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Picturing the Perfect Client

Published 6/17/2016

In today's episode we're talking about picturing the perfect client. The challenge to you is to think about your goals and your dream clients.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and in today's episode we're talking about picturing the perfect client. Today's episode is brought to you by the spec network of podcasts. If you go to spec.fm you can find other incredible shows that are tailored just for developers and designers. Our goal is to help you level up in your career as a developer or designer. Go and check out those other shows. Developer Tea is one of many fantastic shows on the spec network. Go and check those out as well. Spec.fm. Of course you're going to be going there anyway to find the show notes for this show as well as every other episode of Developer Tea. So there's a ton of great content on spec and most importantly there are other shows on spec that you need to be checking out on top of Developer Tea. So go check it out spec.fm. Now before we jump into today's episode I want to encourage you to stop what you're doing and go and subscribe to Developer Tea. You can do it while you're listening to the episode of course. And the reason for that is because it's going to become a part of your routine if you do it that way. If you try to remember to download every episode which there's three of these per week. So there's quite a bit of content coming from Developer Tea. If you forget then you're going to get pretty far behind right. And of course that's perfectly fine. We don't go in a particular sequential order. But if you don't want to get behind if you want to make sure you're getting the most out of the content the best way to do that is to subscribe. So the easiest way to do that is just open whatever app you're using. Click the subscribe button. Of course that subscription is going to be free pretty much everywhere. I don't know of a single podcast app that requires you to pay anything to subscribe to a show. So it's totally free to you. And I highly recommend you do that if you don't want to mess out on future episodes. So let's jump into today's content picturing the perfect client. You know, when you're planning your goals, which by the way, if you aren't planning your goals, you should probably start today. But when you when you decide to plan your goals, it's incredibly important to think about that in game about the outcome. What does that look like? Another very popular podcast. His name is Chris Hogan. He calls this concept dreaming in HD. And this is describing your goals in a painstaking amount of detail. Chris's show is about retirement. And regardless of where you are in your in your career, planning your goals into the future is incredibly important because if you don't have a plan for what you want to achieve, then you probably don't have a trajectory. In other words, you probably don't have a pathway that you're following. And here's the problem. If you don't have a plan for what you're doing, if you don't have a trajectory planned out, then you don't really have a guide for how to make decisions on a day to day basis. We've talked about using your values, developing your personal values and your professional values to use as a guide, but you should also have a direction, which essentially means that you use your direction and your values, right? You use the direction as the long term path that you want to follow and your values as how you are going to follow that path. You've probably heard the saying the ends justify the means, but in fact, the ends are your goals and the means are your values. If you view it through that perspective, then you can start to understand how these two things fit together. The means will lead you to the ends. So you have to have both pieces of that puzzle. Now today we aren't talking about all of your goals. We're actually just talking about the perfect client, but the reason that I want you to think about the perfect client is because that should be kind of a long-term goal for you. You should be defining what types of clients do you really want to be working with? Now you may be thinking that that's pretty obvious, that obviously I've thought about what kind of clients I want to work with and I'm actually already working with them, but a lot of people who are listening to this show, you just had a light bulb go over your head because you've never actually thought about what kind of clients you want to work with. You're just thinking about the clients that you're able to achieve. You're thinking about the ones that are knocking on your door rather than the ones that you want to be knocking on your door. So today I'm going to be sharing some of the things that I believe make for a great client. You may have different priorities than I do. Some of these things may be different from what you would write down, but the important thing is that you identify the types of clients you want to work for and why those characteristics matter to you. These three attributes, I'm going to give you three attributes here, they define to me a great client. My guess is, by the way, that these might be similar for you as well. You may actually get a little bit of inspiration about what you actually want for a client by listening to these three attributes. But when you stop listening to this episode, I want you, whenever you have five minutes, ten minutes in your day to day, write down a couple of attributes that define the type of work or the type of clients that you want to be working with in, let's say, five years or maybe right now. This is going to help clarify your goals and it might help you make decisions about who to go and work for. That is certainly a part of the process. Defining the characteristics of the client. The characteristics of the people you want to work with. Let's jump in. Number one, number one is they care more about the mission than they care about the method. They care more about the mission than they care about the method. The reason for this is because my job is to provide the method. That is my job as a developer. My job as a developer is to create the method by which your mission is accomplished. Now, if I have a client that comes in with both a mission and a method, then my job becomes somewhat unnecessary. Then I become basically replaceable. If my job instead is to say, I know the best method to arrive at your mission, then I can do what I do best and the product owner, the client, can do what they do best. Often a client is so set on a particular way of doing things or maybe a particular technology. They have been told by someone or maybe they did their own personal research and they have some kind of intellectual investment in the way the actual development is going to occur. The problem with that is that I am unable. I'm restricted then as a developer to doing things the way that the client would prefer and they haven't spent as much time doing my job as I have. This creates some personal tension between me and a client. If the client is essentially trying to tell me what I need to do to accomplish my job. This is a huge value for me when I can do my job best is when the client cares about the mission more than they care about the method because it allows me to think about perfecting the method to accomplish the mission. That's number one. Number two, the client perceives me as an expert, not as expendable. The client perceives me as an expert, not as expendable. How many times have you been in the situation where really similar to number one, the client was basically feeding you the tasks that you needed to accomplish. Certainly, sometimes this is a good way of making money to make ends meet but ultimately you're going to be more fulfilled in your job or at least I will be more fulfilled in my job. If the client is leaning on me to make key decisions to build key platform functionality, those are the kinds of things that I want to be doing in my career. If the client sees me as a vendor rather than a consultant, if they see me as replaceable like a service technician or somebody who does the same thing over and over for every other client, rather than as an expert that is focusing specifically on that client's needs, then I end up having conflict with that client as well. I'm unable to do my job in as good of a way as I could be doing it for someone who does see me as an expert, someone who does rely on me to make those key decisions. Now, I don't want you to be confused with my intention here. I do not want to be considered an expert in all arenas. For example, I am horrible at accounting. I wouldn't want a company to bring me in and then ask me questions about accounting because that's not my area of expertise. If a company brings me in for my area of expertise, but then treats that expertise as if it is a service that is easily replaceable, then I would rather work for a different company that values my services a little bit more. So number two, once again, the client perceives me as an expert, not as expendable. And finally, number three, the client prefers communication over coercion. The client prefers communication over coercion. All this means is that the client would prefer to work out problems with me by sitting down and talking through that problem, collaborating about the key elements of that problem and displaying a sense of trust and appreciation. That's the kind of client I want to work for. I would rather not work for a client that tries to coerce me into doing the things that they want me to do without communicating about those key problems. So the picture looks entirely different between a client who is willing to sit down and collaborate with me versus a client that simply says, just get it done. Communication often solves problems through empowerment while coercion ends up crippling the developer. So if a client can't learn to communicate, if instead they are emotionally out of control and if they try to coerce through anger or through threats, if they try to throw the contract in my face all the time, that's an extremely stressful situation. But on top of the fact that it's stressful, it also limits me as a developer. I can't do my job as well as I can do it. So you'll notice something that's running through all three of my priorities. And that is that I want to be able to do my job as best as I can do it. I don't like working with clients that limit my ability to do my job. One of my goals as a developer is to become truly world class at what I do. And I want to work with clients that empower that path, right, that they want to benefit from the fact that I am a world class developer rather than trying to control the situation and in turn limiting what I would otherwise be able to do. Now, I want to make something crystal clear just in case I feel like I may have said a few things during this episode that could be misconstrued. I do not want to be considered the end all be all when it comes to making decisions about the business, right? That is not my goal. I don't believe that I am able to make some of the decisions that my clients are much more suited to make. They know more about their business. They know more about their audience, but the areas that I am hired to accomplish, I want to be able to accomplish those to the best of my ability. And that is what these three priorities are about. So now it's your turn. I want you to sit down with a piece of paper or, you know, your text editor, whatever it is and decide a couple of the attributes of the clients that you want to work with. Maybe there is a specific client that you've always dreamed of working with in the future. Sit down and write those down. The only way you're going to be able to reach your goals is if you have goals in the first place to reach. So sit down, think about the types of clients that you want to be working with in the future. Thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea. I hope you've enjoyed this episode and I hope it inspires you to think more about your goals and specifically to start thinking about the type of people you work with. Thank you so much for listening. You can follow me on Twitter at at Developer Tea. Of course, you can send your questions to Developer Tea at gmail.com. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time, enjoy your tea.