Show up to the game.
What I mean by that is, give 100 percent every time. Make it part of your professional reputation. If you find that you bit off more than you can chew, remember. That’s NOT your client’s fault or problem, so time to start chewing!
A huge part of developing and maintaining business relationships is in trust and accountability. If you promise the world then you need to deliver it, no questions asked. If you oversell and find yourself in a jam then you need to be accountable for that plain and simple. A never give up attitude and a certain “can do” mentality will serve you well and will follow you to each new project as your reputation. Maintaining this attitude even with low paying or free projects is super important. No client should be worth anything less than your absolute best.
Think about it from your client’s perspective. There is nothing worse than being told “I have this” then later being told “sorry… I just didn’t have the time after all”.
That’s NOT the reputation you want and it’s not the service your clients are looking for, though it’s certainly what they will remember you for and will tell their peers about. It’s very damaging to miss those deadlines, or details. You’ve heard the phrase “You are only as good as your last job.”
So, show up to the game each and every time with the attitude that you will live up to your word, and you will live up to your reputation as someone who gets it done. When your back is against the wall (and this will happen from time to time) don’t take the easy way out and give up. Quitting is not an option for you! Work harder, stay up later, do what it takes, and then… act like you had total control and don’t let on that it took everything you had to deliver. Your clients don’t need to know you struggled and they don’t need to feel guilty that you had to miss the party with your friends, or you didn’t get any sleep. Again, NOT their problem.
All you need to deliver them is the best service they can get, just as you promised. That’s what builds great reputations, fosters relationships that last, and develops into successful careers.