You Owe Who What?

After one of my recent workshops for the Hawaii ASID Community, a designer shared how her practice had grown, how successful her design practice had become, and how incredibly busy she was… like so busy she had no free time.

She had a staff to help her, but as I spoke with her I realized that she was doing everything (really doing everything) the same way she was when she just had a few clients.

When I asked for her to explain more she said, “My clients expect me to do everything for them, all of the design of course, and the follow-up and I personally answer texts and emails immediately, doesn’t matter if it is 11:00 pm. I have always done it his way, my clients expect it and I owe it to them… it’s the reason I am successful, I have to do it.”

Does this sound familiar?

Well, you can imagine her surprise when I said, “You know, you don’t actually owe anybody anything. Not your husband, not your children, not your parents, no one, you don’t owe anybody anything.

There are two things going on in this situation: knowing what’s an obligation vs. a choice

Listen, you do have an obligation to your clients to provide great design, accurate budget numbers and terrific follow through and concierge customer service. But the truth is, you can deliver on that promise in a variety of ways.

Doing every last thing for them is just the way you’ve always done it and you’re choosing to continue working this way… and it’s probably sucking up your life.

So, stop for a moment and take a look at those things you think you have to do and decide if that’s really true.

If you feel like have to do every little thing in your business then YOU are the bottleneck that is keeping yourself from growing into the design studio that has kind of jobs and clients you really want.

The truth is that when your business grows, you need trained team members who can take over the back-room pieces of your business and maintain the quality that you represent out front.

And if you’re doing design tasks and running your business, just because that is the way you have always done it … then you’re likely stuck working harder, gaining ground inch by difficult inch, and you’ll eventually become exhausted.

The path out of this dilemma is to be more conscious and aware that you have a choice (and less “I have to”).

Look at what you’re doing and see how a trained assistant or helper that you hold accountable can help you.

Pay attention to the choices you make to let go of some of your habitual patterners to make room for new, more efficient ways to accomplish what you need to do.

The daily choices you make in this area are directly proportionate to your rate of expansion and your future success… so choose wisely!

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