I was sitting in a client’s office last week when I realized that all my projects with that client were wrapping up. It felt odd, almost – I’d been working with this client (one of my first) for over a year, and I’d accomplished almost everything the company needed me to do.
I started working with this client at a time of great change. They’d had a mass exodus of key employees, and I was brought in to temporarily fill some gaps. I had originally thought that I would just work them for a few months while the company stabilized, but fourteen months later, I was still with them.
This client was, when I first started working with them, the largest of all my clients. They also had the greatest – and most complex – needs. There have been difficult terminations, many a courageous dialogue, and a lot of listening without judging. I credit the work I’ve done with them for pushing me to grow and to face challenges head-on. Really, it’s been an incredible journey.
Three months ago, I hired a full-time, permanent employee to do a lot of the work I’d been doing. This week, I wrapped up my projects. I’m no longer in the day-to-day weeds of the business. Now, it’s time for me to reduce my hours and focus on strategy.
This is what all consultants hope for: that one day their work with their clients will be so successful that the clients won’t need them any more. And yet, this is sometimes a hard goal to accept. It means letting go. It means change. It means starting over again with a new client. Much like working on a painting or writing a book, it means stepping back, saying “this is good,” and knowing that you’ve done all the work you should do.
It means being proud of your work and moving on.