Are You You?

Fast Company has a section called How I Get It Done with interesting and useful articles. I just read Business Models For A Modern Artist about Shantell Martin and how she created a business model that suits her. I especially love the following parts of the article.

Martin, who has more than 130,000 Instagram followers, often uses the hashtag #AREYOUYOU. When she first arrived in New York, she had to recalibrate her approach to art. And to keep herself from being drowned in influences from those around her, she began to plaster the surfaces of her new loft with Post-Its marked with, “Who Are You?”

This an important thing for all of us to ponder.

‘Who are you? Are you being you? What’s your goal?'” Martin says. “We’re all trying to just find our way in life. I’m trying to find my way through this language of words and lines and drawings.”

The ending text is brilliant (in my opinion) – simply try to be a better human being.

My focus is on simply trying to be a better human being: try and eat better, drink better, think better. Just try, and try, and try. The more that you try to be a better human being, the more you want to do what you love to do. And for me, that’s drawing

You can read more about her and her work at Shantell Martin.

The value triangle

The value triangle has three corners — fast, great and cheap.

  • Fast, because sometimes you value getting something quickly.
  • Great, because sometimes you value getting something of high quality.
  • Cheap, because sometimes you value getting something for a low prize.

Inexperienced customers often demand to get all three corners of the triangle, but this isn’t possible. You can only get two of them. Because something always got to give.

Some will tell their customers that they can provide all three, but this is more often than not a scam to get someone to buy something — often just once, because this isn’t exactly a model for repeat business.

When someone buys something based on the promise that it will be fast, great and cheap, they’re really setting themselves up for disappointment. Ultimately, they have themselves to blame for being naive.

If someone wants something great and fast, price has to come up.

If someone wants something great and cheap, deadlines must be generous.

If someone wants something fast and cheap, quality standards must be lowered.

Customers who refuse to face the value triangle will probably protest and blame you, but that doesn’t make them right. You’ll probably loose them as customers, but as they believe they can hurt you by “taking their business elsewhere”, you know the actual truth: Their business was never any good to begin with and they’re actually doing you a favour by choosing to hassle one of your competitors instead.

Source: Doktor Spinn

Decide Who To Please

Over at Leadership Freak is The People You Try to Please Control You. It’s an interesting post.

Drucker said, “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”

You are all about pleasing customers. Pleasing others, however, presents problems for you.

You can not please everyone, not even every customer. Be selective.

Key to Failure

The post at Leadership Freak brought this quote to my mind:

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. – Bill Cosby

Key to Success

Instead of trying to please everybody – decide who matters and who you shall please.

Who matters to you? Who shall you please?

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees

Jim’s Marketing Blog is a new favourite of mine. Jim’s posts are often short but his posts make me think about the topic in question. That’s a good way to move your business forward.

Today I found his series about How to attract the best clients and the highest fees, a topic that is highly relevant to many of us (me included).

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees: Part 1 is about developing a uniquely valuable service.

I’m sure you have heard the saying; everyone in business is a problem solver!
The suggestion is sound. It confirms the fact that every business exists, to solve at least 1 problem. The bigger the problem, the fewer people there are who can solve it, and the more money they can charge for providing the answer.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees: Part 2 is about the difference between what people pay for and what people buy.

Smart business owners understand that people pay for the product or service you offer, but they buy the experience.

How to attract the best clients and the highest fees: Part 3 is about the commercial value of originality.

If you want to attract the best clients and the highest fees, you need to understand the commercial value of originality.

Read more in Jim’s posts and while there, subscribe to his blog.

7 Mistakes Seth Has Made Managing People

In the spirit of looking back and learning from past mistakes, @sethsimonds posts about 7 Mistakes I’ve Made Managing People. It’s a great post and we can all learn something from his list. Here is an overview of the seven mistakes that Seth made, for details visit his blog post.
• I failed to verbally acknowledge stressful moments
• I maintained pet peeves
• I neglected consistent contributors
• I overlooked individual goals in pursuit of business targets
• I failed to show the people working for me that I cared about them as individuals
• I failed to take proper care of myself
• I spent more time optimizing machines for pennies than I did investing in people for dollars

Seth has a very simplistic blog design, using the K2 theme. I like his description in the About-page:

I’m a writer, avid reader, tea-enthusiast, and know how to put just the right amount of lime in a gin-and-tonic.

This was originally posted at Bengt’s Notes, another blog of mine.

What are they buying?

I saw this on Twitter yesterday, a condensed lesson in business.

People are not buying what you are selling.
They are buying the result of what you are selling.

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

Are you an entrepreneur or a freelancer?

Bootstrapping means starting a business without external investors or debt finance. Seth Godin has written a book about this. Over at ChangeThis is a version available as ebook, The Bootstrapper’s Bible. I have re-read my copy and in the book is a great explanation of entrepreneur and freelancer.

A freelancer sells her talents. While she may have a few employees, basically she is doing a job without a boss, not running a business. Layout artists, writers, consultants, film editors, landscapers, architects, translators and musicians are all freelancers. There is no exit strategy. There is no huge pot of gold. Just the pleasure and satisfaction of making your own hours and being your own boss.

An entrepreneur is trying to build something bigger than herself. She takes calculated risks and focuses on growth. An entrepreneur is willing to receive little pay, work long hours and take on great risk in exchange for the freedom to make something big, something that has real market value.

The entrepreneur is comfortable raising money, hiring and firing, renting more office space than she needs right now. The entrepreneur must dream big and persuade others to share her dream.

The freelancer on the other hand can focus on craft. She can most easily build her business by doing great work, consistently.

According to these definitions I as coach am a freelancer, I am selling my talents.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

How and why startups fail

I came across an interesting article at Signal vs Noise about How “Why Startups Fail” Fails.

The article at Signal vs Noise comments on Why Startups Fail.

I love the end of Jason’s post since it sorts out responsibility:

Natural disasters are out of our control, bad business decisions are in your control.

Putting the blame elsewhere does not help to change things. We need to know and remember who is in control.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

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