Hit your fucking deadlines

If I could give one bit of advice to anyone graduating college…looking for a first job…pivoting…trying their wings as a freelancer…any situation where someone wants the magic key to success in business…

I would tell them to hit their fucking deadlines.

You will never want for work if you deliver projects when you say you will. Even if you’re not the best, the smartest, the most creative. If you agree to a deadline and fucking hit it every time, people will be clamoring to work with you. You will get return clients and soon you’ll have the pick of the litter. You will be able to afford to turn away clients you don’t want.

Whenever I hear a parent gush about their smart college kid who’s bored and that’s why they’re failing, I just want to scream. Quit telling students that employers want the best and the brightest! I do not care how brilliant someone is. I’m not building rocketships, I’m in fucking publishing. Done is always better than perfect, which is how most businesses operate outside of NASA.

But everyone misses deadlines, stuff comes up…

The thing about sob stories is that your client doesn’t care about them. They give not one shit that your dog died or you were sick or your kid was sick or your day job got away from you. Shit happens to all of us. There will always be a dog dying or a kid getting sick or a 9-to-5 boss who wants more time than you meant to give him. The person whose deadline you agreed to? She doesn’t care. Because she’s got her own deadlines to hit, and now she has to not only juggle her own dead dog and her own sick kid, she’s got to figure out how your missed deadline isn’t going to make her miss hers.

And when she figures out how to work around you (and she will. She always does), the next thing she’s going to do is figure out how to never work with you again. Because now she knows you’re a potential roadblock. And people who hit deadlines know to steer clear of roadblocks.

How to be successful in business:
Hit your goddamn fucking deadlines.