#107: Firing Clients and Taking Control of Your Schedule, with Sarah Greesonbach

Today’s guest is Sarah Greesonbach from Richmond, Virginia. Sarah is a B2B content marketing writer and has been freelancing since 2013. She operates the B2B Content Studio, a freelance consultancy that helps agencies and Fortune 500 technology companies in the HR, retail/e-com and higher education space develop B2B content marketing assets such as white papers, thought leadership articles, case studies and more.

Sarah is also the founder of B2B Writing Institute, which is developing a workforce of highly trained and certified B2B writers to meet the B2B marketing content needs of the future.

Sarah talks about two kinds of doubt: creative doubt and doubt as a freelance business owner. She worked to overcome the doubt for years, but then she realized that being a freelancer means you are going to experience doubt from time to time as clients and projects and income fluctuate.

Sarah talks about how we sometimes say “yes” to work even though we should have stopped because our calendar in that month was full.

“When I look at my calendar and see that it’s not physically possible to do what I’ve said I’ll do, that just creates this stress and anxiety that doesn’t go away very easily.”

Doubt can pop up during those times when you’re too busy, which also can make you start to feel burnt out. Sarah asks herself a couple of questions in those moments to help get her back on track:

How is my cash flow? Fear often pops up as a cash-flow problem, so Sarah tries to keep at least 1–3 months of income in the bank, which causes less stress and for her to say “no” more often.

Sometimes she’ll start to look at employee job postings and daydream about being an employee again. That’s when she asks herself: What am I really missing right now? She considers what she likes in a healthy work life. For her, it’s often purpose, security and community. So, she asks what she’s missing and how can she fix it.

Sarah talks about how to fire clients, including clients where she liked the people but was bored with the work. She listens to her gut when she doesn’t want to do a project anymore. She tells those clients that she is shifting her business.

In one case, she wrote a long letter explaining the situation but then she did not send the letter. You don’t have to share all the details and make it dramatic. It’s just business.

In freelancers who are struggling, she sometimes sees that they have a scarcity mindset—thinking there’s not enough work. But, she sees an overwhelming need for freelance writers in her work.

Sarah has set some parameters around her schedule recently that have transformed her business. Because her work requires a lot of phone interviews, her day was getting taken up by all these 30-minute calls with only short breaks in between—not enough time to do focused work. She began to reserve only a couple of days a week for phone calls—right now she is not doing phone calls on Mondays or Fridays. 

Getting control of social media “check ins” was also important. Now, she doesn’t get on Slack or social media until 2 p.m. on work days. She thought she had been keeping in touch and staying “on top of things,” but she hasn’t missed out on anything by waiting until after 2 p.m.

Biz Bite: Comment Back (you never know who will respond!)

Resources:

Sarah’s B2B Writing Institute

Sarah’s podcast: B2B Craftworks

Sarah on LinkedIn

Sarah on Twitter

Freedom app (to block certain websites and social media)

Boomerang app in Gmail (to schedule when emails are delivered to her)

Book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown

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