When Working With Clients You Need To Put Yourself First

I've spoken with many entrepreneurs who have so much client work on their plate they are unable to do anything for their business. And while it can be argued that doing things for your clients IS doing something for your business, it's only a small piece of the pie.

In a recent post – Most Of Your Business Won't Make Money – we looked at how 80% of what your business does doesn't directly earn you money, it enables you to earn it. It's that 80% that I'm referring to when I say you need to put yourself first. Why? Because if you don't do that 80% you're going to run into a brick wall. Here's a story on that.

The first business I started was an IT company. I quit my first ever IT job, thinking that I could run a company better than my boss. I started with a few clients, got more, and things were going well. Or so I thought.

I was driving around DC, Maryland and Virginia for 12 hours a day, fixing computers and setting up new networks. I had clients of my own, and was doing sub-contract work too.

After a 12 (or more) hour day I'd then go home. I was tired, and not in the mood to work on marketing and sales materials, call new prospects, manage the finances, or frankly do anything else.

When 9-11 happened, my business tanked. I had no strategy, no money saved, and began to scramble. I ended up $30,000 in debt, and had to get a job in Florida.

Today, things are very different.

I plan my weeks 2-3 weeks in advance. I first schedule time for my family, meditation, and reading or another form of education. After that, I schedule time for sales, marketing, and operations activities. Finally, I block out time for client work.

I've hired a bookkeeper, as frankly, I dislike having to keep track of the financials. Give me a report and I'll take action. Otherwise, I can (and did) hire that out.

Today, I ensure that I am getting personal time, and the time I need to build Dempsey Marketing to what I want it to be.

Don't Forget To Put Yourself First

When I first got sober more than 14 years ago, I started feeling much better. Commonly, when people are first getting sober they want to run out and help everyone they can. This is dangerous though, because though these people (like me) are feeling better, doesn't mean they are in a position to help. Their lives need to be cleaned up. They must first help themselves.

I also learned that, when helping others, you cannot help them to the detriment of yourself.

Applied to entrepreneurs and your business, this means that you need to always ensure that you have what you need, so that you can help others. What do you need? You need the time to do that 80% that doesn't directly earn you money.


  1. Very wise advice. It’s very cool to see that you make sure that the engine that drives your business – you – is taken care of first thing in the morning and is loaded with high octane fuel. And then you make your marketing for your business the first thing you do in your work day. I can’t imagine what awesome results this will reap for you in the long run. The long run is what none of us like to look at which why we avoid doing stuff to nourish our bodies and peace of mind and fill our pipelines with new leads while business is aplenty. But if you don’t embrace the long run, you’ll be in feast and famine mode with your body (getting sick and feeling horrible) and scrounging for clients when current projects wrap up. Keep kicking butt with these rituals Robert. I look forward to hearing/seeing how high they’ve taken you in another year. 🙂

    • Lewis LaLanne aka Nerd #2 hi Lewis. Great to hear from you! It’s always a challenge to keep up the work we do (marketing, sales, etc.) when times are good. I would say, and it seems that you are in agreement, that we can never stop, because all good things come to an end. Well, they don’t have to, if we keep doing the work :)Thanks for reading and commenting Lewis!

  2. “Applied to entrepreneurs and your business, this means that you need to
    always ensure that you have what you need, so that you can help others.
    What do you need? You need the time to do that 80% that doesn’t directly
    earn you money.”Thanks for the reminder. We can NEVER help others if we are at sorts with Self.My Obesity was really beginning to hold me back. Have focused on change for past 4 months, fell out of the Obesity range (still Overweight for a short time) and now enjoy the energy to focus on MY business with more direction and finding more time to help others.

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