Truth is best. And good guys can finish first.
For ten years I never said ‘no’ to a client or prospect.
The other day, I did.
Contrary to my deep fears, the consequences have been wonderful.
I can’t wait to naysay again.
I was really busy with a big job for a fabulous new client.
This unusual combo saw me flat out like a lizard drinking.
And coming after the GFC, I wasn’t letting this prize escape.
At that moment, a fabulous prospect (who was also really busy) emailed me out of the blue with a big, urgent job.
I wanted to do it.
And in the past, I would’ve.
I’d have stayed up late, slaved all weekend and worried about making errors under pressure.
Though I’d invariably nail both projects, I’d be a wreck for the next few days (and jobs).
Not fair to me. Or the wife. Or my current loyal clients.
So I replied to the fabulous prospect. (Let’s call her Beth.)
I explained the situation, told her how much I wanted her custom, gave an estimate of my future availability and even suggested (with gritted teeth) another writer to help her out of her tight spot.
As I pressed SEND, I thought, ‘There goes a $2-3K job, plus God-knows-how-much lifetime revenue. But at least you’ve been true to yourself.’
Beth’s response stunned me.
She thanked me for my candour and said she’d be happy to wait till I was free.
A week later, she referred me to another prospect! (Let’s call her Bev).
Never, in the history of Empire, has a prospect referred a prospect.
When I was free, I did Bev’s fascinating project which, ironically, was worth $2-3K.
Bev told Beth she was happy with my service.
Beth recently confirmed she’s looking forward to working with me too.
No man’s land
This sort of thing doesn’t usually happen to me. I think it’s called ‘winning’.
I must say it’s rather fun.
I was forced to say ‘no’ by circumstance.
I should’ve been saying ‘no’ by choice.
We don’t expect (or want) orthodontists to cram two patients into one time slot.
Why should copywriters be different?
I believe I’m a master in my field.
Yet I’m only now exhibiting the behaviours appropriate to this station.
(Misplaced) humility has had me acting like a hungry hack.
To that, I now say:
What say you?