May
23

… read something in a magazine.

 

It said:

“You can’t do a good deal with bad people, and you can’t do a bad deal with good people.”

The article was about finding venture funding, but the quote applies just as well to our clients.

If you’re careful about who you work with, and you find people who treat you well and seem to be on the same page, everything works out.

“Bad clients,” on the other hand? All the contract language in the world won’t protect you from the headaches.

P.S. If you think you’re not yet in a position to be choosy about clients, you’re not giving yourself enough credit (or power). It won’t change until you walk away from them.

May
8

… received an email from a newsletter subscriber.

 

She asked: “Would whoever receives this email please forward my question to Mr. Katz?”

Whoever receives this? Who am I, Bezos?

But it reflects an implicit assumption about the email we receive from companies: There’s nobody “back there” that you can get a hold of.

Which is why when you respond quickly and personally, you further distance yourself from your larger competitors.

(I forwarded her email to myself first, just to add a layer of bureaucracy between me and the outside world.)

May
1

… am writing something very complicated.

 

Well, it’s complicated now.

My job is to take what my client told me over the course of a one-hour phone call and simplify it into an 800-word newsletter.

At the moment, though, it feels like the contents of an IKEA box spilled on the floor. There’s a couch in there somewhere, I just have to find it.

That’s why I’m outlining the information first. Then, once I have the flow figured out, I’ll worry about the pretty words.

Writing and organizing information at the same time is hard. The more complicated the topic, the more helpful it is to outline first.

Apr
26

… am rewriting somebody’s bio.

 

He’s done a ton of things in twenty years as a solo professional. His current bio pretty much covers it all.

The thing is, if he wants the bio to help him get more clients (he does), he needs to be more focused.

Your bio isn’t about showcasing every notable thing you are or have done.

It’s about showcasing every notable thing you are or have done¬†that makes the case for why you are the most qualified person on earth for something in particular.

It’s a marketing document, not an obituary.

And effective marketing is always about focus.

Apr
17

… got an email from Beth.

 

She wrote:

“Hi Michael! You send out A LOT of emails! How can I get off of everything except the newsletter?”

I could have said,¬†“You can’t. If you want the free stuff you get the promotional stuff. That’s the way this works.”

But, since I have an easy way to do what she’s asking, why not bend the rules and accommodate her? (Which I did.)

Big companies need policies, procedures, rules. They can’t survive without them – but it’s also what makes working with them so frustrating.

The flexibility that being a solo allows is one of our competitive advantages.