Practice. Practice. Practice.

It’s an old New York City joke and if I ever get to go to Carnegie Hall, I’m getting that t-shirt.
Many times, we want instant results. Quick turn hits that prove and grow our industry. The truth is that the best results come from steady, repeated practice with the smallest possible market possible.

Show up for those folks. Over and over and over again. Here’s something I want to challenge both of us to do for the rest of this month. Spend 1 hour a day doing those steady things that promote your business: make the calls, put up the flyers, do the work of letting people know what it is you do. Focus on the smallest group possible. If you are a baker, then focus on the 20 blocks around your bakery. If you are a plumber: take just one zip code.

And it’s not just a one-off, as in one set of flyers or direct mail door hangers. Do it. Measure it. Adjust it. Do it again. Did it work at all? Was it profitable? What one thing can I change and we measure if that makes it any more (or worse) successful.

How much money do you have for this endeavor? How much frequency are you going to get with your budget? That’s why you go small. No big ads. No billboards, unless perhaps it is the one in the center of your micro-target audience.

I hate math. It took me three tries to pass College Algebra. Yet math, my business compadres, can truly be our friend. Math provides data. Data shows results. Results are repeatable if you know what made them work.

Practice. Practice. Practice. You with me?

Sex and That Client Who Can’t Be Pleased

We all have one. Hopefully, we don’t have more than one. Hopefully, we’ve built enough self-care into our business to ensure that we weed out the impossible clients.

For me, there is always a period of grace. A period where I go above and beyond the work required. Beyond expectations. Jump through hoops. Do added work for no additional charge.

Sometimes, that is enough to smooth out the irrational client. More often than not, it just makes the ridiculousness of my effort blatantly apparent until I come to the realization that this client can’t and won’t be pleased.

Usually, once I come to that realization, the only thing left is to find a way to gracefully end the working relationship. The quickest way to do that is to stop doing all the extras.

It happened today. “How much more can we get for the same price?” they asked.

“Nothing more for the same price, but if you would like to add additional work, we can revise the budget.”

“No. No. It’s just…” (and then the litany begins)

“I understand. It may be that I am not able to help you in the way you need, and that is unfortunate. Usually, I exceed all my client’s expectations. Would you like me to stop working on your project? I can send you a final invoice and we can part amicably.”

Sometimes, there is spluttering.

Sometimes, a delay in the inevitable: the working relationship is finished.

I have learned a thing or two these many years as a freelancer.

  1. There are some people whom you truly just can’t please. It’s not personal. It is a part of that individual’s way of interacting with the world. To some, the idea of being pleased and happy with someone else’s work is a sign of weakness. They are convinced (wrongly) that they will lose power.
  2. There are some people in the world who prey on people in this very manner. It is a tool. A tactic. One they use over and over and over again. They do this, because in the beginning, it works. They get a lot of “extra” without having to pay for it. These people usually behave this way with other parts of their lives as well. They are deep, dank holes. Once you spot it for what it is: move! “Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.” Literally. It is a sticky trap that will suck your beautiful soul dry.
  3. There will be the very rare client where you are just not a good fit. It is not a flaw in you, nor in them. It’s just not a good fit. Stop trying to force it to be something that it can’t be. Let it go gracefully.

In case you haven’t guessed, business is Relationship 101. You get a crash course in human dynamics and “who your people are.” The bonus: you don’t have to sleep with any of them!

 

Chasing the Long Tail

There is not enough shelf space for your product. I’m sorry, but it’s true.
But what’s the good news to that?
With the internet, there is endless room for everyone and everything.

It’s a game changer.

For a while, to be seen, you had to only focus on SEO (search engine optimization).
As a result, the wealthy firms or companies are now spending tens of thousands of dollars on SEO keywords in order to dominate search.

So, how are you found?
Do you still need SEO?

The answer is, yes, you do still need SEO, but now more than ever you need judicious SEO, smart content regularly placed on your website, social media, and videos.

The rules have changed. You must adapt to succeed.

The good news is that most people won’t, so that becomes your edge.

 


Robinson Studio focuses on helping clients behind the scenes with ghost writing, social media, video content, and sound marketing strategies. To learn more visit Robinson Studio.

Permission to Fail

You have permission to fail.

Permission to try something different.

Permission to experiment and see if one option works better than the other.

As an entreprenuer, you always have to give your self permission to try…and to fail.

We are not talking “shutter the doors” fail. We are talking “thinking beyond status quo” fail.

Otherwise, you would have purchased a franchise, correct?

And with permission to fail also comes permission to succeed.


Robinson Studio focuses on helping clients behind the scenes with ghost writing, social media, video content, and sound marketing strategies. To learn more visit Robinson Studio.

Advice From My Grandfather

My paternal grandfather died at age 44 of either a massive heart attack or poisoning while serving as a diplomat in Turkey after World War 2. He was an economist and also the author of a dime store detective novel.

He gave my father a piece of advice that has been passed down now for multiple generations, “If you want to get the work done, you must sit your butt in the chair and do the work. Every day.”

It’s good advice to all of us starting new businesses or trying to grow our existing ones.


Robinson Studio focuses on helping clients behind the scenes with ghost writing, social media, video content, and sound marketing strategies. To learn more visit Robinson Studio.

Doing the Work of Establishing Your Small Business

Today, I spent my lunch hour with a small business consultant who is helping me get my business launched both officially and professionally. You see, I’ve been working behind the scenes for clients for well over 13 years, but never officially established myself as a small business owner. Well, that has changed.

So, today was rounds of paperwork filled out, reviewed, and faxed over to the IRS.

It was taking an honest approach at my accounting and methodology and seeing where I could use some adjusting.

It was conversations and mentoring in how to set up the internal systems of my business so that I am getting the strongest tax benefits possible.

This is new territory for me, and I am grateful for someone who is willing to put their experience to use for my business’ betterment. This service is offered for free through the Small Business Administration. A colleague told me about it and I eagerly called and signed up. I didn’t get all my homework done in time; however, I made more progress having to be accountable than I would have if left to my own devices.

So, let me encourage you to do this for yourself if you are a small business over.

Get a mentor.

Learn all you can about getting your business off on  a solid footing.

Then share that goodness. It’s what we do.


Robinson Studio focuses on helping clients behind the scenes with ghost writing, social media, video content, and sound marketing strategies. To learn more visit Robinson Studio.

Ideavirus…is Your Work Infectious

I’ve recently been taking Seth Godin’s Marketing Seminar and can not give a loud enough shout out to this man’s long-time work in helping businesses succeed.

In Ideavirus, a free e-book you are welcome to read, download or skim, Seth talks about the importance of having a “hive” (which he later renames “tribes”) which do the work of marketing your product, your service, your “you” to others.

It’s one of the fundamental reasons as a business you do social media: to gather your in-born followers and then to also spread the message to gain new folks in your tribe.

Word of mouth, amplified.

Do you know who your tribe is?

Can you sit down with a piece of paper and actually write about them?

As a human, you probably belong to more than one tribe.

Now, for your business: who fits in your tribe? What are you telling them?

What are they hearing?

Are you communicating?

Are they listening?

Nab the book. Make it homework.


Robinson Studio focuses on helping clients behind the scenes with ghost writing, social media, video content, and sound marketing strategies. To learn more visit Robinson Studio.

Owning Your Errors

Recently, I was helping oversee a large installation project for one of my clients’ buildings. It was going beautifully till suddenly, I was told that I had forgotten to order an entire hallway’s framing. This was on a Friday, and the client was expecting Very Important Guests for a meeting at 8 a.m. Monday morning.

The first thought, as always, is to panic. Then to faint. Then to be swallowed in a hole and disappear.

Thankfully, these thoughts generally only last a few seconds and I am able to keep a poker face of composure while absorbing the unfortunate news. My first action was to place a call and see if there was any way to create a solution to the problem.

  1. Could my vendor produce the needed materials over the weekend and let me come and pick them up?
  2. Would the facility be open so that I could come and install the missing pieces before Monday morning?

Once I had the answers, the next and most painful part of the problem was to find my client and confront them with the news and apologize. This was a new client, so I knew that I risked in my mistake, the chance to lose my client’s permanent trust right there in that moment. Yet, to try to cover or to try to shift blame, “I didn’t make this mistake” would only have made the situation worse.

Like most small business owners, there is only one person accountable for whether or not a project succeeds or fails. Only one person the paper trail and conversations lead back to. In this instance, I was working with a team, yet I was the project lead and so ultimately, no matter whose fault it was, I was the one responsible.

So, I faced the client with a smile, and with an honest admission as to what had happened and what the solution was. The client trusted me to follow through on the solution and it all worked out for the good. The VIPs were properly impressed and the contented client and I have now collaborated on several additional projects together with our teams.

Be honest.

Don’t avoid the conversation.

If at all possible, find a solution to offer with the conversation.


Robinson Studio focuses on helping clients behind the scenes with ghost writing, social media, video content, and sound marketing strategies. To learn more visit Robinson Studio.

The Art of Listening

The latest statistic states that we have an attention span shorter than a goldfish’s these days.
That literally our focus limit lies optimally between :6s and :15s.
How do you change the world in :15s intervals?
You listen.

If you listen, your client will actually tell you explicitly what it is they need, want, or are afraid of.

They may have the worst case of “SQUIRREL” that you’ve ever encountered, but even those scattered individuals are trying to tell you their message. Trying to get you to hear and understand them. If you can cultivate a mindset for truly listening: not interrupting, not one-upping with your amazing story, but listening and asking guided questions to help them gain clarity, you will hear.

The problem is not being “squirrel activated” yourself.

Focus. If you can focus for :15s, there is hope.

 

Chip-o-scope’s Do Not Make Sound POVs

Period.

The same goes to how you approach your company’s business plan.

If it’s basically a pinhole effort, expect less than stellar results.

We all want the fast, easy, cheap solution.

The problem is, despite the hucksters who try to sell you on their latest fail-proof business plan, they don’t actually work. Legitimate businesses require a lot of hard work and require a long view.