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Clients killing you? How to shatter negativity in 5 seconds flat

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Let’s be honest, running a successful design business can be stressful. Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE my job. I love my business. And I know there’s a good chance you also love what you do.

But sometimes that really challenging client with their 66th logo revision and unrealistic turnaround times does start to get under your goat and your ‘happy tank’ starts to get a little low on juice.

There’s one thing you could do which helps me through tough days… My favourite song.

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Go and pump the tunes of Pharrell Williams’ song ‘Happy’ and do some crazy dancing. That’s a total mood changer right there but you may feel a bit uncomfortable with the funny looks you get dancing around the office. If on the other hand you want to rock it, you can find his song here rolling for 24 hours, I just love it!: http://24hoursofhappy.com/ )

Luckily that’s not what this blog is about.

Okay, now that I’m listening to my favourite song, my foot’s tapping and my hips swingin’, I’ll get to my point.

I want to share with you an idea one of my staff came up with a few years ago… he was on the front line of our Technical Support line fielding calls all day long from clients with all different types of requests. 99% of cases were pleasant but he did used to get the odd sod who used to get irate and test his patience.

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Instead of letting the minority of clients get him down and that affecting his attitude towards all our other clients he started a ‘happy folder’.

How to fill your happy tank almost instantly.

Now before you worry…. I haven’t gone soft! I’m not talking about a special folder on your desktop full of pictures of kittens, puppies and other such wonders that tend to clog our Facebook walls these days (though if that’s what you’re into, knock yourself out!)

The original happy folder created by Dan in our tech support department consisted of a folder in his inbox titled ‘Happy Folder’ which he archived all his praise emails from clients who loved what he did.

Every time he got down or upset, he went to that folder and read all the awesome comments he’d been showered with from happy clients. It’s an instant mood shifter I guarantee you!

His happy folder idea has evolved over the years into something I’m really proud of today.

  • We have a happy wall in the office in which we stick up all the thank you letters we receive in the mail. We also print out awesome client emails and testimonials and stick those up too.
  • We’ve setup a company email account happy(at)web123.com.au which everyone on our team sends their happy feedback to, even if it’s just a one-liner from a client saying how stoked they are with a design for example.

  • And I now have also have a happy folder on Evernote which I snapshot social media shoutouts or praise for what we do.

Because everyone’s involved it reminds my professional family that we excel at what we do and going the extra mile all the time really is worth it.

Here’s one that I got a few months back after I sent out a weekly tips email telling all my clients about Canva:

“I just used that and created my own Facebook banner….. THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!

I LOVE receiving your emails- they are freakin’ awesome!!!  


I just love reading this, it always brings a smile to my face.

It helps us when we’re down and reminds us of the best times when things get a little hard. Because although at the time those challenging moments feel like mountains, you know that more often than not it’s nothing more than a small bump in the road, and that it WILL be better once you get over it.

In addition to this, it also proved to be a useful marketing tool for when we need a testimonials or stories to help show how good we are to prospects!

So it’s an instant mood shifter AND a really handy marketing tool! 😉

What do you do to inspire yourself or your team? Come on let’s share some ideas! I want to hear them! Leave me a comment and I’ll be sure to answer you.

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About Bianca Board

Co-founder of Web123, Australia’s small business web specialists, creator of ‘The Ultimate Web Business Bundle’, and CEO founder of Foxley, a new designer-only SaaS platform that puts all her web, UX, strategy, design, marketing and business experience in the one place, Bianca is passionate about reinventing web design for small business. If you’re wondering how to start a damn good website business, or you’re ready to give the middle finger to mediocre web design — register for Foxley’s Mountains of Clients here.
Foxley-Website-Software-Logo More about Bianca’s Business: Bianca is co-founder of Foxley, the world’s first universal system for building an awesomely profitable web business. Deliver high value sites for clients that capture the leads, make the sales and bring in the dollars – a lot of dollars. Get the 411 on Foxley here.

Leave a Comment



  1. HA.. no way.. a Happy folder … ? a client to nail another client -.- … I prefer the dance hahaha… seriously, a good comment from one of my clients will only make me hate the other client in question much more 😛 … how I fill my tank?… my son, I let him drag me out from the office and since he is still a toddler I ride him full speed on his tricycle both wearing firefighter helmets and screaming and making siren noises hahahaha… that’ll do the work.. happy for a week 😀

    blessed is my child hahaha, will ask my wife for another -.- … for harder days, let’s see what she says hahahaha (joke)

    • Whatever works Barney, go for it I say! I don’t have any kids yet but I’m sure if my cats could drag me from my office and dance around the house with me I’d prefer that too! Good for you mate, cheers! 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing this. And it was just perfect timing. I was just wondering if going the extra mile all the time was really worth it. I’m back on track now, thanks!

    (music on the bakcground while writing this: happy)

    • Oh, I hear you Irma about going the extra mile! Sometimes it is soooo hard to keep pressing on and you do start to doubt yourself but just remember it’ll all be worth it. Those that play above the line and go that extra little bit when you really don’t feel like it, really do win in the end.

      *High fives* for keeping a positive attitude and re-focusing! Happy certainly helps! 😀

  3. Love, love, love this article! I am making my HAPPY FOLDER right now, as I listen to HAPPY 24 MORE TIMES 🙂 kuddos

    • Good for you! I’m so glad you’re pumped, that Happy Song definitely does help, it’s my favourite of all time! Let me know how your folder goes for you! 😉

  4. Love this so much. Am going to start my own:)


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