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Growth is One

Growth is One

As an online business, we all want more clicks, more contacts, and more sales.  Nothing strange there at all. Not a week goes by where I have an email or a conversation with a client or a prospect that in summary goes like this. My website really isn’t doing that well Even more specifically I had a call this week with a Cork business who have a shop in the city and up to 2 months ago they’re were doing about 1K a month in sales.  Not a lot really but they were happy enough with it as it was “handy money” as we say in Cork. But his sales had all of a sudden stopped. So why do I point this out?  Well the person had no before and after measurements.  He didn’t know what his site visitor numbers were and if they had dropped.  Simple logic is if your site visitors drop your sales drop.  In addition, he was doing precious little marketing or optimisation of his site. This is very very typical.  Most website companies either don’t install analytics or if they do they  don’t  spend time showing customers how to check this information (nor is it usually part of the service).  So you may have data but never checked. Growing your websites visitors is hard work and I always advise customers to focus on getting one customer one lead and how to do it.  How to do it detailed but if you focus on what your typical customer is looking for and spend a lot...

10 Reasons Working for Yourself Rocks

10 Reasons Working for Yourself Rocks

Working for yourself is no bed of roses. It is laden with challenges, trials and long hours. But I am doing what I love (seriously) and would not swap it for a better paying job (well it would have to be a WAAY better paying job). I took the leap about 8 years ago after doing it as a sideline for years just as the economy crashed so I know exactly how hard it is. Thank goodness things are now improving but even when times were brutally hard I still jumped out of bed and hit the office early and rocked into my work. Here are 10 reasons why I love working for myself and most importantlyat home. 1. Music I love music. I turn on Spotify in the morning and from Boney M to Thrash Metal there is music playing all day long while I work. I create playlists for gigs I plan to go to (using a cool web tool called XXXX). I know maybe in your office you can listen on your headphones but some days I have music playing full blast to motivate me as I try and hit a deadline. Which leads me to the next point 2. My Deadlines Don’t get me wrong if I don’t get work complete I don’t get paid but I set my own deadlines and when something comes up with life that means I can’t work on a day then I can reset the deadlines (within reason). I...

Money, Freelancing and Hourlies

I like money.  I don’t  care about lots of it which is lucky as I don’t  make tons of it.  I make a living and when asked by people who work in salaried positions how is work going I honestly answer like this. Not too bad.  Some months are great, some are OK and some are awful.  Thank goodness the awful months are way less than when I started out But boy I have made mistakes and I still do.  But here are some tips that have helped me enormously to improve my revenue stream and to get more business.  None of them are mystical or weird but just what I do.  I double down on them when I think things are going badly. Don’t Work for an Hourly Rate Ever Never under pain of water boarding quote an hourly rate.  Its ridiculous.  I can do now in 10 minutes what took me 3 hours 2-3 years ago.  Do I charge less.  Hell no.  Correspondingly I have laboured over tasks that I thought would take 10 minutes into the wee hours as I underestimated the effort.  So quoting hourly is a mistake. This is often where you can get into philosophical discussions about what you should charge.  I am not going to go there as different people have different expenses and lifestyles and yours will differ wildly.  All I can share is how I get work. Last year in the web design space I reached out under a pseudonym to over 100 web design companies for a price for...

Conversion Optimisation

Conversion Optimisation

It’s no secret, most people want to increase their website traffic. People usually assume that lots of visitors = lots of inquiries, sales and well money. However, the number of site visitors often needs to be peeled back to look at what the typical mix of visitors is. Analysing Website Visitors 101 Let’s say you have 100 visitors in a day. First, you need to consider how many of those people are “accidental tourists”.  In other words, people who stumbled upon your link and clicked on it.  They arrived at the website, but immediately knew they were in the wrong place, so they bounced off the website. This is unavoidable. They were looking for information on cats, and you had information on dogs. It happens. It is highly unlikely that every website visitor that comes to your site does so in earnest and is going to spend substantial time there.   You see it a lot in bloggers media kits where the number of site visitors is shown as a headline statistic. On average, as many as 40% of those visitors to your website are what I call “accidental tourists”. Which means that of 100 visitors per day 40 (and often up to 70) don’t hang around too long. Retaining Your Visitors If the idea of having people come to your website in error and then leaving is bad enough, what about the thought that they could be coming to your website and then leaving because they don’t find what they want? A service or product that...

The New Org Chart

The New Org Chart

There was a time when if you wanted to expand you hired a sales person and put them on commission or salary.  He blended in nicely with the receptionist, the accountant and the HR manager (puke).  Everything was sweet. No longer. There is a new gun in town. It is the Internet Marketing Manager. It might be a full time person or it might even be you doing the leg work. It is no longer “that Internet thing” it is the business channel that can generate a significant part of your revenue. Making the optimal use of it is critical. Now I don’t like using the word critical too often it is loaded with fear and anger but in this case it is. I assume the same was said many years ago when people moved from horse and cart to mechanised transport. There were people who felt the reliability and the predictability of the horse and cart wouldn’t be surpassed. Similarly with the typewriter to the PC. The only word of caution is setting your expectations. Not a day goes by when I hear of a business that is making a fortune online alone. I treat the numbers with suspicion but not the core business concept in most cases. Yes you can make money purely from an on line presence and most definitely from a bricks and mortar business combined with said online presence. Why haven’t you started? Thinking of the horses perhaps?

Content is Prince

Content is Prince

I read and surf countless blogs and groups and social media where people look to get the perfect theme. Stop right now. Even the simplest theme will work for you if your message is honest from the heart and not badly written. Sure amazing writing will do better, sure nice images help, sure the latest widget will do something (or other). But get the first thing right.  The message. Still looking for that slider and that pop up. Didn’t I say stop? My number one SEO tip is writing till your fingers bleed. Check spelling, check grammar, makes it succinct.  Then market like hell. Will the slider or the widget help? Who cares. Get writing, creating, making it great.  Your great will resonate.  Put that on a billboard. Go now.

People Per Hour and Me

People Per Hour and Me

I joined PeoplePerHour some time ago. I have used contractors myself on Upwork for many years (and can share how I get the get the best people there some other day) but I wanted to see if I could use PeoplePerHour to get some more work on board and to fill any gaps I have in my workload. I use my own contracted team and myself to do these jobs. I think the approach here would apply to any contracting website (like Upwork and Freelancer) really but is here how I approached it on PPH.  I plan to try it also on Freelancer and Guru but need to free up some bandwidth and automate even more to get jobs there. MY GOAL My goal using PPH is to make money.  I am quite happy to make $50 on a job that I quote $100 on.  To explain (referring contractors).  I have a very established contracting team who all nearly work for me full time with the flexibility to do other work.  So if I win a job for $100 that I haven’t the time to do I give it one of my guys (or gal) and they do it for $50 and I make the balance.    If I can do it alone for $100 then great too.  See details further down. Sounds mercenary but it isn’t.  I do the project management of the client, work really fast get it done, next.  I don’t develop an emotional attachment to the task.  PeoplePerHour is all about...

On Death and Earnings

On Death and Earnings

If you just want to make €22 and make me €22 then click here to sign up for PPH or else read the fascinating blog post I have written. Last week and this week were a bit crazy for me.  My father was in the hospital and my mother in law passed away.  Sad but that’s life. As a result, I didn’t get much work done.  Rushing between two hospitals and the death of my mother-in-law last Friday meant that sitting in front of a Mac working fell way down the priority list. My father is out of the hospital (nothing major) and we are adjusting to the loss of my mother in law this week. Besides the sadness of the loss, it also showed me two things. The first was the importance of charging for work, something I write and rant about a lot but tend to be weak at implementing.  In my Inbox on my return to my desk were a sprinkling of emails from past customers looking for little jobs. I had kept my active projects well up to date through busy triaging on my phone during that past 10 dyas at weird hours. The second was that some day I might not be able to work (or want to)  for an extended time and it is about time I started thing about “the product” that would provide recurring income (yet to be created but lots of ideas).  That is for another post. Small Jobs The word quick, small...

Hustling Like a Hooker

Hustling Like a Hooker

When you work from home you can get lazy.  There are no two ways about it.  The start time moves and the end time move all in the wrong direction.  Now Tim Ferris can have his 4 hour work week all day long but I need to work. When I am not working on client projects I need to be working on marketing – no two ways about it.  I take great holidays and now rarely work weekends. But on occasion, I find myself getting lazy and besides the start times spending a little bit more time not focused on the things that matter.  Her is what I do to kick myself in the proverbial butt. Project List – Fill it Out I, of course, know my projects but spending a half an hour reviewing my projects, cleaning up the activity lists and To-Dos (all in Google Docs clears the mind  Especially when said task lists mean the project can be closed and invoiced.  HAving a line item for every project even if it is marketing or blog posts for yourself shows you your workload and when I scrub it I feel 100 times better. Daily To Do List I use Evernote a lot and when I do create a To Do list my productivity increases.  I also make sure it is an attainable list.  Recently I started linking my To Dos into a weekly list and a Goal list. Goals are so important and I have read hundreds of books on the topic but just last...

A Prospect Isn’t a Customer

A Prospect Isn’t a Customer

I used to get excited when I started out when I got a lead or a prospect. Wooo hooo a new customer. Emm nope. A lead isn’t a customer. They may end up being one and you should work your little tail off putting great proposals, processes and communications in place to ensure that they turn into customers. But you should contain your excitement.  If every lead you got DID turn into a customer then you could start woo hooing all day long but usually it is a small percentage. Here is how I at least try to transform leads into customers. Don’t Be Lazy and Forgetful When I get a lead through whatever medium I reply to them really really quickly.  The reason is that I tend to forget them  if I don’t pump them into my process right away (less so now with Pipedrive) and unless I hop on it I may not follow up. Believe me I don’t have hundreds of leads pouring in my door.  It just slips down my Inbox, I get busy, Twitter burps, the door slams and before I know it, it is too late and I didn’t get back to them  A week in business is like a decade. I did a survey just a few weeks ago in my niche and I found that about 30-40% of people in website design reply the same day.  So if and when you reply quickly you are ahead of the pack. You may already have some level of...