I wasn’t a big fan of the show Game of Thrones on HBO, but I have heard the phrase “winter is coming” and I always relate it back to that show. Without having watched much of it I don’t know how it relates to the various seasons or characters, but at this point it resonates with me. I couldn’t help but utter this very phrase under my breath this morning as I woke up to a new day, “winter is coming.”
Not only is winter actually coming based on the time of year it is, there is also a metaphorical winter that feels like it is coming in my life.
Winter is my least favorite season. I have self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD.) There’s no true diagnosis for this type of depression nor is there any definitive cause, but many experts say the culprit is shorter days and colder nights. This type of disorder happens to me throughout the winter months, but it can be so severe for me that it will sometimes happen if we get a stretch of gray days in a row, even in the summer. It doesn’t place me into a deep, dark depression, but it does make me lethargic and sad.
The positive news in this is that I can snap out of it just as easily as I get into it. Give me a day of sunshine and even a hint of warmth and I am right back to my old self. It is quite remarkable really. My wife even got me one of those lamps that is supposed to mimic sunlight and help snap you out of SAD even on a gray and dreary day. I haven’t used it consistently enough to determine whether it really works or not, but it does work for many who suffer from this very real disorder.
With winter coming now, I can feel SAD creeping in earlier than ever before. There are a number of different things that are happening in my life that are making me dread winter coming, but one in particular is about my business. Yesterday I received news that due to legislation that is being passed at the federal level funding for the work that I do for one of my clients was being cut. It was a tough call to get.
One of the things that has been great about running my own business for 10 years is that it allows me to work in multiple spaces and earn multiple streams of income. This makes it so that when I lose a client, it’s not quite the severe financial hit that often comes when you lose your sole source of income. Losing a client is a tough pill to swallow, but it happens. Luckily in the time I have run this business I have not lost very many clients. Over the past 10 years I have lost the following clients;
- Real estate firm (after 5 years of business) – left due to change in direction for the company
- Real estate start-up – failed to get next round of funding
- Health care firm (after 4 years of business) – the business was so successful that it was bought by a competitor
- Health care firm (after 7 years of business) – federal government funding cut
In ten years of being in business I have only lost 4 clients and only one of them was due to the client making a change in their marketing efforts. I am proud of that.
It doesn’t matter what the reason is that you lose a client it still comes as a gut punch. The client I lost yesterday is a friend who I love working with and unfortunately his business is going through a transition right now with the funding that he is receiving from the government. It was a hard conversation to have, but I am so grateful that he called me and we had a face to face over zoom, because an email just wouldn’t have cut it.
What I have found about running my own business is that there is an ebb and flow to how you get business. There are certain times of the year that are better for prospecting new clients and on-boarding them and then there are times where things slow down and it can feel like you’ll never get another client again. It is akin to a roller coaster.
As a general rule I have been very lucky in running a successful business that retains clients for a long time and rarely loses a client due to a change in their marketing strategy or because they don’t think I am doing a good job for them. I work hard and have great relationships with my clients, but sometimes circumstances are what they are and changes have to be made. It’s the name of the game.
Since it doesn’t happen too often and it happened yesterday, My Comeback Story is off to a bit of a rocky start. Winter may be coming, but I am prepared this time to hold on for dear life and work through the challenges that are put in front of me. I am ready to overcome this adversity and clear a path forward to the sunshine of spring that will be here before you know it.