Why I love Angry Customers…

Don’t be nervous… think of it as an opportunity! Sounds so damn cheesy. Ya…

Well, it is an opportunity.  An opportunity to showcase your calm disposition, problem solving skills, ability to compromise and listen, and build valuable rapport.

A complaining customer is a customer who is communicating with you – which is far better than an angry customer who doesn’t tell you when they aren’t happy with your service, and just stop hiring you. You know?

A couple of suggestions.

1. Address their concern in a prompt email, be sure to close that email with a statement that lets them know that you want to make things easier for them – as you are of service. Or, something similar and relevant to your product being useful and satisfactory.

2. Call them immediately after your email. As you listen to the phone ringing, force a smile on your damn face and hold it until they answer. Why? Because they CAN HEAR YOUR SMILE. I mean that, and if you think about it – you will agree!

3. Engage them in conversation about your work and their needs. You would be surprised how much you can learn – and don’t be shy about it either. You need to let them know that you find value in their knowledge, input, and/or expertise.

With a smile on your face (that they can hear) and genuine interest – you will be surprised how fast they begin to appreciate you, RIGHT after they were belly aching… its magic. 😉

thanks for reading, if there is anyone out there. I create these posts for me first, for my expression, notes on ideas, and to be my own moral support. So, if no one reads, thats ok too.

this post originated at brazenhustle.com

 

Weight problems of a self employed Diva…

Working from home doesn’t make you gain weight, but it can sure help! In other words, working from home makes it really easy to become more sedentary.  You can be so relaxed, drinking coffee in your morning robe holding your fluffy cat in your lap. Taking naps here and there… snacking when ever you want.

I have gained 20 pounds over the last 4 years, since I quit my job and became full time self employed. It seems like I gained 10 of those pounds just last year, as I was working at my desk 12-14 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week… all year.

I hear being stressed out and missing sleep contributes to weight gain, and I see it on myself.

The good news is that working from home also makes it easy to get exercise. You have no excuse, I know I don’t! I have a stair stepper machine in my office, it was a Christmas gift to myself last year – that I don’t use nearly enough.

More good news is that its easy to eat healthy when you work from home. Keep plenty of healthy food around!

I know some of my problem foods, bread. candy. And, I have lost weight in the past by cutting those things out of my diet. This time I am doing things a bit differently. I am going to cut dairy also.

I am already hooked on spinach berry smoothies… how hard can it be? We shall see…

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com

 

What does it mean to become a “seasoned” professional?

What does it mean to become a “seasoned” professional?
I thought I understood, you know – you get “salty” like a dried up piece of gas station teriyaki beef jerky. Tough, tasty and long lasting…

And ya, sure – I’ll take that meaning too. But now, think of it again as an old seasoned cast iron skillet.  I just got my first one, and it’s given me a new twist on the common phrase of being “seasoned”.

With repeated use and proper care, out of the daily grease a cast iron skillet will develop a deep and solid protective barrier which also happens to be fantastically non-stick. It’s pretty amazing to watch someone cook an egg on a cast iron skillet.

Translating that meaning to a seasoned professional:
With consistent diligent work and proper self care, out of the failures and success develops pride and deep self worth – which then prevents negativity and moments of doubt from sticking or lingering.

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com

How to keep a client, long term.

For freelancers, client work is on and off. You’ll work with different clients throughout the year.  There will be periods where you don’t work for certain clients at all. If you want to keep a client, be sure to check in on them periodically (not occasionally) during times that you are not working together.

Periodically – meaning intentionally at a predetermined time interval, ex: quarterly, monthly, weekly, etc. You want to be consistent. predictable. persistent. reliable. diligent.  The focus in periodic communication is good service.

Occasionally – meaning randomly at your convenience, or only when you need them.  The focus in occasional communication is selfish service.

If you don’t consistently check in on them, they will think you are busy or forget about you entirely. Then, when their hot water is boiling over they will remember you and wish they had called you to help before it was too late. Which means, you missed out on their business… and you didn’t keep them as a client.

Remember, they are too busy to be thinking of you – and if they do, it will go kinda like this, “Oh ya, I should call them and see if they are available. I’ll do it tomorrow.”  Tomorrow never comes people, its always today and they may never actually call.

The same goes for prospects that would be clients. Keep checking in and letting them know you are here to support their business.

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com

How to inspire confidence in a new client.

You want to be seen a professional? Then you need to inspire your clients to have confidence in you.

You should know what you need from a client to get started.

You should know what they will ask you.

So, take some time to develop a standard list with explanations. This will help you and your client get on the same page before you begin working together.

Write your process out in painful detail. Next, process that information into answers and questions.  You never know what a client doesn’t know, so just assume they have no idea how working with a freelancer works.

Waiting to address your client’s questions and issues as they come up (at the same time that you are supposed to be working on their project) is messy and amateur. They will have many questions and problems coming up.  And, they will awkwardly interrupt you to get answers and assurance on the fly – if you are lucky…

If you are unlucky – your client will think their questions and issues are unique. They will think those issues are signs that your relationship is not going to work out for them. In short, they won’t be inspired to have confidence in you or your work.

If your client don’t have confidence in you, they might just pay your first bill, find someone else to resolve their issues, and brush you off. All without giving you the opportunity to get things in order.

Remember, you are the professional. It is your job to know how to work with your client. So, never give your client the responsibility of knowing how to work with you. That’s just unprofessional and they won’t have the confidence to hire you again.

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com

Stop avoiding asking questions.

Its awkward to bombard a client with questions. It doesn’t feel right, it feels annoying and unprofessional. Ya, you can plan ahead and you should – but often there are lingering details that need clarification.

Outright avoiding asking questions and just holding your breath, crossing your fingers, and hoping it all turns out okay – or planning on doing damage control after the fact if your guess is wrong is just plain stupid.

Ive done it too many times and it has never actually worked. But, whats worse?

Whats worse is that sometimes, it does work.

In that, you got lucky and guessed right or you were able to play damage control with the problems well after your guess was wrong. Then, afterward you “feel” like your intuition was “spot on” and you did the right thing.

So, you keep doing it. You mistake luck with skill, and you think your “hope” strategy is working. When really, to rely on hope or luck is an absolute gamble and its bound to lose – often. And, its a stupid gamble,  because you could have very easily asked a few awkward questions and had all the answers up front – with the risk of being a bit annoying instead of outright failing.

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com

Just Don’t: Sexy profile pic

Guys and Gals, unless you are a make-up artist or have some career revolving around your looks – please don’t post a sexy picture of yourself for your linkedin profile.

It turns me off when it seems like you are trying to turn me on. 🙁
I can’t take a pouty face with duck lips seriously.

I’m more likely to hire you if you delete your kissy face and lip biting profile pics.

thanks!

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com

Get 1 more Tax deduction for 2018! Its not too late!

So, here’s something you may not know about. If you are not happy with the amount you owe for taxes, or the amount you are getting back – there is one more tax deduction you can obtain for the 2018 tax year – AFTER Dec. 31 2018! Its not too late!

Contribute up to $5,500 to a traditional IRA (not a Roth!) to reduce your taxable income. You have up until our April 2019 U.S. Tax deadline to make this contribution in order to be able to deduct it for you 2018 tax year!

Just make sure you claim the deduction for 2018. You can double check the claimed tax year on your official contribution receipt.

The only way its too late is if you have already signed and filed, even then get with your accountant – they might be able to revise it…? I’ve never tried to do that, but it might be possible.

You will never know if you don’t ask!

I am amazed at how much benefit I get from asking those extra questions – the ones that I used to worry would make me into that “annoying” person. But, I gotta say – its worth it.

I’m no CPA or professional accountant. So, if you want more details or verification you will need to check with your CPA.

This post originated at www.brazenhustle.com

change = backlash

Change is generally not welcome.

Keep this in mind as you establish patterns of interaction, billing, etc. with your clients.

A beaten path develops ruts. After a while, you may get stuck in a rut – and your client may be very comfortable running you over.

So, when you put a boundary up – or try to establish a change in operation, ie: raising rates, not accepting certain types of work, etc.
You may receive a backlash. You might lose the client, for a while or altogether – that depends on how you conduct yourself.

The best remedy here is to set boundaries early. Don’t do anything for a new client that you would not want to do long term.

Even the best clients can become bad ones if you don’t know what works for you long term.

This post originated at http://www.brazenhustle.com