Why You Should Embrace ‘Icky’ Sales and Marketing

If you’re in business, you’re in it to sell.

This is absolutely the first tenet. The whole purpose of being in business is to sell services or products to people who need them, allowing you to make profits in the process.

You’re in business to make money. To earn a decent living. To bring home a salary or an income that feeds your family. You’re not in this for back-pats or accolades or warm fuzzies. Praise is nice, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

Without sales, your business hits a dead end.

“But Jaaaaammes, selling is just so… so sleazy… so icky!”

Please. No it’s not. There is absolutely nothing distasteful about telling potential customers that you have something good they might be interested in. There’s nothing disgusting about promoting your products or services if you believe that what you sell is worth money.

Here’s the real truth of the matter:

If you feel uncomfortable selling, you lack faith in what you sell.

I learned this lesson long ago, and now it’s time for you to learn it too: If you don’t 150% believe that what you have to offer is worth someone’s money, then you’re going to feel unsure, uncertain and under-confident.

You’ll have trouble selling. You’ll have trouble telling people to buy – even if they really want what you have. You’ll feel awkward saying, “This is a good thing. You should get it.” You’ll feel uncomfortable asking for money because deep down, you don’t think that what you have is worth it.

Think about that a minute: If you felt 150% confident that you had an amazing offer that people should snap up right now because the deal was that good… don’t you think you’d step up to the plate?

“This is the best damned popcorn you’ll ever taste – and I swear after one buttery-sweet mouthful of this luscious stuff, you’ll never want that other crappy, over-salted dry cardboard again. Go on, try it! Have some and see for yourself!”

That’s convincing. That’s persuasive. That confident attitude makes people believe that yeah, this popcorn does seem to be better. And sure, they’ll have a try.

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money in the hands

Icky. It’s a word that makes me shudder.

I shudder because this juvenile term is being used by fully grown adults. Business owners. People who should by now know a little more professionalism and who should speak words a touch above my 7-year-old’s current lexicon.

Really, people. Icky?

But using a childish term when you’re 40 or so isn’t what most turns me off. What really makes me roll my eyes is that some people equate ‘icky’ to a crucial aspect of business success. An aspect so integral to business survival that doing anything less than embracing it leads to fast, hard disaster:

Failure.

You see, if you’re in business, there’s really no room for ‘icky’ at all. In fact, if you start feeling ‘icky’ about an integral area of your business, you might as well just close up shop right now. Rip down your website. Turn away your customers. Because there’s just no hope.

What am I talking about? Sales and marketing, of course.

And there’s nothing ‘icky’ about it. Leer más “Why You Should Embrace ‘Icky’ Sales and Marketing”

Setting Goals to Succeed: Lessons from a Freelance Classical Musician


I never cease to be amazed by the number of players I meet who still believe in playing the classical music equivalent of corporate cubicle nation – clinging onto the notion that an orchestral job is fundamental to reputation and survival.

Those of us who have already escaped from the traditional straitjacket can assure you that life is infinitely more pleasurable and less stressful when you’re fully in control of your own destiny.

For classical music jobs, successful freelance musicians center their work around the concept of a “portfolio” career. In order to survive and thrive with such a lifestyle, just like learning to play an instrument, it is essential that you start with the basics in order to build solid foundations.

Following the method outlined below, I re-launched my classical music career after two decades out of the industry and have never looked back. It works! Leer más “Setting Goals to Succeed: Lessons from a Freelance Classical Musician”

7 Warning Signs Your “Big Idea” Is Going to Flop

By James Chartrand

Ever have a really great idea for a product?

You know, the kind of idea that leaves you slack-jawed and wide-eyed with wonder at the sheer potential of it all. You want to grab someone by the shoulders and explain the whole thing in a breathless rush, watching their eyes grow in wonder as they realize you’re going to be rich and famous. For the next few hours or even days, you find yourself revved up in high gear, eager to turn your big idea into reality.

Oh yeah. It’s an awesome feeling.

There’s only one problem: what comes up must go down, and sometimes big ideas do just that – they flop, hard. You could shrug it off and say that failure is really a learning experience, but wouldn’t you rather learn how to avoid those flops so you can save yourself time, money and heartache?

I know I would.

So here are seven warning signs your big idea is about to flop and seven ways to avoid landing with a splat:


Broken-Lightbulb

By James Chartrand | //blog.kissmetrics.com

Ever have a really great idea for a product?

You know, the kind of idea that leaves you slack-jawed and wide-eyed with wonder at the sheer potential of it all. You want to grab someone by the shoulders and explain the whole thing in a breathless rush, watching their eyes grow in wonder as they realize you’re going to be rich and famous. For the next few hours or even days, you find yourself revved up in high gear, eager to turn your big idea into reality.

Oh yeah. It’s an awesome feeling.

There’s only one problem: what comes up must go down, and sometimes big ideas do just that – they flop, hard. You could shrug it off and say that failure is really a learning experience, but wouldn’t you rather learn how to avoid those flops so you can save yourself time, money and heartache?

I know I would.

So here are seven warning signs your big idea is about to flop and seven ways to avoid landing with a splat: Leer más “7 Warning Signs Your “Big Idea” Is Going to Flop”

To Freelance or Not To Freelance, That’s The Question

Being a freelancer is serious business. This is why we’ve decided to make a collection of pro’s and con’s for you to help out a bit. Deciding if you’re going to keep that 9-5 job or dive into the world of freelancing can be quite tricky to figure out. There are many things speaking both for and against this. Many times, the positive aspects seem to be many, while the more “negative” or challenging sides can be more hidden to you until you’re actually facing them.

Here’s a list of 15 pro’s and 15 con’s of freelancing. We hope these tips can help you decide what to do, and also help you be better prepared for the future!
The Pro’s

Being positive human beings, we’re going to show you what we think are 15 of the biggest pro’s in choosing a freelance career.
Creative Freedom

Many freelancers best motivation to start up often is the chance to get full creative freedom. No boss to look over your shoulder and no co-workers that take all the best jobs. As a freelancer you will be able to choose what direction your work will take. It will be you and the client without anyone else. There have been studies to show that many people in creative jobs would actually accept a lower pay for the same amount of work given they get full creative freedom. This proves that it’s definitely important to many of us.


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By: Hilde Torbjornsen

Being a freelancer is serious business. This is why we’ve decided to make a collection of pro’s and con’s for you to help out a bit. Deciding if you’re going to keep that 9-5 job or dive into the world of freelancing can be quite tricky to figure out. There are many things speaking both for and against this. Many times, the positive aspects seem to be many, while the more “negative” or challenging sides can be more hidden to you until you’re actually facing them.

Here’s a list of 15 pro’s and 15 con’s of freelancing. We hope these tips can help you decide what to do, and also help you be better prepared for the future!

The Pro’s

Being positive human beings, we’re going to show you what we think are 15 of the biggest pro’s in choosing a freelance career.

Creative Freedom

Many freelancers best motivation to start up often is the chance to get full creative freedom. No boss to look over your shoulder and no co-workers that take all the best jobs. As a freelancer you will be able to choose what direction your work will take. It will be you and the client without anyone else. There have been studies to show that many people in creative jobs would actually accept a lower pay for the same amount of work given they get full creative freedom. This proves that it’s definitely important to many of us.

Creative
Image credit: .lollo.

Setting Your Own Work Hours Leer más “To Freelance or Not To Freelance, That’s The Question”

Should You Charge Customers Late Fees?

When it comes to getting customers to pay on time, business owners typically use two approaches — carrots and sticks. Pay your bill early and you get a nice discount. Pay your bill late and you get smacked with a late fee.

The trouble is that neither of these solutions does the job it’s intended to do. Quick payers who’d pay on time anyway often take advantage of early-payer discounts, cutting into your company’s profit margin. Slow payers — often cash-strapped consumers or small business owners themselves — don’t have the money to pay late fees and may not pay you at all.

What’s the answer? Scrap this ineffective system of rewards and punishments and try to figure out why your customers are paying late and what you can do to make them pay you faster.


When it comes to getting customers to pay on time, business owners typically use two approaches — carrots and sticks. Pay your bill early and you get a nice discount. Pay your bill late and you get smacked with a late fee.

The trouble is that neither of these solutions does the job it’s intended to do. Quick payers who’d pay on time anyway often take advantage of early-payer discounts, cutting into your company’s profit margin. Slow payers — often cash-strapped consumers or small business owners themselves — don’t have the money to pay late fees and may not pay you at all.

What’s the answer? Scrap this ineffective system of rewards and punishments and try to figure out why your customers are paying late and what you can do to make them pay you faster.

For example, let’s see… Leer más “Should You Charge Customers Late Fees?”

Staying Motivated Through the Years

A reader once asked me a very interesting question–how do I stay motivated long-term when I don’t receive any raises or benefits as a freelancer? This got me thinking hard–just how do I keep myself motivated?

I was never really lucky enough to have a job with good benefits, bonuses or raises, so maybe the lack of these things doesn’t bother me as much as someone who did have them at a full-time job. Or, perhaps it’s because I feel like I do receive all of these benefits–and more.

There are tons of things that keep me motivated as a freelancer, so much so that I don’t think I would ever go back to any kind of regular job.

The trick is to reward yourself regularly for the hard work you do, much like a boss would. Here are some ways I’ve kept myself motivated through years of freelancing.


A reader once asked me a very interesting question–how do I stay motivated  long-term when I don’t receive any raises or benefits as a freelancer? This got me thinking hard–just how do I keep myself motivated?

I was never really lucky enough to have a job with good benefits, bonuses or raises, so maybe the lack of these things doesn’t bother me as much as someone who did have them at a full-time job. Or, perhaps it’s because I feel like I do receive all of these benefits–and more.

There are tons of things that keep me motivated as a freelancer, so much so that I don’t think I would ever go back to any kind of regular job.

The trick is to reward yourself regularly for the hard work you do, much like a boss would. Here are some ways I’ve kept myself motivated through years of freelancing.

Leer más “Staying Motivated Through the Years”

Better Time Management for Improved Cash Flow

We’ve all heard it: time is money. And as much as we sometimes hate to look at it in such base terms, it’s mostly true. As service providers (designers and developers), the time we spend on a project is directly proportional to how much we’re getting paid. How we spend our time also has a big effect on when money comes in.

Timeismoney in Better Time Management for Improved Cash Flow

If we want to get a better grip on our cash flow, we need to get a better grip on our time first. Sure, we all recognize that the time we spend working effects our overall income. But it’s often hard to see the relationship between time management and cash flow. Regardless of how muddy the relationship seems, there are direct ties between how you manage your time and how much money comes in when. Read on for more information on how to better manage your time so you can better manage your finances.
Take a Wide View

Wideangleclock in Better Time Management for Improved Cash Flow

Time management is often dealt with on a micro level. We look at our time in blocks of fifteen, thirty, or sixty minutes, and assess how to best utilize those blocks. But when it comes to managing your time with an aim toward more stable cash flow, this micro-management doesn’t do much good.

What you need to do is take a macro view of how you’re spending your time, and manage it based on when you need to complete billable work. Rather than looking at time in blocks that make up a fraction of your day, look at it in terms of what you’re doing this week or this month.
Regular Billing Intervals

Regularintervals in Better Time Management for Improved Cash Flow

One thing you’ll want to consider when planning your long-term time management is the frequency at which you’ll be billing clients. There are a few things to take into account here. One has to do with how many projects you have going, and how staggered they are. Ideally, you’ll want your projects to overlap in such a way that you can send out bills on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This means you’ll have money coming in virtually every week, which is a big plus for any freelancer’s cash flow.

The other thing to consider is how often clients are billed for work. Some designers might only bill their clients at the end of a project (in addition to a deposit up front, of course). While this results in larger payments, it also means payments are coming in less frequently. You’ll need to decide if you can justify billing more often during the project. Breaking down the project’s fee over three payments can not only aid your cash flow, but also your client’s.

Again, the goal here is to have money coming in on at least a semi-regular basis. Many freelancers will want payments arriving on a weekly basis, so there’s less budgeting involved. Others might prefer to have larger payments coming in less frequently. You’ll need to work out which system works better for you and the types of bills you have and then plan your projects so deadlines and billing cycles correspond with your desired payment schedule.


By Cameron Chapman

We’ve all heard it: time is money. And as much as we sometimes hate to look at it in such base terms, it’s mostly true. As service providers (designers and developers), the time we spend on a project is directly proportional to how much we’re getting paid. How we spend our time also has a big effect on when money comes in.

Timeismoney in Better Time Management for Improved Cash Flow

If we want to get a better grip on our cash flow, we need to get a better grip on our time first. Sure, we all recognize that the time we spend working effects our overall income. But it’s often hard to see the relationship between time management and cash flow. Regardless of how muddy the relationship seems, there are direct ties between how you manage your time and how much money comes in when. Read on for more information on how to better manage your time so you can better manage your finances. Leer más “Better Time Management for Improved Cash Flow”