Why can’t your clients come in at a nice steady linear pace? Because clients aren’t like that. They don’t confer with each other, saying polite things like, “After you,” or “I’m happy to wait.” Instead they care absolutely nothing about your other clients (why should they?) and they say things like, “I’m almost ready to begin – maybe in the next two weeks” usually followed two or three months later by, “I’m ready! Can you have it done by next week?”
My tip for the first challenge – not enough business – is to not give up. Keep marketing your services and know that marketing isn’t linear either – in fact it’s downright spooky. You will be marketing to a group of people you think would be good prospects, and nothing will happen. But what will happen is that a person from a totally unrelated group, who you have never contacted and did not know existed – will suddenly appear and hire you. This does not mean you can forego the marketing efforts, because if you do, no one will appear from anywhere. All of us are part of an invisible web, you see, and when you tweak the web by marketing to one group, the web vibrates elsewhere, awakening others. At least that’s my theory. But it really doesn’t matter how it works – just do it.
For the second challenge – too much business – my tip is to develop a Referral List of others in your industry (yes, your competitors) who you know do excellent work and conduct themselves with integrity, and to whom you can refer your “overflow.” Overflow is such a beautiful word. In this way you will have served your clients, making them happy and appreciative that you went an extra mile to get them what they need. They will say nice things about you, and probably refer you to others. This is called Good Will and it is invaluable. This also gains you good will from the competitors you’ve referred – and if they’re as good as you think they are, they too will have overflow at times, and probably refer back to you – perhaps at the same time the bag lady comes to visit you again.
I have two such Referral lists – one for editors, and another for ghostwriters. Developing the Ghostwriter Referral list is quite challenging, because I simply refuse to refer other writers whose work I don’t know, admire, and trust. Ghostwriting excellence takes many more skills than just being a good writer, which is why I now offer a program called Learn to Ghost. People who complete this program satisfactorily immediately go right on my Ghostwriter Referral list.
And now I don’t lose as much sleep.