… am checking the stats of my most recent newsletter.

Over 400 readers clicked a link to watch me tell a joke.

It wasn’t useful; it wasn’t business-related. It was just a joke.

I looked at the list of clickers, many of whom I recognize, many of whom are busy, successful, “I don’t have time for anything nonessential” business people.

But they made time to hear a joke.

When it comes to content creation, the 21st century problem isn’t that nobody has any time to read, watch or listen. Last time I checked, there are as many hours in the day today as there were 100 years ago.

The problem is that we are all more selective with how we use our time.

If nobody is paying attention to you, the solution is not to change the format, length, time of day sent, or anything else. That’s just fine-tuning at the edges.

The big opportunity is in improving the content itself.


… 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.