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The Gifts My Small Business Clients Give to Me

This time of year, I’m typically writing articles about the importance and value of sending clients gifts. While I completely advocate doing so (and am pretty proud that I ordered my client gifts in November!), this post is about something more intangible.

I’ve been in business nearly 12 years. While I’ve worked with my share of divas and slave drivers, I have to say, I’m pretty proud to have a roster of clients who genuinely are a joy to work with.

Not every entrepreneur is so lucky.

small business gifts

I’m reflecting on the many gifts I’ve gotten from them. Not cookies and flowers, though I occasionally am delighted to receive those, but more lessons and experiences that help me be better as a business owner.

Gift 1: Pride in my Work

Look, I know that I’m a decent writer. I could be humble about it, but it’s my best selling point. Still, when a client gushes about my work or tells others how much they like the quality that I deliver, it gives me confidence.

I remember starting Egg as a 26-year-old and questioning everything. Would the client hate what I turned in? (Sometimes, yes.) Would he require a ton of edits? (Occasionally.) Would he fire me? (It’s happened.)

But with time has come experience, and sometimes I stop and see myself from the outside. I write for Forbes. I’ve worked with top-tier companies like AT&T and Cision. That sounds pretty great.

I still sometimes feel like that girl who, at a blogging conference, couldn’t believe, when someone said in her direction, “Oh, I love your blog!” that they were talking to her.

I couldn’t believe an actual human read it, so figured he was talking to someone else.

Still, when my clients are happy, it gives me great pride in what I do.

Gift 2: Deep Knowledge on Interesting Topics

I’m fortunate to work with some pretty innovative companies, like Vibes, who’s dominating the mobile marketing world. Or Cision, who constantly finds ways to help sales and marketing professionals be smarter at what they do. And in working with these companies, I have to dive deep into topics I may previously have known little about.

So now I’m totally sold on mobile wallets, from both the consumer and the brand standpoint. I see earned media as a formiddable player in the PR space. All this I owe to clients who trust me to learn their industry and write about it.

Gift 3: Improved Writing Skills

No matter how long I (or any writer) have been writing, there is always room for improvement. And occasionally I meet a client who has a great head for grammar and flow, but maybe doesn’t have time to write for themselves. I still remember a client who pointed out that sometimes I used the same word more than once in a paragraph. Now I see that with my writers from time to time, and I point out the value in finding a synonym.

The more different writing styles I read, the better I hone my craft.

Gift 4: Enthusiasm for Their Wins

The thing you learn once you start working with Egg Marketing is that your successes are ours. So when my client branding expert Michael Green tells me about an event he’s been hired to help with, I’m stoked. When small business consultant Melinda Emerson shares that her new book is coming out soon, I’m ready to spread the word. When lead generation guru Brenda Stoltz started contributing to Forbes, I was in the front row, cheering.

Years ago, I worked as the marketing associate for a company that made laser etching machines. Hardly exciting stuff. My day was filled with spec sheets and industrial terminology. But now I love that my clients do interesting things, and that I can feel in some part that I can share their success.

Gift 5: Creativity

Working with clients who are aligned with my philosophy of creating thought leadership through really great content means we can collaborate in interesting ways. A client might assign me an article to write, but maybe I recently read something that spurred a different idea. When I suggest it, my clients almost always go with my idea. So I get to be creative and find fun ways to shine the spotlight on them every day.

This holiday season, I’m thankful for all these gifts that I get from working with amazing clients.

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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