Bill H wrote:
Your post is applicable across all non-commodity domains. In management consulting I face yet an additional issue because most clients don't know what the real problem is. I am thus compelled to give away identification of the real problem, justify why that is the problem, and outline how to solve it. I will never provide more value than when I tell the client, "Your real problem is ....." My first job when I returned to UW after recuperating from some health issues was with an Australian company seeking a high-powered management consultant for three months work. During our exploration of a fit I identified the real issue and told him how to fix it himself. He paid me for the hour on the phone, although he could have skipped that.
One of my longest-term clients owns a publicity firm catering to a niche in the music industry. I, too, have a degree in vocal music, and my first jobs were as an opera singer and a session musician. I couldn't possibly do what she does. One of her clients, a household name in his genre, used her as his manager for a period between managers. It was a stretch, but she did it. Probably because she was being groomed to take over a music label when the industry model fell apart, so she knew all the pieces. She did her MBA and the university hired her as adjunct faculty to teach the Survey of the Music Industry course. Keep on keeping on.
I think your response here is a perfect example of "You win some, you lose some." To me, that's the by-product of being ethical. Sometimes, ethics will pay off in dividends while other times, it'll feel like you're getting the short end of the stick. In both cases, however, you put the integrity of the client above trying to make a quick buck. In the first example, you could've easily kept your mouth shut and sold them on how much they needed you, securing a 3-month gig. And, they did at the time; they had no idea what to do, obviously. However, rather than just follow the direction of the client (who didn't know any better), you took an ethical approach. In the second example, ethics don't seem to come to play because - from what you shared - it sounds like she definitely needs you. As it turned out, that's your longest-running client, too.
BTW, my music theory + vocal instructor (classical training) is an opera performer.