Monthly Archives: November 2008

I’ve Been Learning, Have You?

My primary website is a MESS! It was nice when it started out. But then I had more things. And web standards changed. And I learned some more stuff. What was good then is now an embarrassment. And like the shoeless cobbler’s kids, my websites are the last to get attention. Clients have to come first.

So today, I’m looking at the positive side of it.

People are hiring me anyway – so at least my client work is speaking well of me.

The fact that I see that it is an embarrassment means I’m learning. Learning is good.

The fact that I’ve outgrown it means our business is expanding. Growth is good.

The fact that web standards are changing means (usually) progress on the web.

Of course, the negative side is always there, haunting me. Which means that one of these days I’m going to have to put aside my other pressing projects and put some time into a redesign of the template. Luckily, the site is built so the template can be revised without having to redo the entire site… one of the positive aspects of the progress of the web!

Look around. What have you learned that has made something you did before obsolete? What have you outgrown that needs a change? Are you nagging yourself to get the change done without acknowledging the growth that necessitates the change?

I Don’t Read Your Emails Anymore

Yeah you, FaceBook “Friends”! I don’t read your teleseminar emails, your “join this” emails, or your “special deal” emails. Nope! I trash ’em!

I have some real friends on FaceBook. You know, the kind who actually KNOW me, that have talked to me about something real, who have taken the time to be a real person to me. If they ask me to join something (which they only do if they are reasonably certain I will be interested – see, they KNOW me well enough to know that!), then I read their message, and consider it.

But if all I have ever seen of you is your name in an ad, you haven’t got a chance. If you email me on a regular basis with ads, and have never taken the time to so much as look at my profile (by which you’d know I’m death on internet marketing spam tactics!), then you are going to be trashed without being read. In fact, I won’t even read the TITLE of the email (yours are so long that all I ever see in my email program is your name… you know, the hypy one that is too long…). I never SEE the great thing you are trying to advertise, all I see is your name and BLIP! You’re GONE!

I’m a nice person. At least, most of the people who know me say that (if you ask my teenage daughter who is in a mood, she might not agree, but the prevailing concensus is that I’m not mean). I don’t like getting snotty about this. But sometimes I think that this is all that certain people will HEAR!

I’m also NORMAL! Virtually EVERYBODY, except internet and social networking greenies, react the same way I do. They don’t have time for people like you! Their life is full of meaningful relationships, urgent tasks, and offers from trusted sources. Why in the world would they even bother to read your ad when you haven’t bothered to try to even get to know them?

You may think you are following the rules – you may think that your PM blasts fit some rule of “relationship building”. They don’t. They are ads. In a world saturated with ads. Everybody is screaming, and nobody is listening to anyone who hollers. They are listening to those who quietly talk to them, person to person.

Next week, I’ll be unfriending anyone who sends me regular PM blasts who doesn’t even know my name. I encourage everyone who reads this to do the same. They can all go and holler to themselves. The rest of us have a real life, and a real business, and we’re too busy succeeding to listen to your immature irritations.

If you need to know how to do it right, I’m always willing to help – and that ISN’T an ad. Countless people will tell you I’ve offered them free resources that were solid, or gave advice without cost that was invaluable. I don’t want to stop anyone from succeeding. I just want to help them get out of their own way, and stop irritating the very people they ought to be befriending!

Why are You Really in Business?

I find that most business owners have not really put a lot of thought into WHY they are in business, beyond “I like doing this.” or “I want to make money.” They haven’t thought about their own driving motivations.

It is really valuable to figure out what your real purpose in business is. Much like the true product in marketing, the real purpose is often abstract, or seemingly unrelated to the day to day tasks.

My purpose is to strengthen families. Most of my clients are parents, many are stay at home moms. Of course, I serve single people too. But underneath all my goals for helping businesses succeed, is the purpose of making life more affordable and manageable for families. By offering success services, I help them afford to care for their families.

So what is your REAL purpose? Beyond making money or creating or selling a product or service, what is the goal that gets you out of bed each morning?

If you identify that, and work toward making that more evident, then your business takes you places in interesting ways. It becomes something unexpected. Our business grant is a result of that. Bad Behavior Stand Alone came from that. We are working on other software tools development to further that purpose. I train webmasters for that reason. I constantly work to produce more, for less, and profit more, because of that. Because my success leads to the success of others, and that helps families survive.

Because this is my goal, it changes HOW I teach, and it changes what I do. It makes ethics paramount. It makes the methods I teach ultra clean, it means I must be able to do things differently because my goal is not just to be another web designer. It is to create something different and better, that makes the world, and families, better.

Take some time to brainstorm, and figure out why you are really in business, and what your long term goal is at a deeply personal level. It may surprise you. And it may be the key to unlocking potentials you never anticipated.

A Tiny Choice, An Immeasurable Result

It didn’t seem like that big of a choice at the time. I mean, it was sort of a scary choice to make, and I knew that it was one of those “letting go of the security blanket” type choices. I thought I knew what it meant at the time. I didn’t. And when I realized what the choice ACTUALLY meant, I was astonished at how it contributed to the defining aspects of our business, and even our identity as business owners and service providers.

This has happened to me over and over. It hasn’t been a single choice, but many, which have shown this pattern. A small choice, which seemed a little against logic, but which we made because in spite of the fear attached, it felt right. And then the impact unfolding into an eye opening concept. I’ll tell about three of those choices:

1. Years ago. I chose to do flat rate pricing instead of hourly rates. Scary… what if I underestimated? But I did it because it felt right. It has been more than a defining aspect of our business. It has been totally empowering. I didn’t have to track hours while balancing children and business. I saved that time I’d have put into tracking hours. I no longer had an earning ceiling. The faster I worked, the more I made. WOW! That has been huge also.

2. Making the choice to train my own competition, without holding back any trade secrets or empowering information. Scary at first. But the impact on our business even in the last two months since making that choice, has been huge. It is like a whole new world of potentials and possibilities have opened, and the things that are coming back to us are just incredible. I never could have predicted how good this one choice would be.

3. Making the choice to drop HTML sites and focus on dynamic sites. Since that choice was made, new opportunities have opened up. Not only that, but we feel more capable of pursuing certain things that we felt inadequate to do before. Our focus on making our dynamic site services better, has sharpened. Our vision of what we need to do next, has become more clear.

Each of those decisions seemed at the time like a small one, even though the philosophy we had to overcome was a major limiting one. How easy it would have been to say, “Nope, I’ll just do it the way everyone else does.”, and dismiss the idea to change. How easy it would have been to be caught in the rut that would have limited our potentials.

Those decisions that we make, which go against conventional wisdom, and which our mind tries to minimize into insignificance when we fear taking the leap, are often the most important ones. The ones that define us as unique, and which give exponential power to our growth potentials.

Where we are today, compared to where we were even two months ago, is astronomically different! Better, bigger, more exciting! And I can see, that if I had failed to make the choice for flat rate pricing 10 years ago, and then reaffirm it each time we grew or offered a new service, we would not have grown this much, and we would not have as much potential to grow further. I can see that the choice to train my competition is a fundamental aspect of where we are going now. I can see that the choice to abandon HTML websites and focus on dynamic sites is opening doors and potentials that I was little aware of at the time.

Fear will stop us. Dismissing choices and making them insignificant can in fact make US insignificant. Considering those possibilities, and being willing to take the risk, face the fears and go forward in new directions, can explode our potentials and make us a force to be reckoned with!

Which would you rather be?

Grow a Garden!

Gardening doesn't have to be that hard! No matter where you live, no matter how difficult your circumstances, you CAN grow a successful garden.

Life from the Garden: Grow Your Own Food Anywhere Practical and low cost options for container gardening, sprouting, small yards, edible landscaping, winter gardening, shady yards, and help for people who are getting started too late. Plenty of tips to simplify, save on work and expense.