As blog writers and online marketers, we face a variety of difficult professional issues. Organizing workflow, setting up future business leads, and honing skills are the usual concerns, but sometimes all of those are shelved when we aren’t 100% on board with what the client wants to do.
We walk a fine line of maintaining our expertise, and wanting to be cooperative with the client’s wishes. It can be a very subtle feeling, but generally when a client asks you to do something you don’t feel good about, it falls into one of these categories:
- They aren’t willing to invest the time and money necessary to make a strategy succeed.
- They are committed to a strategy you don’t think will accomplish the goal.
- Ethically, you don’t feel good about their goals.
These are very distinct issues, but they touch on the same conundrum: When do you go with the flow and hope for the best, and when do you stand your ground?
In the case of the first point of conflict, it can be useful to point out similar campaigns by other companies that were successful, and examine the investment that was necessary to make it work. If you can’t achieve a greater buy-in from your client, it’s time to do your best, and hope that if it doesn’t accomplish all the goals you hoped, that they will remember your earlier cautions and devote more resources next time.
If your client chooses a course of action that you just don’t think will work for what they want to do, it can be a hard decision to go along with it. Each day, you feel a stronger uneasiness as you plod along on a course you don’t believe will work. If you’ve tried to educate your client about why you don’t feel their plan is ideal, perhaps you can try to take a detached view and think of the process as an educational experience. Take notes along the way about where the plan falls short, what you would have done differently, and maybe you can write a white paper about the endeavor later.
The last situation can be the most uncomfortable. If your client is trying to use your services in order to pull off a less-than-scrupulous business goal, or even just something that goes against your personal beliefs, it can be almost impossible to smile and nod, let alone perform at your highest level. Depending on your financial and professional situation, this is the time when you might need to cut and run. However, if you need to maintain a civil business relationship, this can require a little finesse. But then, you’ve over-committed with other work. You don’t feel you can give them the attention they deserve. You’re not the best fit for the job. It can’t be helped. (wink, wink)
Only you can decide if you’re able to work through the conflict when a client’s work is at odds with your ideas and personality. Have you ever been in this position, and what did you end up doing?