I have a confession to make.
I hate new clients. Or at least have hated them at some point.
My clients are remarkable, intelligent and kind people to man (& woman) but I do have a problem with almost all of them. For the first 3-6 months of working with almost any new client I live life in terror. It doesn’t matter how nice they are.
Why? Well, because they are new! And I have to learn new ways of working and get to grips with their business, their systems, new software potentially and all their preferences on how they like to work. And with a few exceptions, I find that ludicrously stressful.
During the early months of every new working relationship, I go through the following stages:
Confirmed new client. Delight and excitement. OMG I have a new client! This is amazing. I love them. I can’t wait to start. Happy dances daily.
Kick off day. I am wetting my knickers with excitement and a little trepidation. Full of ideas on how I can be a totally amazing addition to this business and how this is going to be the best working partnership since Stan met Laurel and first got his foot stuck in a bucket (only obviously, a lot more productive).
After kick off
What the flying feck have I done?
I can’t remember all that!
I don’t think I wrote everything down.
I forgot to ask X and Y and will have to ask and then they will think I’m a complete numbnut.
And then basically repeat for months:
- Have I done that right?
- Oh shit, I don’t have the log in for that / don't know how they want that done. I’ll need to ask, they’ll think I’m incompetent
- Fret, worry, panic to the point where I will actually make a silly mistake
- Apologise. A lot. Blow it all out of proportion and assume that if they don’t fire me I definitely can’t cope with working with them and need to let them go for their own sake to someone who does know what they are doing. Or throw myself on a pyre by way of retribution, you know, a small act of contrition
- All settles down until the next moment of doubt
- Repeat as required
Depending on how complex the work is, this cycle can go on for months. It is exhausting. It is like being a temp every day being a VA. And yet you need to act confident and competent. which is not always as easy as you might think!
Just me or does anyone else get the new client horrors?