I have some clients, but they’re not worth the effort, and I want to grow



The Context

Here’s the problem with angling for small fish. They’re too hard to catch because they don’t appear on the image sensor. They’re rarely worth the trouble to clean and cook. They’re excessively boney and therefore frustrating to eat. And the only way to truly satisfy your hunger is to scarf down a few dozen of them. That’s not smart fishing, that’s a complete lack of understanding of labor intensity and the economy of effort. Two principles we can’t afford to ignore.

The Tool

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UPSTREAMING — Filtering projects based on labor intensity and the economy of effort

Still chasing the small fish? Still trapped in the middle market? Still bending over dollars to pick up dimes? Still wasting your passion on people who don’t appreciate or deserve it? Still placating your low pay but high pain clients because you’re accustomed to hiding from your power? You’re better than that. It’s time to start playing a bigger game. Because the less they pay, the more they pain. Go upstream and find the whales.

A graphic designer colleague of mine recently shifted her entire client based from nonprofits to medium sized businesses. After five years, she just couldn’t take it anymore. Clients always begged for discounts, never paid their bills on time and most of them had a severe addiction to scope creep. Eventually, she made the decision to throw the sardines back to the reef and swim out to the deep waters with the sharks. And now she has more business than she knows what to do with. With clients who are a seamless joy to work with.

The Rest

Brody said it best. You’re gonna need a bigger boat. What upstream catches might you be throwing you back because you’re too fishing too small?

The Benefits

Expand your creative confidence and elevate your brand
Play a bigger game upmarket with higher paying customers
Invest your passion with people who appreciate and deserve your work
Reduce frustration and effort by doing work worthy of your time and talent

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