5 tips to improve your productivity as a freelancer
Productivity tips from me published over on Start and Grow Enterprise.
This is one of my favourites.
To-do lists work because they help you stay on the path to getting your most important work done – but they work even better when you write them as an action! So instead of ‘get more paper’, write ‘buy A4 laser paper from Amazon’ and add a due date. If the to-do is to call someone, write their contact details, that’ll save you from having to hunt later.
The aim is not to have to think about a task when you come to do it. Also, don’t pack numerous tasks inside one to-do item. Instead of ‘finish project’ break it down into many smaller actions and you’re more likely to get them done.
The ideas originaly came from webinar IMC13 Productivity at work and are a distillation of ideas from the book Getting Things Done by David Allen – well worth a read – among other books I’ve read over the years. Having a background in programming I’m often like to take the lazy path and am always looking for a simpler way to do work.
IMC57: A World Without Email
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Ben was joined by Alex Coppock (Communion Architects) to discuss the path back to sanity in which Cal Newport’s book: A world Without Email offers a variety of road-tested practices to help us escape the tyranny of our inboxes in order to achieve a calmer, more intentional, and productive working life.(more…)
Wise words from Seth’s article on How (not) to miss a deadline
‘Don’t rely on false deadlines as a form of incentive. It won’t work the same on everyone, which means that some people will take you at your word and actually deliver on time, while others will assume that it was simply a guideline. It’s more efficient to be clear and to help people understand from the outset what you mean by a deadline. The boy cried wolf but the villagers didn’t come.’
I am guilty of placing a project deadline in the sand to help motivate me (and the client). It can work well to muster effort to get the website live. But I’ve given up doing this for small tasks. Assigning due dates to everything leads to not trusting if the deadline is real or just a guide, as well as additional stress and constant badgering from our to-do app. I’ve come to add deadlines only to the tasks that NEED to be completed on a certain date as well as blocking ourt time in my calendar to do them.
An entrepreneur’s guide to trademarks
A great explainer from Seth on what trademarks are, well worth a listen.
Until listening I was ignorant of the difference between the ™ symbol and the ® symbol. One is legally recognised and registered and the other is your assertion of an unregistered trademark.
Focus on your clients
Matt Saunders writing on how to build rapport clients.
‘Repeat business is important because the average repeat customer spends 67% more in months 31-36 of their relationship with a business than they do in months 0-6. This particular study pertains to e-commerce sales but I have seen similar patterns in the B2B space also. It’s really all about trust. Once you’ve earned it, they’ll come back for more.’
I cannot correlate the percentages but I know that I win more business from clients that I work with regularly. In fact just regularly communicating with clients I’ve found will stimulate business either by giving them ideas or keeping my business front of mind.
Matt’s article is specific to his industry but a lot of the advice works for any business. He outlines the following tips:
- Get process in place – You’ll look and be more professional and work will be easier to manage
- Don’t hide behind your email – Find other ways to communicate with them: in-person, video call, gifts, referrals
- Get to know you clients – You’ll be able to serve them better and it’s rewarding for your soul if you have a genuine connection
- Build long term relationships – Time spent will pay dividends in future work and referrals
- Self development – Listen to the best podcasts and audio books available. Ask clients for their favourites and share yours with them
IMC Podcast #19: Your New Marketing Strategy – Part 6, Business
Subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts or Android.
This is the final of 6 episodes in which I’ll be walking you through the foundation level of my Marketing Strategy. I’m going give you ideas, advice and guidelines in a simple, step by step process that will work for any startup or business new to marketing.
The episodes cover Planning, Stats and Analytics, Website Development, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media and Business tasks that you need to do to give you marketing strategy a great foundation.
If you want to jump ahead everything I’m talking about is available online now ratherinventive.com/marketing-strategy
For now here’s part 6 and it’s about Business. Enjoy.
👋 If you found this podcast interesting you might like my Marketing Club. Join to receive regular tips and advice on marketing, video and the web and Pro Members get access to my live marketing webinars every month, exclusive discounts and other perks. Find out more here https://ratherinventive.com/club/(more…)
Have you been contacted by PicRights about copyright infringement?
Shannon Rawlins sheds some light on this shady company. Via Fran Roberts.
‘No, PicRights is not a scam. What they are doing is entirely legal. In fact, they are serving to enforce the already-existing laws surrounding copyright. They have major clients and work with real law firms.
However, just because it’s not an illegal scam, that doesn’t mean what they are doing is right.
Hounding people for money and threatening to take them to court if they don’t pay up is unscrupulous, especially when they instigate the case themselves, not on behalf of the copyright-owner.’
If you’ve been contacted by a company claiming that you have used an image or video without permission. Take the notice seriously but don’t panic and read the article above first.
- Letters alleging online copyright infringement
- Step-by-step guide to copyright in images online
- How to settle an infringement demand letter
- Demand Letters for Copyright Infringement and Photos: How to Respond (and How to Avoid them in the First Place)
IMC12: Google My Business walkthrough
In this Google My Business walkthrough Ben covers everything from claiming your listing, setting the correct categories to optimising for SEO
Why use Google My Business (GMB)
- Only way to get into the local pack
- Small factor (<9%) in regular SEO
- Get a knowledge panel Collect reviews
- Control of your map listing – Anyone with a Google account could: suggest an edit, post photos, ask awkward questions
Screen-share of Google My businessCreating/claiming a listing
- Check in maps to see if listing already exists https://www.google.com/maps
- If not then start creating https://business.google.com/create
Getting your profile info order https://business.google.com/dashboard/l/11925252192446860058
- Title – Your company name plus keywords if they read well
- Categories – Help ranking. First category is the most important as visible on profile
- Location – Add address if customer come to you e.g. shop, office. Get the map pin right e.g. 7 Stirling Works, Love Ln, Cirencester GL7 1YG
- or Services areas (max 20) if you travel to customers
- Opening hours
- Special hours – eg xmas day
- Phone number – Could use a special number to track calls from listing
- Google Ads phone
- Shortname – Create a shortlink to your map page e.g. https://g.page/rather-inventive-marketing. Doesn’t work for all categories
- Links – Web, Appointment ?utm_source=google&utm_medium=local&utm_campaign=gmb_listing
- Highlights – Google will recommend ones you can add e.g Sink Green
- Description – Does not impact on rank, could help conversions. Show what you can do and how you help
Add Products / Services
- Recent updates to this as now split into categories, worth reviewing
- May have products instead (dependant on category)
Add Photos and videos
- Anything that showcases your business
- Identity – Business logo, cover image, etc
- Team – your team in action, around the office, etc
- If you category allows: 360, Inside and out of office or store
- A welcome video or tour of the store
- Why your company stands out versus the competition
- The company mission, and goals.
- An inside look at daily operations and customer interactions
- Customer testimonials
- Owner, employees, or customers interviews
- Answer FAQs
- What’s New – Limited to seven days, can be up to 1000 words. General updates, blog posts, customer showcase
- Events – Promote an event you are hosting, involved in, or supporting. All events require a title, start & end dates, and time. Add a description and details too.
- Offers: If you are having any promotions, sales, or coupons, you can use this post type to showcase them. Like events, offers also require titles, start & end dates, and time-frame. The “View offer” CTA is automatically added.
Questions & answers
- Make sure to monitor, I don’t always get emails
- Create your own FAQs
- Perhaps ask clients to seed the questions for you?
- Getting reviews. Watch IMC #5 How to get Five Star Reviews
- Respond to all reviews – If negative don’t take personally https://business.google.com/reviews/l/11925252192446860058?hl=en
- SayHola – Make sure to add in your Google map page https://sayhola.co/. Find entry in google maps, copy url after ‘https://www.google.com/maps/place/’ and add in Google Maps URL field
- If have duplicate listings, incorrect details. Get someone else to ‘Suggest an Edit’ very powerful way of correcting mistakes
- Call tracking on website – Change phone number depending on website source. Speak with Ben if you’d like to implement this
- Add extra users – For marketing team or in case you lose access
Apple maps connect
- Make sure you’re listed with correct address
- Start here https://mapsconnect.apple.com
A journey to creating customer-focused content
When Alex Coppock from Communion Architects first approached us in 2012, he was keen to explore ways to improve search engine rankings and bring more visitors to his website. Since then, his website has remained in top two organic keyword positions and website traffic has grown 10x.
Alex has always taken a very thoughtful approach to his website and I invited him to write an article reflecting on his journey with his website. What follows are his thoughts on how he has changed the way projects are featured on his website over the years from a simple way to showcase the buildings Communion has worked on to something that has a much wider purpose. To my mind, the shift beautifully reflects Communion’s generous, people-focused spirit and its mission statement – working closely with people to deliver exceptional projects that transform spaces and change lives.
I’ll let Alex tell the story from here…(more…)
The day I learnt what arbitrage means
An fun insight into the insane business model of big tech and pizza delivery by Ranjan Roy
‘If someone could pay Doordash $16 a pizza, and Doordash would pay his restaurant $24 a pizza, then he should clearly just order pizzas himself via Doordash, all day long. You’d net a clean $8 profit per pizza.’
The business model of companies like Doordash, Uber and originally Facebook to dominate at all costs, seems crazy to me. I understand the logic but cannot help feel it is not sustainable, ethical or profitable for most people unless you are either the winner (Facebook has clearly won in the social space) or an investor as part of your spread bet. And even then it’s still not ethical. If you win, you win big but for most people, they lose.
Ranjan also mentions ZIRP (Zero-Interest-Rate Policy) and links out to another fascinating article on the topic. If I understand it correctly, it’s about risk and how risky ventures are more attractive when other rates of return are low. Given the extremely low-interest rates at the moment I expect we might see even more risk.
Why it’s not profitable to use dark patterns
Paul Boag writing for Smashing magazine on How To Convince Others Not To Use Dark Patterns
‘Brands always used to be able to get away with manipulation because consumers were mostly unaware of being manipulated. Even if they did realize(sic), the choice was limited, and so there was very little they could do. That is no longer true. The web has changed that.
We need to help management realize the fact that consumers have changed. That in every consumer’s pocket is instant access to every other company on the planet that offers the same thing as you. It is so easy to find your competitors and so simple to swap that one small annoyance is enough to make people switch.’
Dark patterns are tricks to make people do things they don’t mean to do. You’ve probably come across them on an airline website when booking seats or paying extra for insurance. Find out more about what they look like here.
While these tricks seem like a clever way to up-sell, here’s an example Paul cites as a reason why dark patterns are not as profitable as they might seem.
‘Sure enough, the sales of filters skyrocketed, and the e-commerce team was pleased because they were one step closer to meeting their targets.
Unfortunately what they were not aware of was what was happening elsewhere in the company.
The marketing team who ran the companies social media channels found themselves having to spend time addressing complaints on Twitter and Facebook.
The customer support team received an increase in calls asking for refunds or complaining. Each call was costing the company £3.21, more than the profit margin on the filters.’
Interview: Wild Fizz Kombucha with Gina Geoghegan
Subscribe on YouTube, Apple Podcasts or Android.
Ben met Gina during a demonstration of how to make a fermented tea called Kombucha, at a small food fair run by River Cottage down in Axminster. He was fascinated by the process of this magical gut reviving drink but also in her passion and clarity of the presentation.
Ben caught up with Gina a few of weeks later to find out about her company Wild Fizz and how she got started. Gina’s story and openness on her business are well worth listening to.(more…)
The Kitchens and Puppy Swarms Interview
I’ve worked with the Sustainable Kitchens team in Bristol for over 2 years now but I wanted to step back and get some perspective from Nicky Spear, head of development and dare I say head of “getting things done”, on how they are developing internal processes to keep up with their fantastic growth.
Find Nicky and the team @itWoodwork or visit sustainablekitchens.co.uk.
- Surfdome – “Whether it’s the beach, the mountain or the street – we feel your passion”
- Project dirt – “the UK’s most active network connecting and resourcing environmental and community projects.”
- Xero accounting package
- Asana to-do list and sheduling
- Teamweek, linear calendar to replace paper note planning board
- Kudos to @InventiveAl for designing the SK website
- Houzz – Interiors and home products articles and portfolio
- Cork flooring blog
- Cute furry animal
- The Local’s Cookbook, Sri Lanka
- Jon Lewin, food photographer
- Puppy Swarm!
- Honest living… New sister company, selling beautiful products, coming soon
Recorded at the Curio lounge in Stroud (I recommend the mid-week breakfast). Crying courtesy of SK co-owner Sam’s baby Eli.
Print Strategy and the Bacon Sandwich Interview
After receiving an intriguing promotional book called “I didn’t know they could do that” from Print Strategy I wanted to find out how well it’s been working for them so got in touch with MD Rob Newton1. We also talked about the future of print and how it’s beneficial to modern marketing.
Follow Print Strategy on Twitter @printstrategy or visit their website printstrategy.eu.
- Yummy, Graze food boxes
- “I didn’t know they could do that” portfolio book
- Pact coffee – Fresher, better-tasting coffee, delivered to you as you need it.
1. This is my first Skype interview, I’ve love to hear what you think of it on Twitter @BenKinnaird.