When It Comes to Business Relationships, Take the Long View 

I launched my graphic design business when I was just 29. My Midwest work ethic made me an anomaly in my field. My varied skills combined my love of design with my practicality of providing a tangible product. But there was one aspect of my business I wasn’t very good at: the relationship with myself and its impact on my clients. 

Strong boundaries are the cornerstone of relationships. I realized I didn’t have any. I would run myself ragged saying yes to every project, whether or not it was a fit for me. I heard a seasoned illustrator lay out his criteria for accepting a project. It had to satisfy two of three criteria: it was lucrative; it brought notoriety; it was fun. This strategy allowed him to do occasional pro-bono work (notoriety + fun) while also reminding him that without money, he couldn’t do what he loved. 

Another fellow designer had these criteria for clients: fast, cheap and good. They could have two out of three, but not all three. I had been trying to fulfill all three of those for my clients. They learned to expect same-day turnaround. Eventually, I was unable to keep that pace with my client load, and was neglecting tasks like invoicing. I was both frazzled and cash flow challenged. 

Reflecting on four ten-hour days at a sign company, I wondered if I could adapt that policy in my own business. I changed my hours and eventually found that with the space to recharge and handle the business side of business, I was serving my clients with more energy, enthusiasm and efficiency. 

I dropped the four-day week while raising my kids, but now that they are teens, I will reinstate it. I hope to teach them that time for oneself is a gift in the relationship with others. It’s a long race. Pace yourself. 



Transition-620x418Nurturing relationships is as important in our businesses as our personal lives, most business owners overlook this large piece to creating raving fans and a key brand attribute of giving. The word nurture by definition is a process; the process of caring for and encouraging the growth and development of someone or something. Continue reading “NURTURING BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS”

During The Holidays Make Your Connections Count

During The Holidays Make Your Connections Count

business group holiday imageIt is winter, the rain may be coming down and you have a ton of things to get done before the end of the year. Still do not let anything deter you from seizing every opportunity to reinforce your contacts and make new connections. This is a great time of year to expand your sphere of influence and your pipeline for next year.

Follow these ideas to make your connections count during the holidays:

Accept all invitations
You will get invited to open houses, office receptions and business gatherings. Go to everything. If you are not enjoying yourself after a while you can slip out or tell the host or hostess you just wanted to stop by, you have another event to attend. Everyone will be doing the same thing. No one will expect you to stay all night during this season.

Read more for ideas to make your connections count