The subject line was just an unimpressed emoji face, which is not really what you’re looking for in email communications with clients.
“I’m not sure what to tell you, Sarah. I love your blog and what you do but it’s been two months since we worked together and, honestly, I haven’t seen much change in my blog traffic or social media following. I don’t think it worked.”
Reader, I don’t mind telling you it was with a dry mouth and shaking hands that I clicked through to look at her website. Was I a fraud? Was I about to get my first request for a refund? WAS I A FAILURE AS A HUMAN???
Instead of discovering that I was an impostor who should never be hired by anyone again ever, I discovered that my client had ignored 85% of the suggestions I’d given her.
Unsurprisingly, my initial reaction was to draft a not-entirely-polite email to this client who’d spent a lot of money to ignore my advice.
But then I realized that I was just as much at fault for this as she was. I hadn’t told my client why she needed make these changes. It’s hard to get excited about embedding code, scheduling Facebook updates, or re-jiggering old blog posts if we don’t understand how + why it’ll benefit us.
Maybe we’ve been doing something for so long we can’t even remember the beginner’s mindset. We don’t remember what it’s like to struggle with SEO/white balance/classroom management. It’s been years since we learned about alt text, so we forget to even explain it.
Yes! Empathy is good for business! When you show your clients you understand them, you’re helping them feel safe. You’re showing them that they can be honest and vulnerable with you. When you say “I get it. I used to be overwhelmed by social media too,” you’re making it easier for your clients to open up to you.
And the more they open up to you, the more you can help them, and the better their results will be.
It’s an overcast Tuesday and my friend and I are busily co-working at a crowded coffee shop. I’m finding photos for future blog posts (read: procrastinating) and she’s designing an ebook (read: being productive).
I lean across the table to see what her book will look like, which photos she’s using. Here’s a man in a wheelchair, typing away on a Macbook. Here’s a Latina woman leading a meeting; here’s a black man pushing a stroller and leading a toddler by the hand towards the playground.
She sees me peering at her screen and nods. “Yeah, I realized that I talk a really good game on Twitter about inclusivity. Then I looked at my blog and noticed that I wasn’t really practicing what I preach. So I’m trying to do better.”
I glance back at my computer and the two photos I just favorited: a white lady doing yoga on a mountain top and two white ladies drinking lattes on a park bench. #basic
Maybe it’s time for me – for many of us? – to do better.
It’s always been a good idea for us to build our ethics into our businesses, but in 2017 it’s more important than ever.
8 easy(ish) ways to build your ethics into your business
Networking strategies for entrepreneurs aren’t quite as easy or straight forward as the networking strategies that apply to 9-to-5ers, are they?
When you work in the corporate world your employer pays you to attend conferences and you have a long list of previous colleagues you can email. You have an obvious, understandable-to-most-people job title and you interact with Real Actual Humans all day long.
But if you’re an entrepreneur you could very well work from home, in your sweat pants, by yourself. And when you try to explain what you do you’re met with blank stares or polite nods.
Disappointed Side Eye is the response I usually get when people ask how I run my business. Weirdly, nobody seems to want to hear that I film my videos on a cheap Android and I do all my writing in Google Docs on an old laptop that cost $300 two years ago.
Why doesn’t anyone want to hear about my old Lenovo Thinkpad?! Why can’t I tell you about my $120 phone with a sparkly cat case??
Welp, because a lot of us want to believe that buying a $1,500 laptop or a new DSLR will cure What Ails Us Professionally.
But you can probably get along without top of the line everything, 23 differently monthly fees, and 43 different types of software.
I’ve spent the last seven years walking the line between boot-strapping and “I will pay to make this easier.” Here are all the things I use to run my business, if something costs $$$ rest assured I’ve tried the free/cheap versions and found them lacking.
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