I don’t want to work with you.
It seems a bit arrogant or dismissive to say that you don’t want to work with a company, doesn’t it? A bit like you don’t want to grow, earn more money or make new contacts. It looks like you’re being rude to the individual that enquired or you’re making an unfair assessment about the company they represent.
… And yet it has become one of the most important things I say for my business. Here’s why…
It’s Not You, It’s Me.
When I started my own business it was half chance. I’d walked out of a stable job that I had become very unhappy working in, a stable wage that paid the bills in a growing industry that everyone knew they needed but few understood what it actually entailed. At home was a two-month-old daughter, a mortgage to pay and no firm plans on what to do… though it still felt right.
But I had with a good few years experience in SEO and Adwords, a lot of contacts and something far more valuable than that: I cared.
When you work for a company, you’re often encouraged not to care. Clients are just a number and terms like “rapid expansion” are more important than the foundation of the clients that built you. This does not seem right to me.
For me, I am an extension of every client’s business that I work with. If they fail; I have failed. If they succeed then I can take pride in the fact that I helped to get them there. I want to know each business owner personally, not always face to face (it’s often not possible) but I want to be able to have two-way contact via phone or email whenever needed. I want to be able to speak honestly and openly whether it’s for explaining good results or revealing a new problem with the website.
The trouble is, this all takes time.
Time Is A Valuable Thing
Given that we only have a limited amount of time it’s important that it is used wisely. I want to deliver positive results for each and every business I work with and I want to be personally involved. This means I have to be choosey about the businesses I do work with and able to dedicate a reasonable amount of time to each one.
I want to be involved in the process as much as possible, to understand the products the business sells, their services, their competitors, their values. Not just how to move around their CMS or format a web page. I want to be an extension of their team. This means I will be more involved than most agencies at times and it also means I have enough understanding of the business to generate content on behalf of the business that could pass as their own… Written in-house by a member of their team who knows their stuff.
To be effective, I need to develop an understanding beyond simply formatting pages, bashing out content and reporting on the data. I know I’m decent at my job but I like to think that I differ from others in my industry because I try to take the time to figure out a business, their audience and what we can hope to achieve… And this takes time.
Taking It Personally
To me, as mentioned, caring is important but with caring comes a big drawback: I take it personally. I’m here to pick fault, spot errors, identify and fix issues on your website and sometimes within your business. It may seem like there are times when my input is negative or critical but it’s all to make results positive and the cogs of your website run more smoothly. If things are not working I will try and find alternative ways or more effective means to get some progression. It’s important that the site owner is happy and I am too.
This makes me picky about who I work with. I will take it personally if we’re not getting the results I think we deserve or if we’re having issues getting changes made by a web developer that are critical to moving on. If we work together then please be aware that it’s because I want the very best for your business. Without your business succeeding, mine can’t either.
Getting Better All The Time
In recent months, I’ve started putting a few extra processes in place to help make my business more efficient. I spent over 2 years quietly working behind the scenes on a number of website’s SEO and ad campaigns directly and as a white-label consultant. I didn’t really want more work, certainly not at the cost of the businesses that helped build my business.
I’ve been reading up on industry issues, creating this website (It only had a day or so of time and it shows!), taking on and training a member of staff (Chris) to help with the work I am doing. Now I’ve let people know what I do, I’m not in any rush to expand my client base or take on a lot of new businesses.
I want to work with the right businesses, charging reasonable rates and providing a bit more than they are used to. I want the kind of client that has worked with SEO or Advertising agencies in the past and seen holes in the work they provided… and then prove that some of us are different. That there are still good, honest services out there that fit in with your business and provide the missing elements to make your online efforts work.
My aim is to provide good technical and creative support but do it with old school values. No sticky long term contracts. No reason to stay other than because you know you will not find a better service at a better rate.
So when I say I won’t work with you, it’s because I don’t want to take on more than I can manage. You deserve the best… If I can provide that then we can talk, otherwise, no hard feelings!
Nice article. Very personal and i imagine other businesses will appreciate your honesty’.
Many thanks, Greg! I really appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. 🙂
I really appreciate people taking the time to read this. It means a lot.
I think we’ve all had to say no to people making inquiries, sometimes its just not the right fit.
I think for the sake of sanity and life balance, we have to trust our spidey sense. I say no a lot more that I say yes these days and I do not regret it! I want results for all my clients but I also want the ones that stay.
Many thanks for taking the time to comment, Andy.