Can I pick your brain?

Can I pick your brain?

Can I pick your brains?

Do you ever get asked this?  I do constantly.  By people who have been given an inch in the past and then want to come back and take a mile.

These, without fail, are people who I have helped for free in the past and then think they can take advantage of this generosity.

I really do find it incredible how often people who already a decent income, and would never dream of giving anything themselves, will ask for time and information that will make or save them a significant amount of money, but they aren’t prepared to pay for the answer.

Among messages I have received are:

  • Can I pick your brains?
  • Just a quick question to run by you…
  • Let’s meet up for a coffee. I have something I would love to chat with you about.
  • How about lunch so I can have a chat about my business? My shout for a sandwich and a coffee.

Hmm, now let me think about these for a moment …

How about NO!!!

A sandwich and a coffee aren’t going to pay my bills.  The time I spend on lunch would also be wasted time that could be better spent looking after my paying clients.

But for some people, they honestly believe that I should give them my valued time and attention for nothing.  They think they should pay absolutely zero for:

  • The wisdom I have found from the hundreds of books I have read
  • The lessons I have learnt from the thousands of hours I have studied
  • The expertise I have built up whilst gaining my qualifications and accreditations
  • The knowledge I have gained from the mentors and coaches I have worked under
  • The practical experience I have from working with hundreds of small businesses over the years
  • The insights to the mistakes I have made whilst building my own businesses and how to avoid them
  • The solutions I have found from the thousands I have spent in learning and practical applications
  • The know-how and learning I continue to build daily from running my own successful business

They don’t want to put the time and effort in to learn all this themselves.  They want me to give it to them for free.

And I bet you get asked this too.  Too often we want to help everyone and start to feel guilty for saying no to free requests.  Go write down all the things that you have learned that are of value to others like I have done above.  And when someone asks you for free advice for the umpteenth time, go back to this list and realise how much your knowledge is worth.  I’m not saying don’t give away free info when building relationships but I am saying turn away those that your gut is telling you are taking you for a ride.

When I get these type of requests now, I tend to reply with:

“Thanks for reaching out to me but my diary is so packed at the moment that I can only take calls and meet with paying clients. Thanks for understanding.  And of course, if you would like to see me as a paid client you can book at …”

And do you know what happens next?  9 times out of ten I never hear from them again.  Surprise surprise!

Not my ideal client in the slightest.

If you get asked this and aren’t sure how to reply, try my message above.  Be fair both to yourself and to those that value you enough to pay for your services.  You are worth it.

 

Getting in the right mindset for business

Getting in the right mindset for business

This month in my business club, I am working with the ladies on getting into the right mindset for business.  But why is this so important.

Well, it’s as simple as this.  You can have the best product or service out there, you can know everything there is to know about how to market it to your ideal client, but if you don’t have the right mindset, you just won’t have the confidence to go out there and go after those paying clients.

You may well dabble a little here and there but you will get sporadic results.  You will stumble when asked for a discount and may well end up giving one!  You may start to lose motivation when you get rejected by someone and you find out they buy elsewhere.

Getting in the right mindset is critical and the very first thing you need to before anything else when building a business in my opinion.  Forget reading up and watching more webinars on how to grow sales through Facebook until you truly believe in yourself and your product and are prepared to stand up and shout it out from the rooftops how fabulous you are.

And once you have that cracked, as fired up and enthused as you may be about creating your own business, it will take hard work, commitment and personal investment on your own part along with self-responsibility for making things happen.

There is no point sitting and dreaming about what you are going to do.  You have to get off your backside and do it!

Putting it quite simply …

Action takers win

The following tip is from one of the wonderful ladies in my business group. We were talking about how it’s ok doing all your planning and getting motivated, but at some point you are simply going to have to take action.

Karen Thomas from Red Oak Coaching showed us an example of what she uses in her workshops.  She held a tealight in her hand and asked everyone to close their eyes and really focus on blowing out the candle.  The reality of course was that when everyone opened their eyes, the candle was still lit.

It was only when someone took action and used their breath that the candle was able to be blown out.  It’s all very well having plans and dreams but basically until you get off your arse and take some action, nothing is going to materialise.

Harsh but fair.

And Karen has allowed me to share her video with you to watch.

What are you going to take action on today?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

 

Related article: Having the mindset of a successful business owner

 

How To Supercharge Your Business (And Life) With One Powerful Tip

How To Supercharge Your Business (And Life) With One Powerful Tip

Guest post by Hazel Butler from The Write Copy Girl

 

A few years ago I was in a really bad way. Severe illness had decimated my health and career. A disastrous relationship had gutted me emotionally. My life had gone up in flames (literally, my ex set the house on fire). I was living in my mum’s box room, flat broke, in tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt, and utterly devoid of hope.

Starting my own business was a revelation for me. Working on my terms, to my timetable. I could focus on what I love (writing), earn a living, and still have time to work on my health.

Entrepreneurship was a gift from the gods, truly, but it wasn’t half a lot of work…

How I Escaped The Eternal Hamster Wheel…

For the first couple of years I did okay. I paid down my debt. Everything ticked over. But I was nowhere near the income level needed to bust me out of the rut in which I was myred. I craved independence, freedom, an escape from the eternal hamster wheel of marketing (not to mention my mother’s box room). I’d done all the courses, watched all the vlogs, read all the blogs; I’d devoured everything I could find on digital marketing but something wasn’t quite clicking.

It was kind of working.

I had clients, money was coming in, I was steadily raising my profile, it just wasn’t enough

Enter Angie Taffs: The Woman Who Changed My Business (And Life)…  

Hustling my butt off for a couple of years had one tangible benefit: I had a lot of friends and contacts in the entrepreneurial world. One of those was Angie. I was a member of her Facebook group, and had been following her for a while, so when a webinar she was running popped up in my newsfeed, I jumped right on it.

Little did I know…

Angie’s webinar was a revelation. She shared one fairly simple tip for managing clients and it transformed my business. I honestly wouldn’t have believed how powerful it was until it actually happened.

The premise is really simple: give people a free sample of what you can do; leave them craving more.

Yes, free.

Not a freebie, or a download, a cheat sheet, or a blog/vlog, an actual sample of your paid products or services.

I baulked at this to begin with. Badly. I’m a copywriter. Offering a free sample of my work meant a lot of work for me. Writing a whole blog post, in fact. But Angie’s explanation made a great deal of sense, and while I was going great guns building my tribe, I was really struggling to convert them.

Educating them on the benefits of hiring a copywriter to produce regular, awesome content was easy enough. Getting them to take that final leap was considerably harder.

Hiring a freelancer is scary.

Seriously.

What if they’re a bad fit? What if they can’t really write? What if they take your money and don’t deliver? What if, what if, what if…

Allaying Their Fears And Showing My Chops…

Much as it made me flinch, I had faith. I began offering a free blog post. No strings, no catch. An actual, bonafide, free version of a service that would usually set you back (at that time) £25.

Totally free.

This did two things: allayed my tribe’s fears and concerns about making that final leap; and allowed me to really show my writing chops. It’s one thing to say you’re a great copywriter, it’s quite another to hand over a shining, polished, perfect example of exactly what you can do for a person’s business, complete with all the bells and whistles (in my case, royalty free images, memes, and a week’s worth of Tweets…yes, still for free!).

The Results Of Angie’s One Super Powerful Trick…

The response was phenomenal.

In marketing, a 2% conversion rate is reasonably good. 5% is good. 10% is epic. Anything above 10% is magical wildfire of supernatural origin.

The free post I instigated using Angie’s method has…wait for it… a 75% conversion rate.

Not kidding.

75%!

Yes, it’s a lot of work writing them, but it’s so worth it!

Here’s How You (More Than) Double Your Income…

You want serious numbers? I analysed the conversions on my free blog post, here’s what I found…

  • Three out of four people who sign up for a free post become paying clients.
  • Of those clients, one in three spend an average of £35 on a one-off service.
  • One in three spend an average of £300 on either a one off service bundle, or repeat business in lower-ticket items.
  • One in three spend an average of £3,500 on monthly blog packages (and that’s just how much they had spent in December 2016 – most are still monthly clients, so that figure gets higher every month!).
  • One in three of these new clients recommend me to a friend, who sign up for their own free post, or simply buy a service outright, to the tune of £500 a piece (again, on average, again, growing each month!).
  • The financial reward I receive is over £1,000 per free blog post I write (including those that don’t convert) and growing monthly.

Supercharge Your Business

The Bottom Line…

Since I started running this offer, my business has thrived. I soon had a gaggle of clients. I put my prices up, expecting to lose a fair few. I didn’t lose any. I kept on hustling, and before the year was out I was debt free, and living in a house of my own. I invested more in the tech needed to action Angie’s epic system, and experienced another big boom in my income.

I had more clients than I could handle.

After rebranding and refocusing entirely on copywriting, I put my prices up again.

The free posts I offer are now worth £55 a piece, and they are still available for free to all new clients. I’ve not done the maths on the offer since the end of 2016, but I can tell you that my monthly income has more than doubled since then. Angie’s offer isn’t the only thing affecting that; I launched a new vlog in January that had a massive impact. But content marketing can only get you so far. It builds you tribe, it grows your list, but you still need that ineffable magic charm that converts your audience into paying clients.

That gives them the final shove.

Of all the coaches I’ve worked with, watched, read and listened to, Angie is the only one who showed me exactly how to do this. For that reason alone, I refer to her as The Woman Who Changed My Business.

But she didn’t just change my business, she also transformed my life.

If you want your business to be the mechanism that enables you to live a happy, fulfilling life of freedom, doing what you love best, this girl can show you how…

Thanks, Angie, you’re an absolute superstar!

 

 

Many thanks to Hazel Butler from The Write Copy Girl for this wonderful guest post.  Having feedback like this fills me with joy and makes all my work worthwhile.

Angie x

 

How To Make Sure You Get Paid On Time

How To Make Sure You Get Paid On Time

Do you want to get paid on time

Sorting out collecting in payments due to your business really is critical as you will spend far too much time chasing outstanding payments (as you may already be finding) and your cash flow may be so adversely affected your business is put in jeopardy.

To make sure you get paid on time, follow these tips below:

Decide Your Payment Terms

Decide when you want to be paid and make this clear to your client.  Don’t let the client dictate to you.

Depending on your business you may decide upon 30 days payment, 14 days, immediate payment or payment up front before any work is undertaken.

And you don’t have to stick to just one payment term for all your clients.  You can amend them dependent upon who you are working with.

I have used a variety of payment terms in the past (and still do).

For my freelance work with large corporations that I have a good working relationship with, I work on 14 days payment due after the work is delivered.  With business advice and consultations with individuals, I work on payment up front before any meetings take place.  When I run my local workshop, I allow payment on the day.

For larger projects, you may consider splitting the payments and I do this when I release one of my more expensive courses.  I ask for a percentage up front followed by 3, 6 or 12 monthly payments, depending on the type of course I am delivering and its length.

It’s your business, you know your cashflow (or you should!) and you decided what works for you.

Have a Contract

Once you’ve decided what you will be providing and when and how you want payment, you need to get this all written up in a formal contract that will be agreed and signed by your client.

Clearly state the payment details, what you will deliver in return for payment and what happens if a payment is missed or late.

Personally, I add a late payment charge into my terms and conditions and make it clear this will be automatically added to the client account if payment is not received within 48 hours of the due date. I also add that all work will cease until full payments have been received. I put in an explanation that this charge is to cover administrative costs in chasing payments and for not adhering to contracted terms and conditions.

Once you have your contract written up, make sure all details are included such as your name, business name, contact details and client details.  Sign it, date it, send two copies to your client and ask them to do the same before returning one to you and keeping one for their own records.

When I first did this many moons ago, I was afraid this may put off potential clients.  I know realise this is one of the most sensible things I have done as if anyone does not agree with these terms, I don’t want to do business with them.  Paying clients are what I want, not freeloaders.

A contract also helps should there ever be any query about a payment in the future as you can both refer back to the agreements that has been signed by both parties (yes, you must get them to sign before you start any work!)

Collecting payment

One of the easiest ways to administer collecting payments is to use accountancy software. I personally use FreeAgent where I have all my payment terms laid out and once a contract is agreed, I create recurring invoices to be sent on due dates. It is also possible to send reminders prior to the invoice due date to remind clients to pay and to automate unpaid invoice reminders.

On each of these reminders, I highlight the fact that a late payment will be automatically added should the payment not be received. This relieves me of having to send individual emails to clients and the yucky feeling that can sometimes be felt when chasing payments. It really is a huge time saver.

After having a few late payments and introducing this system, I have only ever had one defaulter.

Below are a number of different financial software solutions for you to have a look at. There will many more out there but this is a small selection to consider. Yes, there is a cost to these but if it saves you stress and gets your payments in, it will be well worth it.

FreeAgent

Package prices start at £19.99 + vat PCM. I heard so many good things about this that I just had to to switch to it myself and now don’t know how I ran my business without it. I just love it. If you want to use it you can get a 10% discount by using this link

Freshbooks

A free option for just one client. Package prices start at $19.99 PCM

Kashflow

Pricing starts from £5 + vat PCM for sole traders. Has add-on features such as CRM.

Quickbooks

Pricing starts from £9 PCM. A simple calculator to see which package is best for your business.

Xero

Pricing starts at £9 PCM for up to 5 invoices. Lots of add-on features

 


Use the tips above and save yourself time and stress of getting those much-needed payments in and make sure you get paid on time

Do you have any tips of your own on how to get paid on time?  Share them in the comments box below

 

If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?

If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?

Right then ladies.  I have had a few calls for help just lately from women who are setting up their business or in the very early stages. They have come to me as they are feeling so overwhelmed when going on social media and seeing how many others there are doing the same as them and who are more experienced and more qualified.

This awful realisation is stopping them dead in their tracks and leaving them feeling deflated and like they ought to give up now.

Well, stop!!!!

When you do look for Facebook groups, DO NOT get put off by the more knowledgeable and qualified people than you.  Take inspiration from them.  If they can do it, so can you.  Think how they got to where they are and be determined to get there as well.  They had to start somewhere and inevitably, when they started they would have had the same issues as you.  The difference is that they ploughed on regardless and remained absolutely determined to get where they are today.

A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.

Also, in your industry, people buy people.   They will choose who they connect with and who they feel comfortable with rather than who has the most letters after their name.  Think about what qualities you have that your competitors don’t.  This could be quite something as simple as your location, your age (does a 70-year-old woman really want to be advised how to do her make up by a 20-year-old? – maybe, but quite possibly not), your positioning in the market place and a whole host of other reasons.

I once decided not to use someone purely because of her voice.  Yes, it sounds crazy but her voice really grated on me and I just couldn’t listen to her.  Accents can also play a part here.

And at the end of the day, think about how many people are out there who need your service.  They can’t all be served by just a couple of people.  There is more than enough work to go around for everyone.

So, stop being self-defeatist before you have even started.  List all your qualities and start to keep a list of all the reasons that people WOULD deal with you rather than focusing on why they wouldn’t.

Come on.  Start to believe in yourself because quite simply, if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?

How Many Sales Have You Lost Through Broken Promises

How Many Sales Have You Lost Through Broken Promises

Have you been breaking promises just lately?

“What?” I hear you exclaim!  Me?  Break promises?  Never!

Well good on you if you don’t because I have discovered there are far too many out there who do.  And I bet they are losing numerous sales because of it without even realising.

Over the past couple of months, I have been promised numerous things from thank you gifts for completing surveys, to information sheets following up treatments to trial samples of products.  And these have failed to be delivered.

At first, I wondered if it was just me.  But then I started to notice a few times on social media where someone had run a promotion, promised to send the prize to the winner, but had failed to do so.  The winner had turned from being delighted to being somewhat narky having to ask when they were going to receive their prize.

And I have to be honest, when someone promises me something that I haven’t asked for I am delighted and excited.  But when said item fails to materialise, I feel a little narked.  Why did they bother offering anything in the first place.

Before you go making quick off the cuff promises to impress, think carefully if you can actually deliver on your promise.  And if you can, get organised!!  Carry a notebook or diary at all times and write down what you have promised to do.  And then do it!

If you don’t keep your promise, you could well lose future sales.

I purchased from a lady recently and was fully prepared to buy again.  When chatting to her she promised to send me a free gift to try first.  When it failed to arrive, I felt that she didn’t really care about my custom and didn’t really care if I went back and purchased again or not.  So, I didn’t.  And I am sourcing someone else to buy from.

If you don’t keep up your end of the bargain, buyers will lose trust in you.  They won’t believe that you will able to deliver in the future and so may take their hard earned money elsewhere.

Go back and look through past prospects and clients.  Did you promise anything that you failed to deliver?  If so, see if it’s not too late to rectify the situation and gain that trust back.