Earlier this year, I’d proclaimed that nothing is truly urgent. While I still think that’s true, I also do some work for customers who need things immediately. You know, the client who will text you late into the evening needing something the next morning? That kind.
Why? Mostly because I like them. There is hardly ever any other reason. Before deciding to accept or decline the work, here’s the checklist I follow:
(1) Are they new? How much ever I like a customer, I try not to do ‘urgent’ work for new clients. Because the first project sets the standard. If they’ve come to think that I’ll take on urgent work — because I accepted it the first time they asked — then it’ll be near impossible to change that belief.
(2) Are they generally inefficient? Many clients aren’t. Most of my clients typically understand things take time and plan accordingly. On occasion, things get out of hand. And I’m happy to help in such cases. If needing everything urgently is a trend, though, I try not to encourage it at all.
(3) Is it urgent just for me? You know the kind of client who’ll take 3 months to give feedback on something they pushed you to do in one day? Nope. No immediate work for them, however much I like them.
(4) Do they pay on time? This is very important to me. A customer truly shows appreciation only when they pay in full and on time. If a customer who couldn’t care to clear my invoice calls for urgent work, I’m not persuaded easily.
(5) Are they giving? Do they refer me wholeheartedly? Are they generous with testimonials? There will be a handful of clients who will be worth more than the money they pay — which they surely need to, I’m not talking about free work here — and for them I do urgent delivery gladly.
These are my questions. You can have your own, depending on your work, life, priorities etc. My only recommendation is that you make a list of these questions and keep aside. When you have an enquiry for something urgent, you can look at this checklist, give the enquiry a score and quickly decide one way or another.
No regrets when you’ve a process.