No matter what kind of business you run, if you have multiple offers, you have an active marketing calendar. And that can make it feel like no matter how well you plan a launch, you never really get a break from promotional crunch time. Even with a great team, solid routines, and knowing what’s coming down the pipe, getting your work out into the world can mean you’re locked into late nights and working last minute.
Didn’t you want to work for yourself, so you had more freedom, not less?
Make it Sunday dinner, not Super Bowl Sunday
Over time, most of us develop some simple routines for promoting our businesses that are pretty strong. (Yes, even if our inner Type A personality is sure we could be doing more.) These are what I’d call Sunday dinner style marketing routines because they’re the ones you’ve managed to commit to and stick with over time.
- Batch your time and schedule Instagram to create a feed your audience loves.
- Diligently and regularly write to your newsletter subscribers.
- Create branded images for each and every blog posts.
- Reply to all comments on your favorite social media site.
- Make time to measure what is and isn’t working for you.
Sunday dinner style marketing is different for every business, but everyone has it. The key to its success is that you’ve found a way to make it a regular, reliable part of your business.
Then you have live event style marketing: product and course launches, webinars, live streaming and “cart closing in X days!”
These often feel more like planning Super Bowl Sunday instead of Sunday dinner. You set huge goals. Try a million new things. Invest what always feels like too much money (and then afterward, not enough) and end up in stressful conversations with ourselves that feel like the small business equivalent of:
“QUICK! WHERE CAN I GET INSURANCE FOR 1200 DRONES IN THE NEXT 3 HOURS?!? NO, I DO NOT WANT TO SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER! DON’T YOU DARE PUT ME ON HOLD!”
Having a live launch, or you have an upcoming real-time sales deadline for your business can be very tense and high-stakes.
There’s money involved, a very clear pass / fail metric that we set up for ourselves, and often we haven’t made a plan that makes success inevitable for us.
Is it any wonder that so many of us hate this kind of marketing?
The alternative? Ramp down Super Bowl Sunday marketing and make it into Sunday dinner, through self-knowledge.
How to plan a launch on your strengths and personality:
- Consider what already works for you, and what already doesn’t. Self-knowledge is free and worth its weight in gold. Get honest with yourself, and list out your strengths and opportunities (places where things aren’t working) when it comes to sharing your work and attracting customers.
– What kind of work is the most time-consuming for you?
– Which parts require your unique insight?
– What doesn’t?
– What would take the most work off your plate if you outsourced it?
Then do something about it. You get no points for knowing, only for acting on that knowledge. Delegate. Ask for freelancer recommendations. Even better? Design your plans, so you don’t have to use your least valuable skills. Just because Michael Jordan can mow his lawn, that doesn’t mean he should.
- Don’t wait until a huge business goal is on the line before you start sharing your work. Build routines you can stick with now. If you want to do more blog or podcast interviews for your launch, start building relationships and pitching now. If you want to have more subscribers for your launch, start learning how to write guest posts and create lead magnets now. This gives you time to learn how your chosen tactic works, get your feet underneath you and give yourself time to adjust and fine tune before you add huge stakes to the mix. When it really counts, you can now draw on your experience, strengths, and self-knowledge to knock it out of the park.
- Build a bare minimum marketing plan and a full throttle marketing plan. When my clients sit down to write a plan for how they’ll market their business on a month to month basis, most of them come back with big, elaborate plans. Plans that would be hard to execute if they had nothing else on the schedule for three weeks. They have great ideas, but they’re often not based on their actual available time and resources. So write that plan! Get all your ideas out, and call it your full throttle plan. Then write a version you or your team can absolutely move forward on if you only had 5 hours a week. Start working that bare minimum marketing plan first, and add in elements of your full throttle plan once you have the minimum handled.
- Edit, edit, edit. Take everything off your list that’s there because you see other people doing it, or feel like you probably should be doing but aren’t familiar. Leave at most one of these items on if you can’t help yourself. Then add in anything you can do that leverages your business’ promotion personality instead. (You’ll actually do these things!)
- Make a repeatable plan, not a one-time blowout. Instead of marketing for upcoming events one by one, make one plan for the style and size of marketing campaign you’re working on. (Is it a small, evergreen sales funnel? A big, live launch for a course that’s available for a limited time?) First create a checklist or plan for how you market that kind of thing in your business, then make it specific to your offer. Now you never have to start from scratch on this kind of project again, just use your checklist. Bonus points if you reflect afterward on making sure your plans are sustainable and don’t leave you feeling bottomed out.
It’s tempting to look for listical posts packed with tactics that promise to vault you ahead of the competition. (Surprise! They often just land you in tech support hell or sounding like an infomercial.) It is much easier to win with a strategy based on knowing who you are, who your customers are and what lights you up!
Wondering how to plan a launch – or a year of launches – with low stress, Sunday dinner style marketing that wins great results? Click to learn more about our Simple Sales Workshop that will get you there in three days.
Marketing and attracting attention to your work can be draining – even more so if you launch your offers throughout the year. Marketing your business can turn your plans upside down, fill your calendar with overdue to do’s and turn the best delegators into bottlenecks. The pressure and chaos of selling or launching live can suck the fun out of having your own business. (Unless you use your promotion personality to plan for it.)
A system that leverages your personal strengths is nothing short of a superpower.
And when marketing or selling your work feels unmanageable, it just means that somewhere in your process, you can make success easier. (And probably lower your stress while you’re at it.)
First, let’s understand the vicious cycle of launch shame
When I first started working with clients on their launch plans, I saw that many marketing plans:
- Crammed in two weeks of increased online activity.
- Required posting at triple their normal rate, mainly with posts reminding people to buy.
- Hinged on live events that business owners saw others using, but hadn’t tried themselves yet. (Like webinars, interviews or live streaming.)
- Used a mix of new tactics that industry leaders were selling courses on in the previous months.
At that moment, working this kind of a promotion plan feels safe, but in reality, it sucks to live through it.
Now, I want to be clear: none of these things are wrong. But they are worth a second look because when we plan most of us choose to be busy rather than effective. While this plan is heavy on busy, if you aren’t starting with a large, engaged list it’s not particularly useful.
In practice, here’s how this kind of promotional plan plays out:
First, you plan to post, share and show up online a lot in a short period. You get through it by sheer force of will, tell yourself “I DID IT!” and then don’t measure your work (aside from hitting refresh on your email for sales notifications) because the anxiety monster has taken over. You feel like a failure if your launch doesn’t go as planned but there’s no time to adjust. You start supporting your customers but feel lousy. In your down time, you consider how you can re-package or stop selling this offer instead of looking at how you marketed it. In time, you may flat out decide that selling or marketing your work isn’t for you.
Here’s why this kind of a launch plan has such a tendency to backfire:
- This plan is made up of the most visible aspects of how other people launch, not on a deep knowledge of what will work for you and your business.
- Two weeks isn’t enough time for your message enough to gain traction. The pros seed their big new ideas into content and ad campaigns over months, so their audience doesn’t feel overloaded. They plan promotions and joint ventures months in advance. They end up with many small ways to test people’s reactions to their work before anything ever goes on sale.
- Reminding people you have something to purchase doesn’t drive engagement. A high posting frequency won’t change that. (Content that engages with your audience throughout the launch will.)
- Using new tactics during a launch can be time-consuming and frustrating. It leaves less time for you to focus on your message because you’re worried about the tech. If you’re not focused on your message, your audience won’t be either. Instead, ease into using these tactics in the months before your launch. Try live streaming or a webinar that gives 100% value to your audience with no strings attached. They won’t mind, I promise.
- It’s not collaborative. Most of us prefer to stay in the realm of what we know, so we focus on our blog, send newsletters and post on social media. These behaviors mean we’re only sharing our content with warm traffic, or people who know us already. Our businesses all need us to have other mechanisms in place – ideally collaborations – to draw in new audience members who are ready to buy.
These are just a start, but they’re part of why this kind of a small and safe launch can work against your goals. Together, the results of these strategies can deliver a critical hit to our egos. They discourage smart people from putting themselves out there, which prevents their people from finding their work. Talk about lose-lose.
The remedy? Simple, reliable systems that make it easier for your business to succeed.
Raise the bar. Also, measure it.
Before you cram your calendar full, set up ways to measure what works for your business. They can be as simple as asking “Where do our customers come from?” and using bit.ly links so you can quickly tell how many people get to your sales page from Instagram vs. Facebook vs. your email list.
These simple measures can give you the answer to the question: what is it that my business absolutely can’t launch without? Make sure your calendar has lots of that, and make the rest of your marketing sprinkles on top.
Then, take a look at your everyday work. What keeps piling up? What are you always behind on? Outsource it already! Where can you identify similar work in your launch plans? Outsource it too!
Assess what works, and look for roadblocks before you get too committed to your plans. There’s often an easier, just as effective way hiding out a few questions away.
Use your promotion personality to your advantage.
Hidden within your everyday life are natural ways you move through the world. These are strengths. They probably don’t feel like strengths to you; they’re just how you operate. Your business has these too. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur or your business runs with a ten person team. Leveraging these strengths can make it much easier for you to succeed. The trick is you need to make time to reflect on them.
Before you make your plans, reflect on your promotion personality and stack the deck in favor of your success:
- How do you and your team love to communicate?
- Which ways of communication drain you and your team, or tastemakers for last?
- What kind of community is engaged around your business? A small group of engaged taste makers? A broad community? How does your community naturally interact with each other and with your business?
- What are the most energizing ways for you or your team engage with your audience?
- What collaboration opportunities are you most excited about, right this moment?
- Of your existing habits and routines, which are most powerful at keeping you and your team moving forward?
- Be really honest with yourself – What should you probably stop doing?
These questions can start to build a profile of your business’ promotion personality. In other words, the strategies and simple changes that make success easier or harder to accomplish.
Then look at your plans through this lens. What choices can you make to work with these tendencies, so it’s easier for you to succeed?
Wish you could market your business in a low stress, high success way all year round? The Simple Sales System Workshop is exactly that. Click to explore it here.
If you’re a freelancer or business owner, having a path to follow as you learn new skills can be a huge help. You already have enough decisions to make! When it comes to an area as complicated as sales having a proven formula to follow is tempting.
And yet, like we discussed last week:
Your business has a different audience, different message, and different personality. How you share your work with the world needs to be different fit.
In other words, cookie-cutter isn’t going to cut it.
Deep down we know that there is no magic formula that guarantees results. And yet, we keep looking for them! But there are good reasons to call off the search for the magic bullet.
Allow me to introduce my doppelgänger
A simple sales system that reliably shares what’s unique about your business can make your work fascinating. Airlifting in someone else’s sales formula speak for you creates a big problem in the long term.
Using someone else’s formula means your business now has a “normal” voice and a “sales” voice. Your business will also have “normal” engagement and behavior and “sales” engagement and behavior. While you may make some sales, selling can’t feel natural if it means you start to act like someone else.
For your customers, it’s about as normal as if every full moon you spoke twice as loud, in the third person and refused to acknowledge your new quirk (if anyone had the courage to ask).
No, you’re not pulling it off.
Yes, it will freak people out.
No, that doesn’t put them in a buying mood.
Shortcuts don’t replace understanding
When you buy a “proven sales formula” you don’t know what is behind the specific choices that were made. That means you may end up with one funnel that works… but without the key insights that would help you build another. You can’t take what works and incorporate it into your business as a whole.
There’s a real cost to buying a shortcut that speeds you past understanding. That cost is lost sales in other sales funnels, since you can’t duplicate your results without duplicating the formula. (Which your customers might notice!) You also pay in lost profitability by getting locked into a pattern of buying more formulas instead of building on your insight.
Never mind the emotional cost of worrying that savvy friends and customers will spot your formula marketing. (Spoiler alert: We see you using that swipe copy, girl.)
There’s a better way: a simple sales system that multiplies your message through your unique strengths and reliably attracts ideal customers and steady sales.
Even better, it’s based on straightforward choices that you already know the answers to. That means it can start to serve you as soon as you start building it. Here are two examples of ways a cookie cutter solution can’t beat a simple, custom sales system.
Ready to get specific?
Take a moment to think about two or three of your best customers. The people who valued your work and who just got it.
Hold those best customers in your mind, and ask yourself:
- How much did they already know about the problem they wanted help solving?
- What had they tried before? Anything they hadn’t heard of? Did they ask for any clarification?
- What words or phrases did they use to talk about their problems?
Simple questions like this are a fast track to speaking your customer’s language. If you know how much your customers know about the nuance of their problem and of a possible solution, you can speak to customers at exactly that level. And language is a simple way to find out.
If you’re a web designer, pay attention to if your customer contacts you asking about blogs, website or their online presence.
Are you a photographer? Then listen to see if customers ask about portraits or booking a session.
If you’re a jewelry designer, notice if people ask about necklaces or statement pieces.
Those small differences reflect what your best customers look for when they want to buy. Tune into subtle ways your best customers are different from the rest, and then mirror that back at them to attract more of them.
A simple sales system that you build for your brand can easily take these details into account, in a way that cookie cutter formulas just can’t. They create endless micro-opportunities for your work to resonate and excite your best customers, and to build trust with future customers who aren’t ready to buy.
What works for you > what works for everyone else
The biggest temptation of buying someone’s proven sales formula is, of course, that it’s meant to work. (Even if that’s not really how it works out.) And the beauty of this kind of a promise is that we can give ourselves a pass on monitoring their results.
I’m here to officially call B.S. on this, guys.
In fact, one of the top issues that I see clients struggle with is not pausing to look for patterns in their business around what worked and what didn’t.
Moving forward without this step is called guessing, and it’s not strategic.
Your business is full of information on what your audience loves and what they don’t respond to. The clues are everywhere and they hold more growth potential for your business than what experts say is working for them. Yet many of us skip over this crucial step.
Instead, be thorough and tap into what’s working for you:
- Research which lead magnets and blog posts are performing best for you? What topics do they address?
- Look at your newsletter data and find out what your top 10 performing email subjects are? Are they written in a specific style, like a “how to” or listical (5 ways to…)?
- Research what the ten most shared posts on your website are. What themes do you see?
- Do you know where people who buy from you find out about you? If not, can you start asking?
And don’t just ask these questions once – ask them at the end of every campaign, at the end of every quarter. If you don’t, who will?
Don’t follow the crowd, be a leader
These questions will give you the chance to make small guesses about your audience that you can test. They’ll give you insight into who your audience is right this moment, and that’s useful.
It doesn’t mean that your audience, right at this moment, is the right one for you.
If your work sells well, you have engagement with your audience and like your customers, then amazing! You’re attracting the right people. The answers to the questions above can help you build on what’s working.
If you have engagement but your product isn’t selling, if your customers aren’t buying or don’t see the value in your work? Then you’re attracting the wrong crowd, my friend. The answers to the questions above will give you insight into what’s drawing in the wrong people. It’s your job to start changing it up and write only what would appeal to your best customers. Look for ways to make changes, so you’re speaking their language and teaching at their level to repel the wrong people and bring in the best ones.
Even if it’s a muscle you’re still building, there’s no magic formula that can replace your insight into your business.
Wish you had a guide through the process of building a sales system that uses your voice, your strengths and profitable routines you can stick to? Then you need to take a sneaky peek right over here.
Real Talk: We’ve all been there.
We’ve all considered implementing a complex, and often expensive, sales system we purchased from an online business guru because we want their level of success. (Or even just a small part of it, really.)
So we follow the lessons and buy the ads and write the copy. We create the funnel and drive the traffic and implement each step of the checklist. We check our stats and review our numbers and drop into bed exhausted and discouraged. Why? Because the results just aren’t what we expected…and they don’t justify all the work.
It’s frustrating, but it’s not just you. It’s the system and the reasons why proven doesn’t mean guaranteed.
One size truly doesn’t fit everyone.
Sure, the process worked well for the guru selling it. The steps fit their personality and met the needs of their audience. They got big results because the system was designed specifically for their business. But even when we buy a ready-made sales system, we already know there’s no guarantee it will fit our businesses – at least not without some serious changes.
If your business has a different audience, different message, and different personality? The way you share your work with the world will need a different fit. You can’t simply follow the advice word for word because it’s going to fit funny in spots – and your audience (smart people that they are) will know the difference.
No matter their size, your audience wants YOUR message, not a hyper-edited version of your message designed to sound like everyone else.
The deceptive value of all the things.
Facebook ads, social media posts and pins and tweets, email marketing funnels and free webinars just to talk about your stuff… People are using – and attributing all their success to – enough tactics to make your head spin.
Successful business owners start out with one or two tactics, and focus on how to make them work really well.
You can be successful without all the frosting of a thousand tactics.
In fact, trying to wrangle too many tactics is a fast track to diluting your energy and limiting your effectiveness. You don’t need all the things. You only need a few of the right things – the things that make a connection with your audience and feel natural and authentic to you.
Louder isn’t better… it’s just annoying.
Loud people get attention, but not usually in a good way. The loud talker sitting one table over in the coffee shop is just super annoying, honestly. So is the distant relative who takes over a family celebration by “making a big entrance” and “working the room”.
Implementing someone else’s marketing strategy can make your message an annoyance rather than an interesting new opportunity. If your audience is accustomed to simple, heartfelt messages, then a sudden influx of repetitive sales messages with built-in urgency will feel dissonant and off brand.
Want more than just a first date with readers? That’s a good thing!
There are exceptions, of course. But, most of the proven sales systems I’ve seen are designed for launching your service or course or thingy to as many people as possible. They are about quick hits, big financial numbers, and lots of traffic. And on paper, this makes sense! Surely you can do it in a way that feels good for you, right?
But in practice, it’s like speed dating. How many people can you get to notice your stuff and make a move? Feels a little fast and maybe a little dirty, right? Because in your uncertainty and anxiety about sales, we get focused on numbers above everything else. Suddenly you’re in it for the immediate gratification. And your audience can tell.
If selling someone else’s way seems off to you, maybe it’s not because you’re reaching outside of your comfort zone, maybe it’s because you want a little more than a first date. You want a relationship – complete with multiple engagements, deepening value, and a commitment of some kind. You want a client, a dedicated customer, a raving fan, and to do business with people you truly like. A system to generate lots of superficial engagement probably won’t get you there.
Something just doesn’t feel right – to anyone.
The biggest problem, in my opinion, with implementing someone else’s marketing or sales formula is this: It just doesn’t feel right, and we don’t listen to that instinct.
The suggested copy doesn’t sound like you would speak. The message is a little too hyped or a bit too pushy or just not quite you-enough. The tactics are outside your comfort zone or skill set. The pace is too fast (or too slow) and the whole process feels surreal or maybe even a bit creepy.
Guess what? Those feelings that make you want to stop and rethink this whole thing are the same feelings of disconnect your audience feels. They engage with your message and review your copy and feel rather meh about the whole thing. Instead of prompting them to purchase, those feelings create an internal pause that makes you and your audience pause.
It just doesn’t feel right.
What if that’s not because this is “just how sales feel”, or because you’re “learning a new strategy”? What if it just doesn’t feel right because it isn’t right for you?
The answer? Perfecting the formula, so it fits YOU.
Does this mean you should stay away from learning from mentors, or even from proven sales formulas? Absolutely not. There’s lots of value in learning new tactics, exploring new perspectives, and getting inspiration from someone who has experienced the growth you’re seeking.
But it’s crucial that you process and apply what you learn to your unique situation. How?
- Grab the winning tactics you like – the ones that seem authentic – and use them.
- Consider the needs of your audience and craft your copy accordingly.
- Instead of doing all the things, carefully select 2 or 3 and focus on doing them well.
- Look beyond a single launch or sales cycle to create lasting relationships.
The bottom line is this: make your sales and marketing a reflection of your values and personality. That’s authenticity, my friends. And it delivers big results!
Interested in creating a sales system you can market confidently? One that’s authentic to you and your audience? I’ve got just what you need. Check it out here.
Launching anything new can be an intense and exhilarating process. In the middle of excitement and checklists sometimes the most important things – like what we learn during and at the end of each launch – gets lost in the shuffle. Today’s post is by Cinthia from Digimorphs, who will show you how a few clicks in Google Analytics will show you where your launch traffic really comes from.
Knowing where your traffic comes from is a game changer because it lets you make strategic choices.
…Like maybe doubling down on what worked the next time you launch so that you can multiply your success with less work? Just a suggestion!
If you don’t take the time to understand what didn’t work, you’re going to repeat the same mistakes with every launch.
Today, we’re going to solve that.
One tool you can use to measure the effectiveness of your launch is Google Analytics. Having this free tool set up is essential and profitable.
If you use Google Analytics to set up Goals, it will automatically track when someone buys your services or products.
Suddenly you can see dollar sign indicators next to the marketing efforts that bring in not just the most traffic, but the most sales.
What are Goals? Goals are what I call “golden clicks” on your website: newsletter sign ups, service/product purchases, downloaded opt-in pdf, etc. (more…)
In Hamilton, as Alexander sings “I am not throwing away my shot / Hey yo, I’m just like my country / I’m young scrappy and hungry / And I’m not throwing away my shot” we know exactly who he is, and we feel his conviction in our bones. He tells us that as a character why he’s always going to make the most of the moment – no matter what the cost – and we believe him.
You already know that when someone plants their flag in the ground and tells us what they stand for, it’s powerful.
So when was the last time you took a stand and shared exactly what your business is here to accomplish?
If your answer is never, or two years ago, you’re not alone. Most of us are so deep into our daily to-do lists that we forget to share a powerful, big picture vision of how we help our readers and customers.
Thankfully, musicals and Disney movies are overachievers in this department and are familiar teachers that can help us share our big vision in a helpful, profitable way.
Early in any musical or Disney movie, the main character will sing a song that packs an emotional punch, while clearly and loudly telling us exactly what their big dream is. Meet the musical plot device known as the “I wish” song.
An “I wish” song shares what our hero wants more than anything else:
- In the Little Mermaid, it’s Arial singing how much she wants to be part of the human world.
- In Frozen, Anna won’t be alone for the first time in forever and is longing to meet people (And if the guy of her dreams was hanging out by the cheese plate, that be fine.)
- And – one of my favourites – in Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington is sad because he’s tired of being mayor of Halloween. After celebrating the holiday every day for years, he wants a change from the same old scares.
All of these heroes do exactly what anyone with a brand should do: Share the big dream we have for our customers early and often.
The stories we tell in our website content, headlines, social media posts and email sequences can all be powerful ways to share our big vision for our customers if we use them properly.
Owning and sharing what you want to help your customers accomplish is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Doing this well is how all the brands, creatives and businesses you love caught your attention, so sit’s time for you to step up to the challenge and join them.
If you sell products or services, you can’t deny the power of Black Friday and it’s partner in crime Small Business Saturday. It is a time of year when people are excited to spend money in the spirit of getting a deal. As a small business owner, it’s hard not to get excited about that and to scout out some Black Friday tips that can make yours even more successful.
As a strategist, I often work with small business owners, makers and creatives on pricing their work and creating a profitable business model. While sales can generate excitement, it’s important to remember that relying heavily on discounts to generate business may train your audience to wait for these limited time offers. (There are other ways to create urgency, I swear!)
If you use sales intentionally – a few times of the year, and on select offers – then you’re set. These Black Friday tips for sellers (meaning all you makers, etsy shop owners and product based business owners!) should help you have a seamless, profitable experience of the busiest shopping day of the year.
A few weeks ago I shared an idea with you: that focusing your social media and blog posts on encouraging and inspiring your customers isn’t as helpful as you think. In today’s post, we’ll look at how it’s also not as profitable as you think, and look at five steps to get you focused on helping your customers accomplish their goals while growing your business.
In the previous post we talked about how business owners – and I’ve done it too – often rely on feel-good, generally motivating or inspirational messages on social media and blog posts rather than messages that explicitly tie back to our products and services, or solve customer problems in a concrete way.
Here’s the disconnect: I bet your best customers don’t have a motivation problem.
They’re ready to learn; they’re ready for change – but most of all they’re ready for better results. Now think for a minute about what encouragement does. It assures, it gives confidence, it supports.
Encouragement and inspiration solve a problem that your best customers don’t have. It engages the wrong people.
This means the more we rely on cheerleading and encouragement, the more we attract engagement from people who are fundamentally different than our best customers. If we take social media or blogging seriously and general encouragement or inspiration is a primary part of that, the more we try to improve results, the worse the problem gets.
When your social media and blog doesn’t solve customer problems, every like or comment is a breadcrumb leading you away from your best customers.
Well, no wonder social media isn’t profitable for most small businesses! Where huge brands with high awareness can benefit from using broad messaging in a calculated way, small businesses looking to raise awareness suffer from copying the big players.
The opposite of this is blog and social media posts that are closely related to the problems your products and services solve.
That kind of messaging is a powerful statement about who your business helps and who you are as a leader. It reliably attracts potential customers and people interested in the questions you ask. And it reinforces your brand, because what you sell is the only thing your customers consider when they ask themselves “What kind of business is that?”
I know you’re saying to yourself, “But, I don’t want to be sales-y?” Perfect! Me neither! It’s both boring and cheesy. That’s not a good look on anyone. (more…)
Is there a more exciting time than when an entrepreneur decides to sign a contract with a freelance virtual assistant or get a retainer with a graphic designer? You put the word out to friends and associates, and you get lucky. You find a freelancer you like! Hurray!
You look over their contract, pay the first invoice and celebrate because things are finally going to get easier!
The first week goes well, but the work isn’t quite on the mark. You want to be reasonable, so you wait to give feedback and try not to pounce on your new virtual team member’s mistakes.
And yet, after the first month, you’re left wondering:
“Is this more work than just working on my own?!”
“Did I decide to work with the wrong person?”
“Why are they asking so many questions?”
“I hate emailing them everything – I need to get them on a Skype call stat so we can get to the bottom of this!”
I get it. Powerful delegation – that makes other people independent – is tough and nerve-wracking. In my previous business, I managed over a dozen freelancers at one time. I was always their primary contact point, and it wasn’t always pretty!
I’ve come to believe that how well a freelancer performs tells you about how skilled their clients are at supporting and training them.
During 2009 and 2010 I went through five virtual assistants for my web design business inside two years. It was brutal. The web design business I co-owned was booked out over six months in advance, our inbox was constantly flooded with inquiries, and we needed help as of yesterday! So we contracted virtual assistants to ease the pressure.
I thought working with freelancers and contracting was different from hiring. People would self-manage, I would give them money and get results out. I would do basic training, and we’d be up and running in no time! My job wasn’t managing freelancers!
Or so I thought. (more…)