Amplified by the Web and the connection revolution, human beings are no longer rewarded most for work as compliant cogs. Instead, our chaotic world is open to the work of passionate individuals, intent on carving their own paths.
Another delight from Paul’s Sunday Dispatch newsletter:
Before the (hopeful) purchase: Make sure your leads get to know you before you try and sell them stuff. Educate them, show them why what you’re selling is valuable, show them there’s more than just you talking about your products.
After the purchase: Make sure your customers know how to, then use what they’ve just bought. Teach them the ins and outs or little tricks. Show them what they bought is valuable and how they apply that value to their own lives or businesses.
Building the relationship: Make sure you keep them coming back for more. Give them a reason to. And then treat them like super stars when they do.
Relevant aside: Paul sells a MailChimp training course called Chimp Essentials.
I don’t use MailChimp much these days — I work at GoDaddy and we have GoDaddy Email Marketing, aka GEM — but if you’re a MailChimp user, his course is worth a look. 🙂
Back in September someone recommended that I subscribe to Edmond Lau’s free email series about becoming a successful engineer.
I had no interest in becoming a successful engineer. But I was told that Edmond’s lessons would still be relevant.
I can’t remember who made the recommendation, but they were right.
Surprisingly, launching a mediocre product as soon as possible, and then talking to customers and iterating, is much better than waiting to build the “perfect” product.
Source: YC’s essential startup advice
This applies as much to content and media as it does to products.
Shows take a while to find their footing. Writers take a while to find their voice. Performances take a while to find the flow between talent.
That gap between when you start and when you hit your stride will be a different lengths for different projects. And sometimes you won’t hit your stride at all.
Those times when the recipe is off, when the formula doesn’t work? Those are painful. But the faster you try, and the faster you fail, the less time you’ll waste, and the sooner you’re on to the next thing.
Quick note though: This “move fast and break things” mantra doesn’t apply across the board. There’s a tipping point where risk and responsibility demand a cautious approach. (Lookin’ at you, heart surgeons!)
But there’s a balance, I’m sure, somewhere in the middle, where you can preserve the startup spirit of risk and reward, without abandoning diligence altogether.
One reason that many freelancers burn out is because they offer services, but not products. Services tend to be customized to the client’s need and billed by the hour. Products are customized by you and sold for a flat rate. Products also create the opportunity to create a repeatable process that can be streamlined as you sell more. This means your margins can increase as you are able to work more efficiently and eliminate or automate some of the administrative work that typically goes into services.
If I were to get into freelancing again I’d absolutely structure my services as a product.
Everything else — the labour, the method, the work that gets done to deliver the product — becomes a system to refine and scale over time.
More than ever, paid distribution on Facebook is a crucial tool for driving top-of-funnel engagement and building an audience with the right personas.
It always ends up being pay to play. Get in early before the market prices you out.