… watched a three-minute YouTube video.


It was a “how to” video regarding headlight replacement (long story).

The host’s opening line was an enthusiastic, “Hi everyone!”

But here’s the thing. From my perspective, alone at my desk, there is no “everyone.” It’s just me.

So while the host may be imagining a large audience, for me it’s a bit of a disconnect.

All that to say, whether writing or speaking, try and put yourself in the shoes of your message’s recipient.

See you all next time. (You knew that was coming.)


… had my credit card compromised.

Someone(s) tried to use it to buy a $1,200 computer.

I received a text message about the charge immediately (I have my credit cards set up to text me every time any charge is made).

Minutes later, I got another text from my credit card company asking me to confirm/deny what seemed like a suspicious purchase.

Five minutes after I texted back “deny,” I received a call from the fraud department walking me through card cancellation and replacement.

By the time the card thief tried to use it again at a pizza parlor in Brooklyn (apparently, one can work up quite an appetite committing larceny), the card was already shut down.

If I didn’t have all these alerts set up to notify me immediately, it could have been quite the annoying mess to untangle.

There are all kinds of tools (many of them free) to help your business run smoothly. It’s worth a little bit of effort up front to save time and aggravation down the road.


… had a call with a new client.


He first signed up for my newsletter in 2015, on the suggestion of his coach.

Two months later, he signed up for these short posts.

Early last year, he participated in three different live webinars I offered.

A couple of weeks ago, he hired me.

A few important things worth noticing:

  1. It took three years. If you sell a high-risk, trust-requiring service, people, understandably, tend to take their time.

  2. We’re a great match. Sharing your content filters in the right people. The more they get to know you before they call, the more likely you will click together.

  3. He contacted me. I wasn’t tracking, following or paying attention to him (I didn’t even know he existed). That’s a pretty efficient way to gain new clients.

2019 is upon us. If you want the phone to ring with great clients, commit to finding some way of staying in touch, over and over again, in a way that positions you as a likeable expert.


… was turned down by a potential client.


He’s a financial planner; we met for coffee last week.

A nice guy who I would have enjoyed working with, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t going anywhere once I saw his reaction to my fee (I think he spilled his coffee).

But I followed up the next day with an email, and then again yesterday after I heard nothing back.

Today, he said he’s “exploring options,” “determining next steps,” “unsure which direction is best.”

Here’s the thing: People don’t like to say no. Often, when they are not interested, ether they avoid you or toss out vague “thinking about it” cliches. Or, as in this case, both.

Of course, since he didn’t actually say no, I could follow-up, keep in touch, check in periodically, etc. But we both know this is a dead end.

Instead, I emailed back to say it sounds like we are not a match but suggested we keep in touch (he doesn’t have to be a client for us to have coffee again or whatever).

Phantom prospects may give you something to add to your “sales pipeline,” but they sap your energy and waste your time.

You know when the answer is no. Better to take control and end things in a positive way.


… got buried in the bureaucracy.


I was trying to upload some documents to my son’s college web site to finalize his financial aid and pay his tuition. But the upload had a problem.

The student I spoke with in the financial aid office suggested I send it via email.

I suggested that I wasn’t enthusiastic about emailing my tax returns in the clear. I asked if there were another way.

He couldn’t think of one.

Around and around we went, until I finally asked for his street address and told him I’d snail-mail it.

Question: Do you think he would have been as unenthusiastic about helping a customer give him money if it were his own business he was representing?

When your paycheck arrives regularly regardless of what you do every day, it’s easy to forget where the money for the paycheck comes from.

As small businesses and solos, that awareness is one of our advantages.