By k | June 20, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I wince every time
I read a study saying
that beautiful people are more successful.
That, I believe, is bullshit.
Confident people are more successful
and while beautiful people are more likely
to be confident,
the two do not always equate.

Yesterday, I watched a documentary
on Cleopatra.
When I think of Cleopatra,
I think of a beautiful seductress,
a woman who captivated powerful men
such as Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

The thing is…

She wasn’t beautiful.

Research shows that she was quite homely.
What she had though
was confidence,
loads and loads of confidence.

Confidence is sexy.
People, men included, want to be around
confident people.
If people want to be around you,
they will also help you become successful.
In Cleopatra’s case,
they helped her win back
the leadership of a country.

As I often tell my girl friends,
it isn’t how you look FOR a man
that counts.
It is how you look AT a man.

Be confident.
Be strong.
Be successful.

By k | June 19, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Scott Allen has a great post
about thinking like a bootstrapper
(and every entrepreneur should think
like a bootstrapper
- at least, until she has a confirmed win).

My favorite tip is
“Develop continuous, passive income,
even if that’s not your core business.”

Every business needs cash
to stay in business.
If you are working on a product
with a large selling price
or a large consulting project
that pays out only at the end,
you need something else to pay the bills.

As Scott states,
these little sales may seem like a distraction
but they are a necessary distraction.

One of my author buddies does this.
She writes shorts (10,000 word stories)
in hot, trend-happy genres.
She can write one of these in a week
and it pays the bills.
She devotes the other three weeks
in each month
to writing her ‘break out’ novel.

Build a base of passive income
so you can pay the bills
while pursuing the big sale.

By k | June 18, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I recently wrote a novel-length story.
It is a great story.
It will sell if marketed the right way
and placed with the right publisher
with the right pen name.

The problem is…
it doesn’t fit any of my pen names.
It is too spicy for my traditional name.
It is too traditional for my spicy name.
It doesn’t fall into the right genres
for the others.

If I have it published,
it would need its own pen name.
It would then be an orphan,
one of those one hit wonders
people read about.
It isn’t strong enough for a solo book
(solo books are rare in romance,
readers like series).

So I’m shelving it
(maybe not forever, but for now).

That’s the thing about product development.
The product you are developing
should fit somewhere
within your existing strategy.
You need an existing brand
to support it
or the confidence to launch
a new brand around it.

If you have neither,
concentrate on a product
that DOES fit.

By k | June 17, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I was talking to a financial adviser last night.
I asked him
“What is the average rate of return
you’ve achieved for your clients
over the past ten years or whenever?”

The whenever made it open ended.
Anyone should know
what their track record
has been over the past year,
especially if that is what he/she is selling.

The financial adviser DIDN’T know
so I assumed it was shit.

That’s the thing.
In this age
of tracking every piece of information,
when you don’t know
your track record,
your prospect is going to assume
it sucks big time.

Know your own numbers.
Know how many projects you’ve launched.
Know how much money
you’ve saved customers.
Know your stats.

By k | June 16, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One thing that all published writers learn
is that the way
readers interpret a story
and the way the writer interprets the same story
is different.

And that’s okay.

Once we create a product
and bring it to market,
we lose control over
how the customer uses that product.
We no longer own the product.
The customer does.

Coca-Cola can’t stop
customers from mixing their product
with Mentos
(and using that mixture to power a car).


WD-40 can’t stop

customers from using the water repellent spray
to soothe their arthritis pain.

Q-tips put a warning
on their boxes
discouraging customers from sticking their product
in their ears.
I don’t know of any other adult use for Q-tips.

Companies can discourage alternative uses
(WD-40 and Coca-Cola actually encourage alternative uses)
but they can’t stop it.

Once you sell your product,
you lose control of it.

By k | June 15, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Yesterday was my first full time day writing
for the summer.
(The week before, I had another contract extension).

Normally, I write 4,000 solid words a day.
Yesterday, I managed 1,000
(and some editing).

Why?

Because every time
I switch projects,
it takes me time to ramp up.
My mind partially remains
on the previous project.
I’m only working with half a brain
(or less).

Most people experience this.

That means I am more efficient
if I group like tasks.
It also means that I should plan
for this ramp up.

Build in a buffer
when you switch projects.

By k | June 14, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

On the weekend,
I won a critique of a query letter
from a renowned pitch coach.

I am not currently
working on a submission
needing a query.
One of my critique partners is,
however.
I gave the opportunity to her,
with the request
that she share the critique.

Success is a team event.
That means that
not only is the work shared
but the booty (or winnings) is shared also.

Sharing the glory will ensure
that your successful team stays happy
and focused on future successes.

By k | June 13, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I cringe when someone comes up to me
and says
“I have an idea for a business”
like having an idea
is all that is needed for success.

Entrepreneurs have
dozens, hundreds, thousands of ideas.
Coming up with ideas
is usually not that challenging.
What IS challenging
is
coming up with a viable business idea.

Forbes has a great post
on questions you should ask
when deciding
whether or not your idea
may be viable as a business.

Of course,
there is the all important
‘does this solve a need
people will pay for?’
question.

My fave addition,
however,
is
‘can this idea be replicated?’
If your sales are linked
to your hours worked,
that answer is a clear NO.

By k | June 12, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of my publishers
recently sent out a message
to direct all readers
to the publisher site.
Yes, the authors make
more per book sold
on the publisher site
but more importantly,
these readers become THEIR readers.

One of my author buddies
started writing steamier novels
under her usually more mainstream pen name.
Someone objected to this content
and complained to the blog host site.
My author lost her blogging account there,
where she had previously directed
all her readers.
She now has a marketing base of zero.

When possible,
own the site you send your customers to.
Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
to send customers to YOUR site,
not the other way around.

FillTheFunnel has a great post
on this.

By k | June 11, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

The co-worker of a buddy
applied to an internal job posting.
She told everyone she applied
(her current manager was not amused).
She told everyone
when the phone interview was.
She took that interview
at her desk.

She bungled the interview.
She didn’t pass that initial stage.
She didn’t get the job.

And everyone knew it.
(Yeah, a cringe-worthy moment)

I fail.
I fail A LOT.
However, I don’t usually broadcast
these failures.
If there is a chance
a venture might fail,
I only inform the people I need help from
to increase the venture’s chances of success.

Many people think less
of doers who fail.
(It is silly
but it is the world we currently live in)
Limit your public failures
as best you can.
Don’t tell everyone your business.