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@jshuey I like your framework a lot - and I really like Marcus Buckingham. Realistic optimism is awesome in my book. Buckingham is a strong proponent of positive psychology, which has nothing whatsoever with positive thinking. (The former has an Ivy League research center and a strong evidence base, the latter is generally the domain of motivational speakers and the like.) Thanks!
3 months, 1 week ago on Escaping the Positive Thinking Trap
@TheRelationshipInsider Yes!! The cover is incredibly important. And, by corollary, the title: for example, when Tim Ferriss came up with "The Four Hour Workweek," his work was more than half done in my view. Both are a good metaphor for how we package any product or service.
8 months, 3 weeks ago on Going By the Book
Great post! As for #3, my secret is that I always work on a time-and-materials basis. If I'm, say, ghostwriting a book or developing a training intervention, I quote my hourly rate with an accurate project estimate, shake their hand, and tell them that they can use me for as few or as many hours as they wish. (Usually it's many.)
Yes, I know, you can probably pack more added value in a project estimate. But those few times I've been talked into fixed-cost projects, I have always - always - lived to regret it. Hourly or daily rates = happy clients and happy consultants!
8 months, 4 weeks ago on 6 Kinds of Nightmare Clients
@TheRelationshipInsider Good point Sheryl, and one that has an important cultural context as well: in some parts of the world, having a senior person present the apology is considered an necessary sign of respect. Thank you!
10 months ago on How Not to Apologize
@writeahead Thank you! And P.S. feel free to send them the article :).
@PointA_PointB You're the best Catherine! And it never ceases to amaze me that there are people out there who get paid to write these stilted, infuriating apologies. One of my favorite topics. Thanks!
@marylynn3 That's horrible! Travel is often the worst offender, because it is so stressful to begin with - and sadly people aren't always trained to do good service recovery. I would react exactly the same way. Thank you so much for your kind words!
@TheRelationshipInsider Excellent point, and I totally agree with you!
I may have put the emphasis on the wrong syl-la-ble here. Learning new skills and mastering new areas is awesome. My advice is aimed at people who hold themselves back, or put themselves down, because of some perceived weakness - not realizing that we all have them, even in our chosen professions.
I remember one classmate in engineering school - never met him personally - but every year my alumni news would talk about how he would keep trying to do standup comedy, public access TV, etc. while working as an engineer. How did that end up? He became Bill Nye the Science Guy. He succeeded in his way, and I'd like to see everyone succeed in theirs too. Thanks for some very thoughtful comments!
11 months, 1 week ago on Your Slice of the Pie
The dirty secret of small business is that they often can't think like customers, and then wonder why they stay small. Too bad, they're off my list too.
12 months ago on How to Gain and Lose a Customer in 24 Hours
This blog should be framed on everyone's wall.
1 year ago on Making Your Dreams Happen
@TheRelationshipInsider Nicely played!
1 year ago on Let's Call Off the Engagement
I recently read the best book (besides The Entrepreneur Equation of course :) about this - "So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love" by Cal Newport.
Beyond your solid point that passion often equals failed businesses, he claims following your passion doesn't make you happy either. He looks at people who followed their bliss, joined monasteries, etc. and were, in fact, less happy than when they started. His prescription (and mine): succeed by getting really, really good at something of value. Great blog!
1 year, 1 month ago on Too Many Entrepreneurs Drink the Passion Flavored Kool-aid
@TheRelationshipInsider You've nailed it perfectly! Especially the last sentence: to me, the key isn't trying to justify higher prices, it's to build such great client relationships that supply-and-demand raises your prices for you. Thanks!
1 year, 1 month ago on Getting a Premium Price: Communications Secrets of the High Earners
@writeahead Thanks writeahead! I presume you are a writer, and I am also (mostly ghostwriting and editing, when I am not speaking). Here is what is ironic: I personally am very noncompetitive -- and therefore do not price myself aggressively high -- but over time, great service and great client relationships have naturally pushed me past the low-end competition. When you are strongly solution-focused your *clients* put you in a better price bracket, because you are too busy to do otherwise. So good luck and let nature take its course!
You are the best - great recommendations - thanks Lou!
1 year, 3 months ago on Your Holiday Video Shopping List
@PointA_PointB @wesley koelewijn @gallagherPOC Totally varies with the couple. I've even heard of people divorcing and *then* starting a business together! Good for you Wesley that it's working well. My wife's parents ran a family business productively as well. As for me? I joke about getting to kiss the vice-president every morning, but in reality I pretty much run the show (and she is retired and gets to chuckle at me).
1 year, 4 months ago on What Bickering Couples and Business Partners Have in Common
*Great* post. And a key point is to never presume that someone is an extrovert because they are outgoing. When I was a corporate manager and administered personality tests to my team, the most back-slappy types often turned out to be introverts. When people meet my wife and I - she is affable and articulate like me - few would ever guess that I am an alpha extrovert and she is an alpha introvert, but we react very differently to the same social situations. A lesson for all of us: read people and follow their lead about how much contact they are comfortable with.
1 year, 5 months ago on Networking for Introverts
Wow - this is sooo on-target. So many consulting firms say they will empower your vision and vision your empowerment - and they should all read this blog. Thanks Steve!
1 year, 7 months ago on There Is No Audience For 50 Shades of Grey Marketing
@PointA_PointB Agreed on both fronts! Thanks and great post.
1 year, 8 months ago on I’m Your Consultant, Not Your Lender
Great article as always Catherine!
Here is my contrarian view. In 15 years of consulting, I have never been stiffed once (!), but especially since the 2008 crash, lots of otherwise nice people have been slow-rolling their invoices. I am always carrying around a lot of receivables, and joke that my epitaph will read "net 90." :) My view is that my flexibility lets me keep a lot of great client relationships - who eventually always pay - that other people couldn't have.
I believe if you are going to consult for major organizations (especially, cough, a certain North American government), it's prudent to have a few months living expenses in the bank - or your retirement fund - or whatever - so that you don't panic through a few extra weeks of "the check is being sent shortly, heh, heh." To paraphrase Wayne Gretzky, you need to be able to be checked into the boards once in a while to play this game.
Or better yet, have a cash-up-front business like yours (or my part-time therapy practice, where people usually show up with payment in hand) and not have to worry about it. Thanks!