It’s a Traditional Thanksgiving this Year for My Family

It's a Traditional Thanksgiving this Year for My Family

Welp, the big turkey debate (smoked or traditional) in our family has been settled. This year anyway…

Personally, I’m not that excited about turkey. I wanted a Thanksgiving salmon, but that got shot down immediately. I’m just thankful we don’t have any vegans or all hell would break lose, lol.

(I remember now why I don’t host this holiday more often at my house.)

Just kidding. It’s going to be fun! I don’t know how many more holidays we’ll have with my dad so we’re going all out with the traditional stuff which is what he loves, and he’s really looking forward to it.

I did make sure, though, to get myself a growler of my favorite locally-brewed beer, just in case, lol. And we’ll be playing Cards Against Humanity after dinner which is always a hoot.

Today, I did a dry run of my table setting (that’s it in the photo). I’m not a fan of the usual orange and gold fall color theme. I went with rich jewel tones instead: purple and plum, shiny copper, avocado green diamond-cut crystal, smokey blue glass.

I’ve got chafing dishes set up on the buffet so we can keep the serving dishes on the table to a minimum and keep things warmed at the same time. I also figured out the perfect use for all the bright-colored little pompoms I love to make: glass tags! I tied a different color on each glass so everyone knows which one is theirs.

In all honesty, other than being the hostess with the mostest, lol, I don’t have to do a whole lot this year except make the mashed potatoes. My daughter’s boyfriend is making the turkey (he’s a fantastic cook) and everyone else is bringing the rest of the trimmings and sides. Cheers to that!

So Thanksgiving is this Thursday for those of us in the U.S. And Canada celebrated their version last month. I’m curious about your Thanksgiving traditions.

Do you like a more traditional menu, something off the beaten path, or avoiding the whole thing by ordering take-out or going to a restaurant? What are your favorite dishes? Do you have any special traditions you do at your Thanksgiving get-togethers (e.g., games, a special activity, etc.)?

If You Do Nothing Else, These Are Words to Live By

I was reading Brit Marling’s article about Harvey Weinstein yesterday morning. In the first paragraph, she relates some powerful wisdom her mother imparted to her when she was a little girl:

“To be a free woman, you have to be a financially independent woman.”

It’s akin to something Suze Orman always reminds women of: “A man is not a financial plan.”

This is one of the most important reasons I work to help other women in this business earn better, to better understand the economics of business and how the business-to-business relationship with clients works, and teach them the important business skills that are integral to being able to ask for and get professional fees and how to navigate those business conversations: the consultation, pricing, your marketing message, chief among them.

Even if you are not your family’s primary breadwinner, life can change in an instant.

Divorce, illness, death, accidents, acts of nature… there are any number of unforeseeable events that can befall any of us at any moment and put us in the position of having to be the sole provider. Being a single mom is perhaps one of the most important reasons.

This is why my goal is to always show other women how to build a business that can take care of itself, to show them how to create the kind of income they can actually live on whether they are or need to be or should become the primary breadwinner; to establish a business that runs like a business and can scale at any point in time, even if right now you only want to work with one or two clients.

Being financially independent and creating a business that can take care of you and your family if need be is one of the best things you can do for yourself and those you love.

Educating Prospective Clients Has Nothing to Do with Convincing

Educating Prospective Clients Has Nothing to Do with Convincing

You never want to play the “convincing” game in trying to get clients.

“Convincing” is when you waste your time and energy pleading, wheedling, hyping, and otherwise trying to beg and bribe people into working with you.

Talking about how cheap and “affordable” you are and discounting this and giving free that is a form of bribing.

It’s also the way you devalue and debase yourself and reduce the perception of value of the solution you offer in the eyes of clients.

If this is what you have to do to get people to work with you, you’re talking to (and attracting) the wrong audience.

BUT for someone to tell you that you don’t need to educate your prospects about what you do is the height of arrogance and marketing stupidity.

Talk is cheap coming from those who haven’t run an administrative support business in over 20 years. They don’t know the first thing about marketing (much less working with actual clients in the 21st century).

It absolutely IS always your job as a professional service provider to educate your would-be clients.

Educating prospects isn’t about “convincing” anyone to work with you or trying to “sell” them on your solution. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The only people who think that are those who confuse “educating” with “convincing.” That’s because they are marketing illiterate.

Educational marketing or education-based marketing, as this is known in marketing circles, operates on the premise that your clients are intelligent enough to know what they want and make their own decisions. What they need from you isn’t a sales pitch (i.e., “convincing”), it’s information with which they can make an informed, intelligent decision.

Educational marketing isn’t about being invested in the outcome (i.e., getting the client, by any means necessary).

It’s having the healthy professional self-esteem to know that not every prospective client is for you, that you aren’t for everyone, and through an intelligent informational dialogue via your website, you and your right clients will be better equipped to determine fit and choose each other.

Educating your would-be clients and site visitors is about demonstrating an understanding of your target market’s business and industry and the challenges and obstacles they face.

It’s about shedding light on the solutions you offer and the ways you can help them and solve their problems.

It’s about helping them see and understand your solutions in the context of their business, what your support and work together might look like, and how their circumstances can be improved.

None of that is about “convincing” anyone or devaluing yourself and what you offer.

Yes, be a client snob. You only want to work with and invest your time in those who want to work with you.

Those who have a problem you can solve don’t need convincing; they just need to know you understand, how you are unique from anyone else, and why you might be the best choice for them.

This is how educating them in the way I speak of helps them. They crave this information from you, especially in a sea of websites all mindlessly reciting the same, boring thing.

But anyone telling you that you don’t need to educate your market about your solutions knows nothing about marketing.

In fact, educating your market in the right way — educating, not convincing — will help you get more ideal clients and consultation requests.

Freelancing IS Running Your Own Business

See, it’s phrasing like this that is troublesome:

“If you have previous experience freelancing or running your own business…”

Freelancing IS running your own business. It’s not an or; it’s the same thing.

Phrasing like that makes people think it’s something different and separate, which is incorrect.

That’s why we have so many people in the industry who don’t realize that they are not employees, that they are running their own business, that it IS up to them to set the contracts and dictate the rules, etc.

It’s also why you should never use the term “freelancer.” Because it gives everyone the wrong idea all the way around.

What Is Your Favorite PDF Program?

The one I use the most is Power PDF Advanced from Nuance.

It does pretty much everything that Adobe Acrobat does (for example, working with attorneys, I often need to use the Bates numbering capabilities, among others), but I find it easier, more intuitive to use and figure out than Adobe Acrobat.

I also like that I don’t have to pay a subscription; I can just pay the one-time license fee.

It’s a simple fee of $149 for the software license and you don’t have to pay again until such time as you wish to upgrade to a newer version.

I find I don’t really need to upgrade to new versions more than every 3 years or so.

How Can They Have It So Wrong?

It’s astounding to me that there is an entire organization based wholly on a misunderstanding of the law.

While Freelancer’s Union has its heart in the right place, they are utterly wrong about its most basic premise.

Freelancers are not part of the workforce. Freelancers are not “workers.” Freelancers, by definition of law, are self-employed BUSINESS OWNERS.

With articles like this, Freelancers Union is actually perpetuating the idea to employers to continue to disregard and abuse employment laws.

People who are “self-employed” are just that: self-employed. They are not employees or “workers” nor part of the “workforce.” (Those are terms of employment, not business, and have no place in a business-to-business context.)

They are running their own business providing a service. And when you are running your own business, it is up to you — and only you — to provide your own agreements and determine and dictate when, where and how you work, what you charge and everything else that goes along with being self-employed.

If you’re going to combat the problem, THIS is the education you need to be having with the self-employed who don’t understand these legal distinctions.

Freelancers Union could do more good by abolishing the idiotic word “freelancer” because it does nothing to educate the self-employed about their role as a business owner and how to run their business like a business and not work with clients like an employee.

That right there is responsible for nearly 100% of their nonpayment problems. As it is, all they are doing is creating more victims.

How NOT to Choose Your Clients (and What to Do Instead)

How NOT to Choose Your Clients (and What to Do Instead)

One of the best investments you can make in the long-term sustainability of your business, happiness and peace of mind is choosing your clients wisely.

As you grow in your business, your selection process will evolve and your discernment skills will improve.

No matter how young or inexperienced your business is, though, having clients meet at least some minimal criteria before you allow them on your roster will always serve you well.

That’s because choosing to work with shady or otherwise unideal clients will come back to bite you in the butt, one way or another, either sooner or later.

I was reminded recently of a colleague who reached out to me after being approached by a client who raised all kinds of red flags with her.

Being new in business, she asked me what I thought she should do, and I gave her the advice I always give in this situation: trust your gut.

And she, as new people often do, ignored her own wise counsel and all the telltale signs indicating that this was a bad idea and took the client on anyway.

While she found this client’s honesty and integrity questionable, she wanted the experience and was too eager and impatient for clients to let this first one go.

She rationalized this decision by telling herself that it wasn’t her place to judge, that everyone deserves benefit of the doubt, that she would just put blinders on and do whatever honest work she was given and not involve herself in anything beyond that, and that it wasn’t her place to question things.

She wouldn’t engage in anything illegal, unethical or dishonest, she told herself, and what she didn’t know beyond that wasn’t any of her business.

But here’s the thing: It IS your business to question things. You are deluding yourself if you think you can keep it separate and not be complicit.

Well, long story short, this did come back to haunt her, as all her instincts about this client (the ones she chose to ignore) turned out to be accurate.

It came to light that this client was engaging in some disreputable and unethical practices and ended up being sued by several parties.

She was forced legally into all the drama which caused her a lot of stress and anxiety, not to mention diverted her time, attention and energy away from her own business.

Ultimately, this client lost his business and because she had put all her eggs into this one basket, she was left with no client and no income at all. Back to square one.

These were very painful lessons she learned from this experience that caused her serious damage and could have been avoided.

It took her more than a year to start over. But I don’t think she ever gained any confidence back in herself, and it wasn’t long before her enthusiasm for her business petered out and she closed up shop.

The takeaways I hope people can glean from this are:

  1. You can’t separate your values and principles from your business. They are each a reflection of the other.
  2. You can’t associate with dishonest, unscrupulous people and expect to come out unscathed.
  3. You can’t afford to work with shady or otherwise unideal clients. It will cost you in far more ways than you realize with potentially disastrous results you may not be able to recover from. It’s an unwise, unshaky platform on which to build your business and reputation.
  4. All good things come to those who wait. Don’t be so desperate to take on the first client who comes along if they are not a good fit.
  5. Always trust your gut. It won’t ever steer you wrong.
  6. It’s okay to make mistakes. Just be aware that the damage bad clients can do to you can sometimes be devastating. Walk away from any client, immediately, who doesn’t seem like a good fit.
  7. Maintain an abundance mindset. This is not the last or only client in the world. Walking away from problem clients opens you up to attracting better, more positive and ideal ones.
  8. Never put all your eggs in one basket. A good rule of thumb is that no one client should make up more than 20% of your business and income.

What can you do to avoid this trap in your administrative support business?

  1. Sit down now and list the values, standards and principles that are important to you in life. The act of writing things down formalizes these standards and makes them more concrete and tangible. Continue to add to this list throughout the life of your business. Then devise your policies, protocols and procedures around these standards and values.
  2. Create ideal and unideal client profile lists. These lists, again, are extremely useful tools that help you formalize your intentions around choosing ideal clients and avoiding bad ones. As you go along in your business, use these lists to note those traits, behaviors, conditions, etc., that are and are not a fit for you. This will help you be more and more conscious about who you do and don’t want to work with. Any time you are tempted to ignore your standards and gut instincts, pull these lists out for a jolt back to reality.
  3. Always conduct a thorough, formal consultation with each and every client. Don’t take shortcuts with this process. It’s an incredibly important and useful step in helping you identify and choose the most ideal clients for you and your business. (And if you aren’t sure how to conduct a good consultation, you can get my complete, step-by-step guide that will show you exactly how to do it as well as beef up blind spots and make improvements to your existing process.)

You’ve heard some version of the fable of the scorpion and the frog, I’m sure. The bottom-line is this: A slippery eel is a slippery eel. Don’t let one sweet-talk you out of your better judgment.

How about you? Have you ever taken on or been tempted to take on a client you had reservations about? How did it turn out? How did you resolve to do better the next time around? What insights do you have to share with others on this topic?

Paypal Instant Transfer Is Here

Paypal Instant Transfer Is Here!

YAY! I am so excited about instant transfer on Paypal, I can’t even TELL you!

If you use a regular Paypal personal account, you should see the instant transfer option in your Wallet. The standard one-day transfer is still free, but if you’d like to transfer and have your funds available more immediately, you now have that option for a very nominal $0.25 fee.

They have already started the roll-out so if you don’t see it in your account now, you should very soon.

If you have a Paypal Business account (like I do), though, it may appear that you don’t have the instant transfer capability. You do, but there’s a little bit of a work-around to go through.

That’s because the instant transfer was mainly built for consumers, not business.

To make this easier for you, here are the steps for making an instant transfer if you have a Paypal business account:

  1. Go to your Paypal account and add your bank debit card (if you don’t already have it in there).
  2. Download the Paypal consumer app to your smartphone (if you don’t already have it there). The regular consumer app will say simply “Paypal.” If you have downloaded the app that comes up as “Paypal Business,” that’s the wrong one.
  3. Open the app. Go to the balance page. Click on “Manage Balance.”
  4. In the lower right, you should see an option for “Transfer to Bank.” Click on that.
  5. On the page that opens, type in the amount you want to transfer. NOTE: Paypal will deduct the $0.25 fee from any amount you transfer so if you want an even number, be sure to add in the fee. Example: If you want to transfer $1.00, make the transfer amount $1.25.
  6. Once you’ve entered the transfer amount, click “Done” and then “Next” on the page after that. This will bring up the page to choose where you want to transfer the money to. In the event that you already have your bank account linked to your Paypal account, you will see it listed here. DO NOT choose your bank account. That’s because if you have a Paypal Business account, you can’t do instant transfers to bank accounts. Let me rephrase that: You can transfer to your bank account, but it will take the regular 1-day processing time (which is free). The work-around is that if you want to do an instant transfer from a Paypal business account, it has to go to your bank account’s debit card. So, next to your bank account, you should see an option to “Choose.” Click on that and then scroll right on the images until you see your bank debit card listed. That is the one you want to choose if you want an instant transfer. Select that and away you go!

When I did my first test transfer of $1.25 and it took mere seconds for it to show up in my bank account.

I then transferred a larger, more significant amount, and it also showed up in my online bank account nearly instantly. So it’s very fast!!!!

I also confirmed that you can do as many transfers in a day as you like (no limits). The dollar limit per transfer (or maybe it’s per day?) is $10,000.

It used to take 3-4 days for my transfers to go through, which meant I didn’t have access to those funds until the process was fully completed, which is inconvenient.

If I wanted my money sooner and needed it in an account from where I could (for example) make payments to my credit cards, I would have to make a special trip to withdraw the funds I needed, then go to the bank and make a deposit.

What a waste of time and gas. (Not to mention the nuisance ATM fees we’re often charged, grrrr!)

This is going to add so much more ease and convenience and speed to our banking and accounting processes!

Be sure and let your clients know also as many of them use Paypal, too. This may open up additional options and convenience for them in billing their clients and moving funds around more quickly.

Have you tried Paypal instant transfer out yet? Are you excited to try it out? What do you think?

Reaching for the Heights

AHMAHGAHHHH, this is so cute!

Also, I can’t help but think how perfectly this resembles building our businesses:

We start at the bottom, often knowing little or nothing about business, looking up at what seems like an insurmountable height, and s-s-s-t-r-e-t-c-h-h-h-h ourselves to reach upward, outside of comfort zones, attaining new knowledge, growth and confidence at every next stage, one foot after the other.

It’s why I always say: slow and steady, with everything in its due time and course, wins the race.

When you are impatient, try to cut corners and take shortcuts, you miss out on vital, necessary foundational learning and understanding that is going to help you succeed in rising to the next level.

Stay the course. You can do it!

Bargaining for Your Value Is Doing Nothing for Your Business

Bargaining for Your Value Is Doing Nothing for Your Business

You aren’t going to convince clients to pay your fees because you have taxes and bills to pay.

And telling them you are more affordable because they don’t have to pay for breaks and lunches is not compelling either.

(When is the last time you heard any other business professional use that kind of bargaining to market their expertise?)

All that does is put them even more in cheapskate mentality.

Calling yourself an assistant results in the same.

Your value also has no relation to what you or they charge per hour (and by the way, it’s high time you stopped charging by the hour anyway).

Your value isn’t in how little they pay (stop making that argument or you’ll forever be stuck with cheapskate clients who want everything for little to nothing).

Your value is in what they gain by working with you:

How many more clients are they able to work with? How much more marketing and networking are they able to engage in? How much more are they able to get done in a day, a week, a month? How much more free time do they have to brainstorm, develop their business, or plain live life?

Are they able to get those projects done that have been on the back-burner for forever? Are they finally able to write that book, complete that training program, or write that signature talk they’ve been dreaming of? How much have their revenues increased or have the potential to increase as a result? How many more dollars per year does that represent?

How do they profit in their life from working with you beyond money? How much easier and stress-free are their life and business?

How much are those results and accomplishments worth to them?

THESE are the things to be talking about, not “you only pay for time on task and don’t pay for office equipment, lunches, breaks or vacations.”

Do you see how silly and pedestrian the latter is in comparison?

Which do you think will excite potential clients more and fill them with the sense of abundance and possibility?