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When One Door Closes: The Important Lesson I Learned From Losing a Client

What’s that old saying?

“Sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

I’ve always believed this sentiment to be true — every time something “bad” happens in my business or my life, something rewarding usually results from the negative experience. It may not be immediate (and I definitely do my fair share of sulking), but generally, I find that after time to reflect, the opportunity that stems from failure or loss or sadness becomes abundantly clear. 

This lesson was taught to me once again last week.

Losing a client is an unfortunate reality of running a business, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world! Here's what losing a client taught me + how the experience actually reinvigorated my business.

Crashing and burning

A month or so ago, I landed an absolute dream client. Or so I thought, at the time.  

This client would be one of my biggest yet, and would help fulfill my goal of bringing on another major content management client in 2018, doing the work I love the most.

There were a couple of red flags (OK, maybe more than a couple) during the proposal process and test project that I blissfully ignored, but hey, then I got the good news! I landed the client. A cause for celebration!

I buckled down for a busy few months of onboarding. Any time JL&Co brings on a new client, there’s a natural learning curve, and we tend to spend a lot of time upfront getting up-to-speed and developing new processes and work flows.

But that never happened.

Instead, after just two weeks working together, this new client and I decided to part ways.

Yes friends, losing a client is an unfortunate reality of running a business.

(By the way, it’s always smart to start off a new client relationship with a trial period — this particular business and I had thankfully agreed to re-evaluate after two weeks to ensure we were a good fit. This made it extremely easy for both parties to walk away.)

A renewed sense of freedom and possibility

I’ll spare the details on why this particular business relationship didn’t pan out, but I will say that I felt an incredible sense of relief once the decision was made. 

Not surprisingly though, I was also a little upset and embarassed. After all, I’d just spent two months trying to win this piece of business. I felt like I wasted my time — and I won’t lie, I felt like a failure. 

But the day after it all went down, I woke up with a new attitude.

I got out of bed, and for the first time in a few weeks, I didn’t feel anxious about starting my work day.

With this work and intense onboarding process off of my plate, I felt a renewed sense of freedom — the same excitement and possibility that drives me on a daily basis to run JL&Co.

And with that, I knew that this client had been all wrong for JL&Co. So then I started feeling grateful. 

A new approach to work 

With this new outlook, I remembered a recent conversation I had with my friend (and one of my business besties) Crystal Richard.

A month or so back, Crystal made the decision to not sign any new clients for her very successful consulting business until September in order to spend the summer focused on her shop and her blog. (You can read her very eloquent explanation of how she came to this decision on her Instagram.)

I remember thinking how awesome it was that Crystal was giving herself the gift of an entire summer to take a step back and focus on growing other parts of her business that she’s extremely passionate about.

I was also a tad bit jealous, knowing that the timing of bringing on this new client coincided with a time of year that’s naturally a bit slower for business owners. 

But now, like Crystal, I also have the opportunity to consciously slow down, and use this “bonus” time fruitfully to pursue passion projects that will help propel my business and brand forward. 

The summer of passion projects

While I’m not closed off to the idea of bringing on a new client (and I’m certainly continuing my existing client work this summer), I am excited about the chance to focus on some projects I’ve pushed to the back-burner due to being busy. 

Here are some of the ways I’ll be spending my time this summer.

1. The much-anticipated (and highly-dreaded on my part) website redesign

I’ve already waxed poetic about why I’ve pushed this major project aside, but hey, no excuses now, right?

The good news is, I’m already making progress. I narrowed down my long list of potential designers to just three, and I’ve begun outreach to get more information on pricing and timelines. 

Hopefully by the end of the summer, I’ll have made decent headway on this project, and anticipate being able to launch the site sometime this fall, and definitely before the end of 2018.

2. Preparing to teach at Temple University again in the fall

I shared a few months back that I’m thrilled to return to Temple as an adjunct instructor this fall. 

This time around I have more time to prepare for the semester — if you recall, last time I taught, I snagged the gig just THREE days before the semester began, leading to a lot of stress and anxiety, especially for a first-time teacher.

So! My plan for the summer is to tackle a chapter a week — read the chapter, prepare a PowerPoint and develop homework assignments.

By the end of August, I should be ready to go — and hopefully feeling a lot less anxious than I did the first time around.

3. Developing a personal branding workshop

In a few weeks, I’m teaching a workshop at Dana Hot Yoga called “Namast’ay On Their Radar: Build Your Brand as a Yoga Teacher.”

It’s a workshop I’m super pumped about, considering it combines two of my biggest passions — personal branding and yoga. 

I’ve also received other inquiries for personal branding type workshops, so I’m looking forward to using this experience teaching a yoga-focused workshop to develop something that can be used for a broader, more general audience.

Looking on the bright side

Yeah, losing a client sucks.

It definitely wasn’t part of my plan.

But as with this whole crazy, ever-changing entrepreneurial journey, I’m readjusting my sails — and I’m looking on the bright side.

JL&Co is doing just fine, I’m doing just fine, and I’m really excited for what’s to come. 

Because truly, when one door closes, another opens — and I can’t wait to see what’s behind that door.

Can you relate? I’d love to hear about a time something bad happened to you, but you found the bright side or made something out of your challenge. Tell me your story in the comments below.

Photo via Pexels

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Meet Jessica

I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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