Five Things to Make You
One of the most oft-asked questions I
get at speaking gigs and by e-mail is something along the lines of, "What
are the ten best things someone can do to ensure their success?"
I don't know about ten, but these five seem to come up more than most.
So I thought i'd write them up here:
Just some stuff to keep in mind if you
1. NEVER charge by the hour. ALWAYS charge
by project. What takes you three hours might take the average yutz four
weeks. Don't underestimate your talent and speed. If you charge by the
hour, you're a slave to the clock. You want to be paid what the project
is worth, not how long it took you. What if you did a $2500 project in
an hour, but only charged $40 an hour? You'd have to sell it for $40 and
never get the additional $2460 it was worth!
2. Use the web. I can't tell you how many
people call me up to sell their stuff, only to find they do NOT have an
easily navigable site that displays their wares. For example, illustrators
with portfolios of their work. In 1998, I began telling people that if
that can't work digitally, I'm not interested. Now it's come to the point
where that's the way the world expects to do business. Be smart. Give
them what they need, when they need it.
3. Promote your site on discussion lists
where your prospective buyers hang out. Even if you're not an advertising
pro, if you're an illustrator, for example, join and participate in the
discussions and make sure you have a killer signature line that links
to your site, like "3D illustration that makes Michaelangelo jealous"
or something like that. Eventually, these people do call or refer business
4. Make it a point to find just ONE directory
or listing site per day where you can add your URL. After a year, you'll
have hundreds. I've NEVER paid a listing service, but if you type "branding"
into Google.com, guess who pops up #1 (at least last week).
5. The further away from home you are,
the more respect you get. My friend Vickie says that "an expert is
the guy who arrives with a suitcase". It's true. Local people who
"knew you when" always think of you that way. It's very difficult
to change their perspectives of you. On the other hand, people who never
knew you accept you at face value. Those are people on the web. Consequently,
they're much easier to convert. Later, when your reputation is established,
you can expect more business from locals, who see that others from afar
have bought into your brand. Until then, expect business to come from
far away, through the web. That's how I built my business.
All this stuff is damn close to being
free. And it really works. Hope that helps.