How to be WWW (Wonder Woman at Work)
I vowed to have a new blog post every Monday.
The past three weeks though were chaotic. And all for the good reasons. That my blogging is not on schedule.
Yours truly is working with three clients at the moment for four projects (I have two projects with one client).
The following are my current roles:
- I am media consultant for a universal bank’s corporate responsibility initiatives in the country
- I am also consulting editor for a multinational professional services firm’s foreign-funded project in the Philippines
- I am project / manager and executive editor for a book project of one of the country’s fast rising entrepreneurs
- I am communications consultant for personal branding and social media management of that same entrepreneur
I am very thankful for the trust of these clients. My years of work as a business editor was the main reason why I have these opportunities now (for one, I applied for the consulting editor position and my editorial experience proved valuable for the role).
Networking also proves valuable. (I got the book project and the communications job through my former columnist, who happens to be a friend of this entrepreneur. And I would not know about it if I did not show up in this columnist’s event where my Italian friend’s company is one of the major sponsors. And the Italian invited me to be there. I e-introduced the columnist and the Italian early this year.)
My social media presence also helped me to stay in touch with my connections even if I have been out of the media job for four months now. I got the bank project because one of its officials reached out to me via LinkedIn, and asked me if I would be interested (and approvals needed to be secured for this to happen).
Thus as their consultant, I see to it to be on top of their needs. They have different needs that require my expertise. A balancing act on my part indeed.
Consultant vs Freelancer
First, the definitions.
When I was younger and starting to make a name as a business journalist / editor, I was freelancing (of course, with knowledge of my bosses then from my full-time jobs), mainly working on a story or press release basis, until the next similar assignment comes along. These are mostly non-competing with my companies or not similar with what I was doing as a full-time writer / editor.
But over the years, I have accumulated experience across media (from print to online); branding, corporate communications, marketing, sales support (through IBM); social media management (through Rappler.com and entrepreneur.com.ph). I, with help of course, learned what works and what not. I have learned to identify what a client needs versus his / her wants in line with his / her communication requirements.
And such, in a nutshell, makes me now qualified as a consultant because the clients look for detailed guidance on a particular area, which I may have the expertise they need. The projects are more extensive and there could be “mini-projects” within these projects. And a consultancy could be long-term or an ongoing commitment, again, depending on the client’s need. In some cases, a consultancy could lead to a more permanent employment.
Now, how do I attend to all the requirements of my clients? These three are my basics:
They know that I am looking for something temporary where I can contribute my expertise, as I am still looking forward to return to a more regular corporate, executive-level job. They know as well that they are not my only client. As a personal rule and out of decency of course, I do not take in a client that has a similar or competing interest with my current clients.
At the onset of a new week, I start a weekly email thread with each of my clients (except for one which has no need for this). I detail in the thread what are the pending tasks on my end from the previous week; follow up on tasks or deliverables from their end.
I also inform them as well what is my schedule for the week (there are clients who are quick to set a meeting with me, and the likes). Thus, the remaining client/s, unfortunately or not for them, have to do with whatever schedule I am free.
If they need to get in touch with me urgently, I also advise them of my soonest available time to take their call (as on most days, I am in meetings and traveling from one client office to another).
There were occasions as well that a client would cancel at a short notice and would want to meet ASAP (they probably forgot that I already informed them of my schedule for the week). So I have to gently remind them that this is my week’s schedule so far, and if they are OK, meet instead on a weekend (but as much as possible, we confine the work on weekdays).
Eat the ugliest frog
There are clients who have very urgent and important tasks, meaning, a matter of life and death for them. So I will review it ASAP (I have become a pro in using my iPhone 6S for emails and documents), and work on it as soon as I can.
I attend to such tasks from each clients depending on which is needed soonest or which is the most difficult thing to do — a time management hack of eating the ugliest frog first (in real life, I do not like frogs though).
Overall, there are days that are relatively normal. There are days that are crazy. But work is work and I have been known to be a professional and a task master so I deliver quality outputs by always going an extra mile.
Thank heavens not only for these opportunities, but also for heaven-sent people (family, friends) who understand the demands of my job (way back when I was an editor).
I am blessed as well that I have a very patient date, who in the past days was cool to wait for me until I am done; who understands that for my caliber, work is work; and truly understands my work and my lifestyle because he has busier work and lifestyle than I am. That when we are done with our work for the day, we treasure and spend our time together really well.
So, if I can do all these, so can you. We can all be wonder women and men if we know what matters to us, to the people we work with, and to those who are for us and with us no matter what.
Email ma.lynda.corpuz[a]gmail.com for feedback.
Written by Lynda C. Corpuz
November 29, 2016 at 6:00 pm