PHLEARN MagazineFinishing Well

Finishing Well

Finishing well when you are in your zone, when all the stars are aligned, and the heavens shine down upon you – that’s just plain easy. Finishing well when you feel “you-are-out-of-your-league” doubt, when the client is pressing for completion of a large, intensive project just prior to a long-scheduled family vacation, and you are exhausted from another marketing project that consumes 40+ hours of your work week – that’s a bit more challenging.

Every ounce of me was groaning and straining, ready to hit the send button that would let down my client with an ever-so-well-written apology email informing her that the project would just have to wait three weeks until I returned to my office.

Then it happened.

I could see her face in my mind, deflated and disappointed, upset that she would have to face a committee of her peers to let them know that the project that we had been grinding away on for three months would not be finished on schedule. That she would suffer because of my doubt, my lack of fortitude, and my unwillingness to sacrifice a precious commodity in my life called sleep.

I couldn’t do it.

You see, this client is a member of a chapter of IMPACT 100, a group of philanthropic women who give generously of their time and resources, pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars back into their community. And their membership drive was starting as soon as this project, this website, was scheduled for completion.

So I resolved to complete the project on time.

But I still had some major challenges facing me. The client was very, very specific that the design had to follow a layout she liked, with graphics and buttons being hard-coded into the framework. She wanted a membership directory that was secure and easily edited, with information preloaded from a spreadsheet. And she wanted a video presentation, which I had created, embedded into the site that, darn it, was just not cooperating and blew the entire layout out of proportion.

Now to some of you, this problem may sound like a piece of cake. To me, who is more design and copywriting oriented, this was a super big challenge. All I could see was massive roadblocks, especially since my patience was at an all-time low and my frustration level was at an all-time high.

So I fretted. And then fretted some more. And then I said a prayer. And fretted some more.

Then it hit me. There is this cool thing called Google. It can give you loads of information in mere seconds. And hey, it might even help you find a solution or two, or twelve.

Step one was to search for a solution to my hard-coding problem. Voila! There are coders out there who one can rent for small or large projects. And they are super helpful. Who knew? (I did, actually, but when you are travailing with completing a project and problems seem insurmountable, your brain can actually start to fritz out a bit.)

Step two was to search for a solution to the membership component of the website. Eureka! There are preprogrammed modules available that will actually give you the functionality you are seeking. (Again, something I already was aware of, but could not connect the dots because of the pressure and stress.)

Step three was to politely ask the rent-a-coder if he would tackle the video placement. Which he did. With great aplomb, I might add. This spared me hours of frustration.

What remained for me to do was to “hunker down” and put in the grunt work of completing the design elements, formatting the information, and making it look pretty while keeping in step with branding.

While I am presenting this to you in a very condensed timeline, all of these solutions actually took days to complete. But complete it I did. And to a great sigh of relief. All that fretting seemed, in retrospect, a huge waste of time. But there is something to be learned in wasting time fretting.

Firstly, when you feel completely inundated and overwhelmed, life will do its utmost to discourage you by allowing every challenge possible to converge upon you, all at once. Time constraints. Lack of resources. Lack of skills. All very discouraging. Don’t give in. Don’t do it. It is precisely at that point when you need to focus on the end goal and push yourself forward. Stay resilient and resolute.

Secondly, someone, somewhere, has most likely encountered your problem already, has done the grunt work of finding a solution, and can offer you some advice. Do your research. Use Google, phone friends or even strangers who have the skillset you need (be humble), go to Barnes & Noble or the library and quickly read up on the subject. We are in the information age – use it to your advantage! Resources are available – find them.

Thirdly, not finishing well, on time and on budget, means someone will pay the price. Count the cost wisely before you decide to throw in the towel, creating delays or, God forbid, shoddy and not-up-to-standard work. Your reputation may suffer. Your relationship with the client may suffer. Your self-esteem may suffer. It is often better for you to pay the price than to let it fall on your client. Sacrifice when it is necessary.

Did I finish before my vacation? Yes, I did.

Was the project a great success? Yes, it was.

Did it cost me? It certainly did. But knowing that my client was super pleased with the outcome, and that she looked good in front of her peers, and they were able to launch their mission on time, made all the struggle worth it.

Finish well.

You can learn more about Sven’s work at ZappyTech.com.

Sven Markert

Sven is a sales and marketing executive who loves helping people who help other people. He has spent years of evangelizing through copywriting, design, and digital marketing, promoting worthy causes and upstanding organizations. Currently, he manages ZappyTech.com, a small marketing agency, focused on web design, copy and print.

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