… was asked what my hourly rate is for copywriting.


I said, “I don’t have an hourly rate for anything; I price by the project.”

He said hourly pricing seems fair.

I thought, “What’s fair got to do with it?”

He said he wanted to understand the effort involved.

I thought, “What’s the difference how much effort is involved?”

Does it matter to you how many hours Bruce Springsteen practices before you pay for a concert ticket?

Does it matter to you how many miles the apple you’re eating traveled before you took a bite?

People who get paid for how hard and how long they work are called employees.

People who get paid for the value they provide are called entrepreneurs, owners and artists.

Which one do you want to be?


… am publishing content.


This very piece of content, in fact.

I do it to help my business, of course.

But I also do it because for whatever reason, I really like writing something and pushing “send.” It gets me focused and energized.

That’s particularly useful on the first day back after a long weekend.

See if you can figure out what gets you going. Then make sure to use it, as needed, on those days where it’s hard getting started.


… heard an interesting quote.

“You don’t need to know where you are going. You just need to know where you are going next.”

Not knowing “how this all works out” can keep you stuck in neutral.

Back when I first began working for myself, I would sometimes tell my coach that things were so slow that I was afraid I would run out of things to do.

She always said, “Call me when you run out.”

Sure enough, I never did.

The key, I think, is to just keep moving.

That dampens the worry and is what makes things happen in the first place.


… received a birthday email from my dentist.


It was fine – and it was 100% automated.

Pretty much the happy birthday equivalent of seeing “Have a nice day” printed on the bottom of your gas station receipt.

It’s not doing any damage, but in terms of moving the needle on customer relationships, it’s a big fat zero.

We all need to be efficient (especially if you are a tiny professional service firm), and that necessarily involves some degree of automation.

But try not to let the process goal of efficiency get in the way of the (bigger) retention goal of connection.


… spoke to a human being.


I’ve been on the phone a lot this week: Cable company, mortgage company, health insurance company.

The experiences were good enough, but pretty much as expected: Twenty+ minutes on hold, multiple transfers, a lot of time¬†listening closely¬†since, apparently, “our menu options have changed.”

This morning, I called my home insurance company: Bunker Hill Insurance.

Three things caught my attention, all of which hinted at the size of the operation:

1. The woman who picked up the phone just said, “Hi, this is Elizabeth.” No boilerplate jargon.

2. She had a very distinctive, local (Boston) accent.

3. After I explained the situation (accidental double-payment), she said she would “keep an eye out for my check and send a refund right away.”

Keep an eye out? You mean the person on the phone actually has some connection to the operation itself?

We are all so used to dealing with gigantic call centers that interacting with a friendly, knowledgeable local business is a bit of a shock.

If you’re a tiny professional service firm that is trying to appear bigger than you really are, I think you may be leaning in the wrong direction.