Jun
10

… have been talking with the cable company.

 

And yesterday.

And last week.

The TiVo stopped talking to the box with the cable card and the Roku app thinks left is right but only when it rains on a night with a full moon…

You know the drill.

Lots of technology and lots of people involved, none of whom are individually able to solve the overall problem.

It’s not because they are not trying. And it’s not because they are not smart.

It’s just that the “machine” they have built is so big and so complicated that it’s really really hard to provide an experience that is even adequate, let alone great.

That’s why I love being a solo. 

In a world of byzantine bureaucratic behemoths, all we have to do to delight our clients is respond quickly to emails, fix problems on the first try, and never, ever ask anyone to please listen closely, as our menu options have changed.

Jun
7

… had a conversation about newsletters.

 

It was with a consultant, somebody who is thinking of launching one.

He said he planned to, “Send 6 or 8 a year.”

I made two suggestions:

1. Send more frequently.

With all the noise out there today, you need to be in front of people at least monthly to break through.

2. Make a real commitment.

There’s a big difference between saying, “I plan to go to the gym a couple of times a week,” and, “I will go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 AM.”

One is a hope. The other is an actual plan.

It’s the same with a newsletter. If you don’t commit to a specific schedule (first Tuesday, third Friday, whatever), you’ll push it out of the way as soon as something more urgent comes up.

If you’re going to launch a newsletter, commit to doing it monthly for one year. Then feel free to assess the value!

May
30

… sent an email to a bookkeeper.

 

He was referred by a friend. She told me he works alone, which is what I’m looking for.

I received an immediate response!

Unfortunately, it was an automated email.

It was six paragraphs and 414 words long.

It came with a required, 32-question survey. (Excellent, I love homework!)

Needless to say, I’m moving on.

Big companies need to triage and filter inbound requests. The volume of these requires it.

It’s understandable, but bureaucracy is not a benefit to prospects; it’s an obstacle.

Try not to build one unless absolutely necessary.

May
22

… received an email from my local library.

 

It was letting me know that the Kindle book I had reserved was ready.

The “From” line was: C/W MARS

The “Subject” line was: C/W MARS digital hold automatically borrowed

I nearly deleted it, thinking it was spam.

If you work in the library, of course, words like “C/W MARS” and “digital hold” make perfect sense. You use them every day.

If you don’t, however, and you’re just a book-borrowing private citizen quickly scanning emails to see what can be ignored, they don’t.

Are you clear who your audience is before you begin writing?

May
8

… have run out of teenage children.

 

My youngest child, Jonathan, turns twenty.

I’m happy to say, I didn’t miss any of it.

Parents nights, family dinners, endless sporting events. I was there for everything.

Not because I’m such a wonderful parent (although I am exceptionally good looking).

But because I had the freedom, as a business owner, to shape things however I wanted.

When you work for yourself, and in the daily struggle to keep the wheels turning, it’s easy to forget how much choice we have compared to the “jobbed.”

Today, I am remembering.