, room descriptions or email newsletter you receive. The enthusiasm I bring to my work is contagious and my kickass clients want that shit in their brand. It’s like crack, without the plumber.
Sans bullshit. There is no bullshit between my kickass clients and moi. If you measured the number of “I don’t knows” that I share with my clients, it’d weigh out to a metric ass ton. But I get them answers. If I need help with a project, I call in a colleague. If I find myself needing to change a strategy, I lay it on the line with solid reasoning. If they have questions about what I’m doing and why, I justify. There’s no “because I said so” bullshit. There’s no question whether my clients will pay or if it’ll be on time. I don’t go off the map or close unannounced to fuck off and go ride my bike. Things get done, on both sides. This is a business and just because I run it out of my home doesn’t mean I act like trailer park trash and use their retainer for a box of Marlboros and buy-one-get-one Little Debbie Zebra Cakes.
Stop taking every ounce of business that comes to your door. You know the type of client you want (and frankly, your clients know they type of vendors they want as well). By being an open door, you’re more of an open toilet. Sometimes all is well, you’re hydrated and you pee clear. Others, it’s a big pile of shit waiting to happen. Close the bathroom door and open an office, will ya? Now share in the comments what makes YOUR client relationships kickass – and please continue to kick ass.