The Cost of Service Work that People Are Afraid to Talk About

Service Work

I did something last Friday that I should probably be doing more often.

I got out of the office and spent the day with a friend planning (why does this always feel like a luxury as opposed to the necessity it really is?).

Well… I should say the intention was to spend the day planning. We did a lot of planning but spent much of the time getting clear on our businesses, which was done through simply talking and sharing.

Something that has hit me like a ton of bricks over the last month or so is that we achieve more through small, consistent action than the BIG things. As an example… take the space of Internet Marketing (blogging, product launches, etc). The ‘launch’ of a course, product or service has become a pretty big thing. You can buy courses and books about launches, mind map and plan out your funnel. But what happens when you launch and you don’t get the results you wanted? Worse yet… you get crickets. Nothing. Nada.

It’s pretty deflating and can leave you feeling like you should abandon what you created (sometimes that’s the right choice, but often times it simply means you adjust & course correct).

What if you took that ‘thing’ (whatever it is you’re selling), and instead put it up for sale and consistently shared it, marketed it and got validation and feedback?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do a launch…

I’m saying if you took consistent steps daily to sell your thing you’d probably end up surprised at the end of the year how much you sold/accomplished/achieved.

Which brings me back to my day of planning.

We both have invested in planners, calendar programs, productivity courses… you name it (she jokingly referred to herself as a “planner whore” when she sent me a picture of all the planners, i.e, systems, she’s purchased). We decided we’d try a test of journaling or using one of them for 90 days. We’re using Sept. 1st as our start date and stepping into it the few days prior.

When we sat down to get started she was sharing with me one of the ‘systems’ she invested in (paid for training, went to a workshop and had the planner printed & spiral bound.. it came as a PDF).

My reaction to this system?

HELL no.

Using that persons system looked like a part-time job to me.

When I looked at it I knew I’d be spending half my time making sure I was following the steps and filling everything out, because let’s face it… if you don’t fill it all out there’s going to be some subconscious crap going on that makes you feel worse because you’re not following a system… again.

I told her right off the bat that there was no way I was interested in trying this system out.

I wanted LESS in my life… not MORE.

I’m all about planning, accountability and having some direction.

But I’ve also learned that what works for me is what I call “gentle structure”.

I need some space in my week that doesn’t belong to anyone or anything else.

I will, without a doubt, buck the system as soon as someone tells me I have to do something. I get more accomplished when I trust myself and allow things to unfold at a pace and process that works for ME. I’ve “been there and done that” with all that shit. That’s not how I operate. AND… the truth is that more shows up in my life when I do things my way.


It FEELS better.

Which brings me to “The Hidden Cost of Service Work People Never Talk About”

We’re both looking at winding down service work in our businesses.

She has 4 clients whose websites are completely done (done on her end) and she’s been paid in full.

The problem?

The clients haven’t provided content and the necessary deliverables (I know that every single person who has ever built a website for someone knows exactly what I’m referring to and is probably nodding in acknowledgement and frustration).

This is the Hidden Cost of Service Work People Never Talk About.

These projects that never end and consume energy and space in your brain.

And let me clarify, it doesn’t have to just be a never-ending project.

Service work consumes a corner of your brain that simply hovers around like a pesky fly buzzing by your ear and now and then. As soon as you reach out to swat it away it’s gone… and the energy around it dissolves.

I am by NO means saying that all clients and projects are like this, but as human nature would have it, we tend not to focus on the ‘good ones’ out there (fortunately for me I only have ‘good ones’ I’m working with at this point).

You know what I’m talking about though, right?

There’s an energy cost to service work that can either suck the life out of you or slowly pick away at your enthusiasm until you realize you hate what you do.

That’s when you know that it’s TIME.

Time to let it go.

Move on.

Cut the chord.

My favorite email marketing master Ben Settle, calls this ‘work debt’.

When you’ve been paid for something but the work goes on well after the last payment has come in. All of the sudden you feel like you’re working for free… even though the terms of the contract were met and you were paid in full.

And guess what?

It’s YOUR BUSINESS. How you feel matters.

[clickToTweet tweet=”‘It’s YOUR Business. How you feel matters.’ @kimdoyal” quote=”‘It’s YOUR Business. How you feel matters.’ ” theme=”style6″]

Yet somehow because it’s a ‘business’ we decide we have to follow someone else’s rules (at least for a while anyways).

Danielle LaPorte has nailed this with her work. Her book, Desire Map, gets you to dive deep into your core desired feelings.

Decide how you want to feel and work from there (I’m totally simplifying this, but let me tell you… her suggestions and exercises for figuring out your core desired feelings don’t make you feel like you just walked into an 80’s movie about money and business).

YOU get to choose.

I’m all about hard work and doing whatever it takes… but if you’re going to work hard shouldn’t it be for you?

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  1. This reminds me of volunteering at an event. Even when my shift is done, I still feel like I have to help out in some way when something arises and I’m the one that sees it and knows how to take care of it. And I wonder why I’m one of the ones that tends to take initiative like this even though most people can see that there’s a problem and it could be an easy fix if they just took a moment to help out. Why is it that some people have a tendency to help out when they see it’s needed and some just don’t?

    1. Hi Anna,
      That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? I don’t think it’s a black & white answer. We all bring our own ‘stuff’ to each situation and then there are life circumstances that come into play as well. Sometimes the obvious just isn’t obvious.
      At the end of the day as long as we show up fully & in integrity with who we are that’s all that matters. 🙂

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