Towards the end of Dov's second Oasis Q&A phone call last week, he talked about procrastination and explained that it happens when the result is not as apparent or appreciated as the hard work needed to get to it. This really got me thinking and I realized that part of me did not really want new clients, because it would mean more out-of-the-blue-do this-NOW stress.
The unfortunate reality of my business (translation services) is that it is 1. Unpredictable – I have almost no way of anticipating when my clients will need translation 2. Urgent – everything needs to be finished by yesterday. When put together, the two create stress, and I don't work well with stress. So now it became clear why I am divided about gaining more business.
This gave me an idea for planning tools to be used with at least some of my clients (most notably non-profits), which would enable us to discuss their upcoming plans once every couple of months and plan ahead for at least some of the work they might need. I have noticed that the non-profit clients that are willing to pay extra are the ones suffering from poor management and doing everything at the last moment.
As an example, a couple of weeks ago, I almost fired a client who expects us to write (not just translate) their reports for them a day or two before submission deadlines. Now, I see this as an opportunity to offer them a service they need, while removing the unpredictability+urgency package I hate. From now on, I will also charge a surcharge for urgent projects.
I still need to think just how to package and market this planning tool, because it is not something done in the industry (a breakthrough perhaps?). Your input is most welcome.
Dov, thank you for dropping these gems all along.