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Why We’re Our Own Client

Alex Tutungi - November 20, 2019

“When you say ‘yes’ to others make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.”

– Paulo Coelho

When someone on the Thirsty Team signs into our project management tools, they’ll see a rundown of all our projects and clients. If they scroll down enough, listed purposely under clients will be “Thirsty Agency.”

As an agency, there’s an important mental distinction that comes with knowing you’re answering to a client. For our business, it might be working hard to launch a new feature that will benefit users, or trying to hit an important sales goal or KPI. In each scenario, when we set out to accomplish something like that, there’s no room for anything less than our best.

We spend hours pouring into the study, research, brainstorming and conceptualizing that will support excellent work. We don’t leave anything on the table–we can’t. The work we do here sets a precedent for the next big project.

Investing this much effort into any client or project, while essential for growing a business, comes at a cost though.  When you give everything you have to others, the first thing to drop is yourself. The blog. Website updates. Social media. Community initiatives. What’s the old adage about giving relationship advice you don’t take?

And we understand how this may seem par for the course. Like any other business, we too want to focus on the things that grow our business. It is natural to focus on the biggest clients, innovating for other businesses instead of our own, and to let the other things carry on in “maintenance mode.” Our thought has always been, however, that those “other things” actually do help grow our business. And just because we are committed to providing the best work to our clients, doesn’t mean sacrificing or setting aside the things that help us grow from within.

Associating the work we do for ourselves as “less than” the work we do elsewhere is a small mental association that prevents us from making sure our own businesses, in every way, reflect who we say we are to our others.

Let’s use social media for example:

It’s very easy for us to sit down with a client and tell them that they need to be focusing more time, effort and money into developing and executing a quality social media strategy. We know the value social provides because we’ve worked in that space for years. To the client though, more than ever they’re asking, why? 

“Where is the monetary return? Our posts aren’t seeing the same engagement as in the past. The algorithm keeps us from getting in front of our usual audience. The space is saturated.” 

The real test occurs when it comes time to defend our strategy. Does our own company’s social media reflect the thought process? Are we practicing what we preach or does it become the ammunition to fuel their concerns? 

Our expertise can’t just live in words. It can’t just live from campaign to campaign, project to project or quarter to quarter. It has to be lived out internally, every day.

So when those storms hit, and our to-do lists start creating their own to-do lists, sometimes all it takes is a simple reminder that we still matter. When each of us sees Thirsty listed under clients, we know it’s because we believe what we do for ourselves, has just as much value as what we do for others. And who doesn’t like doing something 100% for themselves every now and then? 

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