The ABC index for choosing clients

I used to take any client that had a checkbook. That was the early days of my business, when every dollar mattered and I was working in fear and needy mode. I soon leaned that just because a client has money, it does not always mean they are a good client to work with. 

I needed to come up with an index that could help me make the decision if the client I am about to engage in is a good fit. I wanted a simple tool that will help me examine the most important values I look for in a client.

In your creative business, having a clear index to use when you are creating clients will help you filter out the bad apples from the bunch. This means that you must put yourself first and make a decision that comes from a place of loving your business, not desperation and neediness.

The index that worked best for me, and one that I often teach my clients is the ABC index. This index contains three simple questions that you can ask yourself when you examine a prospect and its fit with your business.  

A - Artistic :: Is working with this client going to allow us to be most artistic and creative?

B - Business :: Does it make business sense to take this client on? In other words, is the budget right? Are the terms OK?

C- Compatibility :: Do I like this client as a person? Is this someone I would want to cook dinner for?

If you are not getting a solid YES to any of these questions, chances are you're about to get into a client nightmare situation. I have yet to see a healthy client relationship that doesn't fit this index. 

In your business, what's your index?

The can't vs. the want to

Last year I started taking drum lessons. I often like to put myself in a student position mostly to remind me about and help me practice patience, humility and being present. 

My teacher is a young man in his early thirties who has been playing drums since he was 13 years old. Needless to say, he rocks. 

I knew I signed up to learn a new skill but what I didn't realize at the time was that I am about to get a whole lot of life wisdom from the process.  

My coach once told me ”how you do anything is how you do everything” so learning to play the drums has been a great way for me to see how I show up in the world. 

In my last session I was horrified to hear myself say the two words I never allow my coaching clients to say: ”I can't!” When my teacher instructed me to try a new beat (which he just beautifully played), a somewhat complicated Latin groove, I went into auto pilot and without even hearing myself say it, the words flew out of my mouth. 

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The power of words

Last week a remark President Obama made changed history with a few simple words. ”Personally,” it was ”important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

To you and me this idea may seem obvious, but for the history of the civil rights movement and the gay rights movement this statement will change lives, including yours and mine.

If you look closely you will see that the most powerful word in this statement is ”THINK”. Because the leader of the free word ”thinks” same-sex marriage is ok, his thought became words and his words will become action. Obamas' words will influence people's thinking and create real social change. His words affirm an idea, create a new reality and bring forward a new future. 

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Subject : 50 ways to thank your clients

One of the foundational pillars of designing an abundant business is being in a state of gratitude for what you have: recognizing the good in your business and giving thanks to your clients.

Besides earning major karma points and getting a warm fuzzy feeling for doing something good, thanking your clients can also count as a marketing touch. When you say thanks you create an opportunity to have a heart connection with your clients and thus deepen the relationship.   

Recently, I've challanged some of my coaching clients to strive for a more intentional state of gratitude with their clients. We focused on being more active and paying more attention to the way they thank and appreciate their clients. 

Being in a state of gratitude is not easy for most business owners. When we're not actively recognizing the good we tend to see what's missing, what's wrong and what we don't have. We live in a culture that thrives on bad news and worry, so paying attention to what's working doesn't appear on our radar.

Just like any other marketing activity that must be practiced on a regular basis, giving thanks and being in gratitude is also a practice. Point your radar at all the good your clients have brought to your life and your business and make a deeper human connection by saying thanks. Do this on a regular basis and watch how your business gets into a beautiful flow of giving and receiving from your clients. 

You don't need a special occasion to say thank you.  Sometimes random moments are the best.  A heartfelt letter (or email)  telling your client how much you appreciate working with them, how they help your business grow and how much you enjoy the creative challenges you get from them will bring a smile to their faces and make them only want to give you more work. 

And if you're too shy to write that letter (but trust me, it works) here are 50 more ideas you can do to say thanks. 

Pick one. 


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A week with no clients and email

This coming December I am taking a three-month sabbatical. It's a big deal for me. I can't imagine what it would be like to have three months with no clients, no email, no professional commitments. 

I can't imagine and I don't want to imagine. I want to be prepared. So to get ready for the big ride I decided to put some training wheels on and take a one-week sabbatical per month. 

The idea is that for this one week each month I will not coach clients, not schedule professional commitments and most of all – not send or respond to email. I figure that by December I will have proper training and some insights about how to make the most of the coming three months off. 

Last week was my first practice sabbatical week. I set up an auto response to my email that read the following:

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