What is it about hitting 50?
I still feel like I can take on the world. I look forward to going to battle—I mean work—each day. I dig the smart people I work with (most of the time), and I love the marketing voo-doo we do. But I can’t help becoming reminiscent—thinking back on the journey I’ve had over the past 20 years, the time I served as Oneupweb’s main salesperson, and some of the clients that have helped me “make it”.
There’s a common thread among those first clients that I think of fondly—some of them we still work with today. They all had an entrepreneurial, problem solving, “let’s do this thing” spirit. They were almost always tough sells (think meat grinder), but once we connected, the relationship became solid. We formed a friendship, built trust in one another and skipped the politicking, game-playing BS that I run into on a regular basis today.
I have a reputation for wearing a tough exterior. I dunno, maybe it has to do with clawing my way to success as a woman in a man’s world—but I’m not an excuse maker. I care—a lot. I own my mistakes and my word means something. I’m loyal and committed to clients on a personal level, so I do what it takes to help them—on occasion resulting in a financial loss for my own company. More often than not though, it results in more tangible success overall and a deeper bond for both of us.
The size of the client company really has little to do with any of this for me. It’s the person I commit to. And it’s always more fulfilling when we can solve problems together with plain, straight-forward communication minus the fluff. We call each other up to discuss our common challenges. We can talk openly and honestly about goals, our kids and marketing results. We debate, feel comfortable telling one another if we think their idea is lame, or get off-the-wall excited when one of us nails a killer idea. And then we’re off executing the idea—together, as a team. Man, that’s the good stuff. Because when it works, you know you earned it.
As my company has grown, it’s become harder and harder for me to have the one -on-one client relationship I enjoy so much because I’m pulled in so many directions (mostly management crap and putting out fires). For a while, I even thought I could take my foot off the gas and coast. But not too long ago, I lifted my head to look around and had my own light bulb moment. I realized I’ve been missing out on forming those relationships with newer clients. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I removed myself from the day-to-day sales process due to other demands. My business suffered because of it and so did my happiness.
Business owners – Focus on the thing you love before it’s too late.
I’ve made connections with some of the best and worst clients imaginable. I’ve faced down some pretty serious challenges: Tough economic times, poor management, bad hiring decisions, a fast moving industry, personal issues and burn out (to name a few). And I’ve almost failed. Realizing that I need to do the things I do well—for the health of my company and my own mental state—I put myself back in the saddle. Today, I answer the phone when a prospect calls in, assign myself inbound leads, participate in discovery meetings and help form a client’s strategy. I’m even a regular participant in monthly client calls. And I love it. How could I possibly know what challenges businesses are facing and how we need to be serving them if I’m removed from the process? Dumb.
Oneupweb is a survivor. A small, “give-a-damn” privately held agency located in one of the most beautiful places on earth. And I’m lucky. Lucky I realized before it was too late that in order for my company to thrive, I have to thrive. And so it goes. If you own a business that is facing hard times, focus on the thing that led you to success in the first place. Think back on the good ole days and figure out which basic element is missing. It’s likely you—doing the thing you love most.
Here’s to success—again.
PS. If you want to talk with me personally – feel free to call or email directly.
231-922-9977 x101 or lisa_at_ www.oneupweb.com