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The Benefits of a Client Face-to-Face Strategy Session

I have run my business for nine years and just before the Christmas break I had a fantastic opportunity to have a client face-to-face strategy session. Shannon is one of a few long-term clients that I support in her digital marketing and web maintenance. We worked in person for some serious business building and strategizing, and I am here to tell you, if you have the opportunity, do it!

Shannon is in NYC and I’m in Maryland so we met halfway, in Philadelphia. Our intention was to stay at an Airbnb we had set up but that didn’t happen. We ended up at the Sonesta Hotel in downtown Philly. Beautiful space and functional for what we had planned. I tell you that so you know that we were flexible, and that was a big part of the weekend.

Going into this, we knew we wanted to work on both of our businesses. Our respective areas of expertise complement each other really well. I am a structure builder and digital strategist, and she is a kick-ass content strategy coach. We’ve worked together for three years now. We each had a list of things we needed to get done so we jumped right into our Friday work session alternating between the two of us. We worked. We had dinner. We worked some more.

Saturday was pretty similar except we decided to play for the first part of the day, have lunch, and then work until dinner. We set out to see what we could get into on Saturday morning. We didn’t have a plan. We walked down to Dilworth Park and watched the ice skaters, found the Liberty Bell and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I was introduced to “real” Ramen for lunch at Nom Nom Ramen. The Ramen was great but the vegan “pork” buns were out of this world fabulous. I need to find some of those in Maryland.

Instead of working in the room on Saturday we went down to the restaurant in the hotel. The large tables in the center were perfect for plugging in and spreading out. We spent hours there working through our lists, alternating between her list and mine. By creating that focused time to work, we got a ton accomplished.

One of the main things on Shannon’s list was her re-brand. We’ve been talking about it virtually but to sit together and go over all of the pieces, to show her how I work and the tools I use, to really hear what she was thinking and how she envisioned this re-brand was priceless.

One of the main things I hoped to gain from the weekend was to have a solid content strategy in place. I have ideas written down on sticky notes, in Notepad, in Google Drive, all over the place. And to be honest, there are so many ideas that writing my blog posts was starting to feel a bit overwhelming. I walked away with so much more than I had hoped for. I finally got super-clear on my writing process.

So, if it is ever an option to have a face-to-face big ideas session with a client, DO IT! It is fun and rewarding all the way around.

 

 

A first for me and the benefits of a client-virtual assistant strategy session
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Lessons Learned + Making the Most Of It

I was reading this awesome post today and was so struck by it that I had to write my own.

As I say goodbye to 2013, I knew I needed to share my thoughts and the lessons learned. This year hasn’t been the easiest but I have learned more about my business in the past 12 months than I ever thought possible.

For a good part of the last 4 or 5 years, I worked with a client who had huge demands on my time, and I gave him that time. What happened at the end of 2012 took me by surprise and required most of 2013 to recover from. He went bankrupt. No signs. No warning. My business and my income took a massive hit. Lessons learned = NEVER give any one client so much of myself and my time that I don’t have the energy to do anything else.

The ironic part is I knew deep inside that this client was toxic and that I didn’t really love the work I was doing with him but I continued down that road anyway. Lessons learned = ALWAYS trust my intuition and act on it.

Initially I panicked. I had bills to pay but giving up was not, and never will be, an option. You see, I love what I do and the reasons that I do it. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. My only choice was to work my ass off and build it back up. And building it is what I’m doing.

This past year I started working with clients who are amazing at what they do. I started doing only the work that I love to do. I started selecting who I follow and learn from. I STARTED MAKING CHOICES.

Yes, I am super excited about 2014 and the possibilities I see. And yes, I’m a little bit scared because I have every intention of pushing myself so far outside my comfort zone that major successes are inevitable. As with everything else in my life, I can look back with sadness for the trials and struggles or I can look forward with great joy for all I’ve learned and the accomplishments and strength I’ve gained.

I choose forward!