The request came from an existing client.
Once you begin work, your marketing ceases to matter. Now you are judged almost entirely on the work itself.
So while I spend most of my time as a marketing advisor telling professionals that capability is not a good differentiator (because until I hire you, I can’t tell how good you are), that applies to potential clients, not existing ones.
Once you are hired, how good you are is about the only thing that matters.
Which means that the more you can build your business around the things you are truly, exceptionally, way-better-than-everyone-else-at (not just a grab bag of things that you can reasonably claim to do), the more happy clients and inbound additional work you’ll have.
That’s because I took the last ten days off, essentially doing no work (unless you count brewing beer which, I confess, is way more complicated than my real job).
So, it’s a hard day today – but it’s a good sign.
It’s a reminder that, like exercising regularly, it’s easy to overlook the benefit of doing a little bit each day. You don’t notice how much progress is being made until you stop for a while and try to get going again.
The main reason today is hard is because most days, you’re benefiting from yesterday’s momentum.
Do what you can today to get the ball rolling for tomorrow.
And I’m going home early.
It’s not that I don’t have things to do, but the normal buzz of emails, phone calls, Zoom meetings, etc., has already quieted down this week.
For the first many years that I worked on my own, I didn’t slow down, even when there was little to do.
I thought that running your own business meant working hard, all the time.
Eventually, I realized that there are quiet times and busy times, much of which has little to do with how fast I’m pedaling.
And I know from experience that as a solo professional, things can go from sleepy to crazy-busy very quickly.
So, when it’s sleepy, I sleep.
Mark Tatro of RotateGraphics designs everything for me and for many of my clients. Newsletters, web sites, information products, the banner at the top of this email … everything.
I love his work and he always makes me look good (I know what you’re thinking, too bad he doesn’t design faces).
But when he suggested a font last week for the redesign of my main web site, I asked him to try something else. I just didn’t love it.
The thing is, he is undoubtedly technically correct. He’s an expert – he sees things that I can’t see.
I don’t care.
The font won’t make or break the site and the new look is well over the bar of “professionally designed.” At this point, what matters most to me is that I like it.
One of the (many) great things about working alone is that you never have to compromise.
So sure, feel free to ask others what they think of your logo, company name, photo, husband, or anything else that requires an opinion, professional or otherwise.
Just make sure that when the asking is done, you’ve chosen something that feels right to you.
The first involved one of the email vendors I use: a 30-minute wait to speak to a human.
The second involved my credit card company: don’t get me started.
The thing is, these types of interactions are not the exception – we are all forced to deal with big company bureaucracy every day.
Which is why your competitive advantage as a tiny professional service firm is to provide prodigious (SAT word!) levels of transparency and availability:
Respond to emails; return phone calls; provide complete contact information on your web site (not just a form); don’t require every interaction with you to go through your virtual assistant; and maybe stop using “we” on your web site when we all know it’s really just you back there.
Big companies can’t get out of their own way. That’s not a feature; it’s a weakness.
In a world where we are all tired of empty promises of the your-call-is-important-to-us variety, your unassailable advantage is YOU.