How I manage time-sucking clients

Clock image by @sonjalangford
Time goes by…so slowly photo by @sonjalangford

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog and Instagram for these first initial weeks back after Christmas. I’ve been really busy with work and clients. Actually, scratch that, I’ve been really busy with clients which has meant I have been busy with work.

My clients are lovely but a lot of them do not understand the principles of publicity. This is absolutely fine as it is a random industry where you cannot ever guarantee media coverage and therefore a solid return on investment. I pride myself on working really hard for my clients (I sweat blood) and getting them a satisfactory service where their product is featured.

But this does take time – lots of chasing and looking for niche angles. I do spend a lot of time reading books, magazines, blogs and on social media scouting for new places that would suit my clients products. I really love it and I am very lucky that I get to call it a job.

Recently though, I’ve been finding my 9 to 3 getting a little stretched and I’ve been running out of time on some projects. Looking back over my diary (which I keep for work schedules) I can see that my days have been filled with talking to my clients every day. Each call can last an hour. So I have not been factoring in these calls when I agree to work on certain projects. These calls have been eating into my work time – i.e. getting the job done that they are paying me for. Argh!!!

Here’s what I did:

  1. I told them. I said that the calls were taking me away too much from the work. The calls were over-riding the projects.
  2. I set up an agenda for the daily calls which was agreed in email the night before. Unless urgent, we stuck to those agenda points.
  3. The calls could only last 30 minutes at the very most. 15 minutes were preferable.
  4. I sent a catch up email each evening so they could see my progress during the day. This was 3-4 lines long.
  5. We agreed a time to speak every day – normally from 9.30am as this gave me time to assess any incoming overnight emails.

And that’s it! Nothing fancy but it has made such a difference! I’m focused, my client is reassured that I’m working and they can see my progress. Have you had this issue? I’d love to hear your tips because I’m embarrassed to say that it took me at least 10 days to figure out why I was running behind and getting stressed!