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Client testimonials: Your questions answered

Client testimonials: Your questions answered

When you work for yourself there are no performance reviews, no financial incentives and your birthday party is often celebrated by just you and your cat. So testimonials can be a huge source of encouragement, affirmation and joy. But more than that, testimonials are an essential way of boosting business. Why? Well, people believe people. We all know that word of mouth recommendation is hugely powerful. But word of mouth can be a slow method of driving business. That’s where testimonials come in. Even when you don’t actually know the person making the recommendation, the fact is that a personal experience shared by a real person is a persuasive marketing tool. Put simply, client testimonials win more customers.  Client testimonials: Your questions answered #business #testimonials Click To Tweet I’m a new copywriter, can I use testimonials from my previous employers? I think it’s fine to use testimonials from a previous employer as long as you clearly state your previous role, the name of your employer, when you got the testimonial and why you got it. As you build a collection of testimonials for your new business you can gradually replace the old ones. “While blowing your own trumpet is fine, screaming your brilliance on every single page could nauseate rather than persuade.” How do I approach clients about a testimonial? Of course it would be lovely if all testimonials were unsolicited but let’s get real. People are busy and forgetful. They may have loved your service, but simply don’t remember to write something. If you don’t ask, you don’t get and what’s the worst that can happen? They can simply say ‘no’, but...
Take care in online communities: a cautionary tale

Take care in online communities: a cautionary tale

I’ll be honest, I don’t play well with others. I’m always the first to leave the BBQ. The thought of breakfast networking makes me gag on my croissant. And my all-time favourite quote? It’s “Hell is other people.” Take care in online communities: a cautionary tale #business Click To Tweet That’s part of the reason I’m a soloist. But as we all know, solo working can be a lonely old game, so occasionally I venture out from home office hermitage and try to connect with other humans. Virtually of course. Social media seems an obvious place to start, but it can feel like you’re posting into the void. No engagement, no likes, no shares, no nuffink. It’s a one-way street. Or it was, until I discovered online communities. Facebook and LinkedIn have their groups. “BE WARNED: The truth is there’s no such thing as a private community.” Google+ has its communities. These groups and online communities are smaller, friendlier ways to attack the interwebs. They connect like-minded individuals who get to share thoughts, issues, worries and triumphs in a caring, open, cuddly environment. I was hooked. I joined several and set up a few myself. I shared my highs, my lows, my ins and outs, my ups and downs. Whatever direction I was heading in, my community buddies were the first to know. At first it was great. The love and encouragement wrapped out around me like a freshly washed doona. They cared, they listened, they shared and some even became clients. But then I screwed up. I found out a competitor had possibly copied some of my content and...
I know you don’t like me, and that’s okay

I know you don’t like me, and that’s okay

One of the hardest things about being a solopreneur is that it’s all you. There’s no boss or team of minions to hide behind. It’s just little old you as the face and mouth of your business. And deciding how to present yourself can be incredibly tough. “I’m running a business, not a popularity contest.” I know you don’t like me, and that’s okay #business Click To Tweet At first I got it all wrong When I first started in business I saw many other copywriters wearing fluffy jumpers, smiling winningly at the camera, and writing lovely, jolly posts about colons. So I did the same. I pumped out vanilla posts about nothing much, created kitten based inspirational memes, was extraordinarily nice to clients (even when they drove me crazy) and never expressed a strong opinion about anything. But it just didn’t feel right. Those who know me would probably say I am brutally honest, have an odd sense of humour, am fairly generous, and work faster than hamster on crack. So I decided to embrace the me-ness of me. Now my emails are straightforward, my processes tight, my feedback pulls no punches, and my clients talk about my no-nonsense approach, sense of humour and efficiency. But I know my approach isn’t everyone’s cup of chai. I’ve been through my fair share of client break ups. I’ve suffered from seriously nasty social media comments. I’ve survived a negative SEO campaign. And a few months back someone unsubscribed from my email list because of my ‘potty mouth’. But I’m 100% cool with that, because I’m running a business, not a popularity contest. I...
6 big money mistakes I’ve made, and the lessons I learned

6 big money mistakes I’ve made, and the lessons I learned

Before I get stuck in, let me state for the record that I’m not an accountant or financial adviser, and I’m a bit crap at maths. So take the advice in this column with a giant pinch of salt, a slice of lemon and a shot of tequila. So take the advice in this column with a giant pinch of salt, a slice of lemon and a shot of tequila. But since starting my solo business I’ve learned a thing or two about how not to manage my money. I’ve made some bum-clenchingly awful fiscal failures, and fallen into a number of financial holes. (Don’t worry, I managed to claw my way out in the end.) So I thought I’d share some ‘what not to dos’ to save you from the money mistakes I’ve experienced. 6 big money mistakes I’ve made, and the lessons I learned #business Click To Tweet TOON TIP 1: Find an awesome accountant It’s taken me five years, but I’ve finally found an accountant I enjoy working with. My previous relationships have been fraught with unexpected fees, unfathomable advice and unavailability. If you can get a recommendation, great. But if you can’t, try searching the Flying Solo listings to find someone and then speak to them. This is important, because you should feel totally comfortable with your accountant before you let them get their sticky mitts on your dough. TOON TIP 2: Save for the tax monsters You should save enough money to cover your tax (and GST if you pay it) each month, quarter or year. “It’s easy to get so excited about running your own business that...
How to handle hagglers

How to handle hagglers

I’ll admit I’ve never been a good haggler. While visiting the Tunisian souks, whenever the stallholders told me a price I’d simply pay it. My Tunisian husband shook his head in dismay “You’re supposed to bargain,” he scoffed. “It’s what they expect.” But while haggling in the markets might be the norm, is haggling in the business place really the done thing? And how do you handle hagglers when they are angling for a discount? Here are my top tips. “And no, I don’t think publishing pricing makes your sales story just about price, as long as you back it up with proof and quality. “ How to handle hagglers #business #entrepreneurlife Click To Tweet Ask for a budget The best way to stop a haggler is to be clear on their budget right from the start. So I recommend asking for a budget. A lot of people think asking a potential client for their budget is a huge no-no, but I disagree. I’ve found clients who have a budget will happily tell you, and it’s a quick way to gauge whether or not you’re in their price range. Publish your prices There’s something about seeing prices in black and white that makes them more … well, black and white. And no, I don’t think publishing pricing makes your sales story just about price, as long as you back it up with proof and quality. The truth is, at some point every sales transaction is about price. So why not nip that prickly beast in the bud? Ask for a budget. There’s something about seeing prices in black and white #business...
12 online creeps you don’t want to meet

12 online creeps you don’t want to meet

All too often I find myself cringing at the antics of online creeps. I watch them repeatedly putting their digital foot in their mouth, and hope that the web police will swoop in and take them down. But sadly the sirens never sound. And the online creeps keep creeping, seemingly oblivious to their digital faux pas. Unfortunately, the internet doesn’t come with an etiquette handbook. And some people struggle with the rights and wrongs of online behaviour. So I thought I’d share some of the creep types I’ve met online. “Even more unnerving are the ones who studiously ‘like’ all 56 photos you’ve posted on your business’ Facebook page in the past seven years.” Recognise any of them? 12 online creeps you don’t want to meet #business Click To Tweet CREEP 1: The Private Messager You add a quick question in an online forum, and within seconds The Private Messager is filling up your inbox with salesy guff. Now don’t get me wrong. I know the power of the cold call, and their digital equivalents. But frankly they leave me feeling icky. Unless someone asks you to get in touch, sending them unsolicited messages borders on spam. And it’s effing annoying. And then when they follow up their first unwelcome mail with a bleat about your lack of contact. Ugg. CREEP 2: The Facebook Friender The Facebook Friender takes it one step further. Not content with just messaging you they add you as friend, putting you in the awkward position of having to ignore or refuse their request. When did ‘friend’ become a term for some random you’ve interacted with once...
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