Do the f*cking work

This is  a call to action for myself today. But it's more than that - I'm making it a mantra. And I'm even gonna make myself a desktop wallpaper (see above).

So throughout the day, whenever I see my desktop... I'll see this message. Repetition, reinforcement and exposure should plant the seed firmly in my mind.

Think how you feel when you're in a room with scented candles, soft music and a beautiful painting of a landscape to look at. Your mood will begin to mirror your environment if you allow it to - Your mindset and the setting you are in are key to how you will act and behave.

So today I'm thinking of how I can make my workspace more conducive to productivity. This is just one little hack that I'm trying out.

Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to focus your energy or improve your mindset?

I'd love to hear from you in the comments below, or email paddy (at) superlogoboy (dot) com.

Anyways, have an amazing week - I'm off to do some f*cking work!

One thing every great logo should have

This is a really quick post tonight.

Super quick, because I've been working all day and I want a bath. And pizza, I want pizza more than I want the bath. I'm having both for sure. No doubt about that. Try stopping me.

But anyway, what is the one thing every great logo should have?

Well, it's simple. And you'll kick yourself.

It's 'meaning'.

It should bloody mean something.

Basically, if someone says 'Why is your logo like that?' - Then you should have a good answer. One that makes them understand you a bit better. Why you do what you do. How your company came into existance... Something like that.

The point of a logo is to give someone a way to recognise you and remember you.

So don't make it boring.

Don't make it rubbish.

Give them a good reason to talk about you. It's not rocket science.

Don't tell the missus

Always one to help a damsel in distress, I had to step away from the standing workstation today and put on my best rubber gloves and tabbard.

My good pal Sophie, who runs the awesome Mucky Cows Cleaning Company was short on troops and wondered if I could step in last minute to lend a hand. Luckily, I had a few hours to spare. So I said 'Yes'.

It wasn't a confident yes, though. I was scared. What had I committed to? What if I broke something? What if I was rubbish?

I'm not exactly known my cleaning abilities in our household. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

This is where I need you to keep a secret for me here... I actually enjoyed it.

It puts you in a mental state that feels like somewhere between meditation and exercise.

Your brain is focussed on details, but you still have capacity for daydreaming.

With some practice, I reckon you could use cleaning as a trigger to bring on flow states.

(To learn more 'flow' this, start with this video from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi -  He's the leading thinker in this area.)

Also, you're moving around quickly; bending and stretching, reaching high and low... So it's a bit like low-cardio yoga, in a way.

Whatever it is though, it put me into a superproductive state where the pre-frontal cortex is quiet and you become immersed in the task. 

I'm not going to say I had any outstanding insights or anything like that. Because I didn't. And I'm not going to say I was the world's best cleaner... But I don't think I did too badly. My glasswork was the talk of Prestwich.

But I did come up with four blog post topics for next week... I'm pretty happy with that.

So, the next time you're struggling with a difficult decision or lacking creativity, why not do a bit of hoovering or dusting.

10 minutes is enough. But you'll probably find you want to do a little bit more. If that happens, do it.

But if you want to stop. Well, you've only lost 10 minutes of potential fidgeting time, but you'll have gained a nice clean patch of carpet (or hardwood laminiate floor).

Whichever one it is, sounds like it's worth a punt.

But like I say, don't tell the missus. This could be the beer talking.

The Art of Seductive Branding

A good mentor of mine challenged me this week. He said that most small businesses hate talking about branding because they don't understand it.

They switch off and lose interest very quickly... That's clearly a problem for me and my business, as it's kind of what I do.

The problem is that they don't understand how it can help give them a return on their investment, they see it as a cost that doesn't give them any value.

So I've set myself the challenge to re-write and re-design my homepage. I want to explain what branding is in terms of how it will help my customer. In a way that is easy to understand, and sheds light on a 'mysterious area of business.

I often tell my clients to think of marketing as being a magnet. You aim your magnet towards potential customers and try to draw them closer to you. This seems to help them to 'get' the tone of voice you need to use and how to start looking at things from your buyer's point of view.

This works well for marketing, but what about branding?

I ended up playing with the idea of 'attraction' in my head for a bit, and thought that branding is a bit like sprucing yourself up for a hot date.

You want to show the best version of you, don't you? So you dress well, do your hair, wash behind your ears and clean your fingernails. A little Old Spice usually helps too.

But I digress. You should think of branding as how you 'peacock' to show your clients that YOU are exactly what they're looking for.

Strolling casually into their world, looking like any other Tom, Dick or Harry isn't going to get their hearts racing.

You must make an effort to stand out and show yourself some love if you want anyone else to give you the time of day.

Try thinking of your business as being active on the dating scene. You need to present yourself in a way that is going to lure the fish that you're trying to catch.

Talk your customer's language. Show them that you're a good fit for them. Talk in terms of their interests, their goals and their challenges.

Then they'll listen to you; they'll be curious, because most people, I mean, most businesses don't do this, do they?

Slick your hair back, shine your shoes and dig out your lucky pants... And knock 'em dead, tiger ;)

An awesome question for designers to ask their clients

To get great answers, it makes sense that you need to ask great questions.

Garbage in gives garbage out, after all.

So as a designer, it's your job to understand two key things: Firstly, you must understand your client and what makes them unique - This can include the problems they solve, their 'USP' or anything else that differentiates them from their competition. The deeper you dig, the better 'ingredients' you will discover to work with.

The second thing you must uncover is who EXACTLY your client is trying to reach. The better you understand your client's customers, the more tailored, and targetted your solution will be.

But how do you get this information?

Well, the fundamentals are that you must become a master listener. Don't start any conversation with a pre-determined series of questions to ask. Very often your first question can pave a whole new direction for your conversation that will render the rest of your questions redundant.

I tend to start with 3 opening questions, which I will share with you below... But the 'power question' I have in reserve, I'll tell you at the end.

The trhee openers I use are:

1. What are you hoping to achieve?

2. Describe your target customer to me... What makes them tick? Where do you find them? etc...

3. How do you set yourself apart from your competitors?

----

These three questions are the backbone of any consultation that I have. I'll end up asking a dozen more questions, but they will be based on the responses I receive to THESE questions.

During any consultation I make sure I am deeply engaged in listening. You can pick up on things your customer is saying that will tell you how 'important' a certain idea is. The more you practice this, the better your instinct will become.

But what about this power question?

Well, it almost feels like a bit of a cheat or a hack.

(And full disclosure, I stole this from Chris Brogan after I heard it on his podcast).

It's so simple I'm almost worried you'll think it's rubbish...

"And what else...?"

Yeah, that's it... "And what else?"

Very often when you receive an answer, the person you are speakig to isn't giving you all the information. They're holding back and they won't even realise they are doing it.

Try using this the next time you are having a conversation where you're trying to find out more information. It works best when following up on a 'how' or 'why' question.

People won't even notice that you've asked it, they'll usally just keep on talking... And that's another bonus for you.

Inviting people to talk more about what they are already talking about makes them feel like you are truly interested in what they're saying... And you should be.

Doing this will get you better answers, and more importantly, it makes you stand out from the vast majority of people, who spend most of their time in conversations not listening - but simply waiting for their turn to speak.

The curse of the scarcity mindset

In my natural state, I  tend to view the world quite pessimistically, but this is something I'm working on every day.

It's funny how when you 'just know' something bad is going to happen, it always seems to, doesn't it? 

There won't be a parking space left outside the bank, the client will argue my prices are too expensive, the cat's diahorrea won't have 'firmed up'.

Stuff like that.

You may have a scarcity mindset if any of these sound familiar:

- You feel desperate and directionless
- You compromise on your professional standards
- You feel like there's never enough time in the day
- You say 'yes' to projects that aren't a good fit for you

But how do move from scarcity to abundance?

Well, I may be a bit of a hippy... But I firmly believe that the universe will present you with the same problems (or lessons) until you solve them.

If you hate your job, or your boss, they aren't going to improve or 'go away' while you sit there every day and follow the same patterns of behaviour - It's up to you to change something.

Or if you've got bad relationships; then doing and acting the same way with the same people will likely get you the same results... It's baffling how long it takes us to learn this.

So, to answer the question above, how do you move from scarcity to abundance? I beleive it's through trying new stuff.

Stop doing what's not working, and try something else... You can nearly always go back if it is such a terrible decision, I haven't yet, though.

These can be small changes, it doesn't have to be drastic things like quitting your job. It can be as simple as staring every morning with postivie affirmations. I do this every day, and have done for over 2 years. It's not something I'm going to stop doing either.

Also, confidence and self-belief are learned, but you must want to be taught. The teacher is experience, and it comes by getting close to (and sometimes going past) your comfort zone.

Start with little things. Work on killing the inner voice that plants negative ideas.

If you break a cup, you're not an idiot. You just dropped something... Move on.

And nobody is ever out to purposefully ruin your day, don't allow that thought to enter your head. There are bright spots to be seen every day if you decide to look for them. Work towards being able to ignore the shit stuff, and moving towards the light.

From time to time you WILL step in a massive pile of dog; but somebody told me once that it was supposed to be good luck.

I'm testing that theory at the moment.

Here is the answer...

... The answer is 'here'.

Sorry for being a little cryptic on a grey Monday morning. Well it's grey where I am, and it's monday when I'm writing this... But if you've got sunshine where you're at, I'm happy for you (I really am) - Soak it up and make the most of it!

And in a way, that's kind of my point - Wherever you are, soak it up.

I was listening to The Back Room by Editors this morning and had a bit of a caffeine-inspired revelation.

I need to stop looking for the next answer, the next fix, the next 'thing' that's going to change things, improve things and take me where I think I want to be.

Like the horizon in an 80's arcade racer game; you never seem to get any closer to ant answers, do you? You just speed to the next checkpoint, then like magic, another one appears for you to pursue next.

I reckon I'm just gonna pull over for a while; enjoy where I'm at, work with what I've got and stop focussing on tomorrow.

Wherever you are, be mindful, be present and give the task you're doing, and the people you're with, your full attention for once.

Put your phone away - The moment means more when it's NOT captured, snapped or shared.

We value more what can't be saved... So by giving your attention, truly, and fully will (if my theory is correct) increase the value you give to others around you.

People know when your mind is elsewhere, and one of the greatest gifts you can give anybody these days is your undivided attention.

It doesn't cost a lot, but like the old cliché says; it's worth a bloody fortune.

Who do you think you're talking to?

Yeah, you... Who do you think you're talking to?

I mean it... Who?

Don't worry, this isn't a threat - it's a genuine question. Let me explain what I mean...

The biggest mistake I see people make with marketing is not understanding who they're trying to speak to. This makes their message bland and weak... It's just never going to get any traction.

If you don't understand who exactly you are trying to reach with your message, then you can't understand what problem you can solve for them... And that's all business is, getting paid to solve some kind of problem - That's how I look at it, anyway.

So, what can you do to fix this?

Well, I advise my clients to take some time to really think about who their target customer is.

A great exercise is to give this person a name. Then think about how old they are and then start writing as much detail about them, their lives and their interests... Build up a vivid picture of what they are like, what motivates them and then try to think about how you can frame your messages in this way.

Show them their problems, then explain how you can make them go away. Once you frame your messages in this way, in terms of how your actual customer sees the world, your audience will feel like what you offer is tailor made for them.

They'll see you as a solution to their problem, an investment rather than an expense. Nobody minds spending money if it takes away their pain, or moves them towards pleasure... This applies to as much to business purchases as well as consumer ones.

Your goal is to make people curious about what you do, and how your product or service can enhance their life.

Once you do this, you'll create a community who will not only buy from you, but they'll be happy to share your content (extending your reach) and they may even refer business to you.

All you need to do is narrow your focus to a specific demographic with specific needs.

Don't try to target everyone, when you do this, you'll be boring and generic, just like most other companies.

The best place to start is to clearly define who you're targetting. Write a character profile and keep this in mind whenever you are reaching out to your community.

The key to marketing is understanding your audience and their needs. Get this right, and the rest should fall into place nicely.

How big is it?

It's a question that is asked more often than you might think.

- How wide is the garage?
- How far do you stand from a dartboard?
- How big is that couch?
- How wide is our front door? 

Then the normal reply is,  "I dunno, where's the tape measure?"

We often need to know the size of things but we don't normally have a tape measure or ruler with us.

We DO always carry our phones, though, don't we?

But while there's app-arently an app for everything else, until now there were none that would allow you to reliably measure distances...

Enter stage left, a brilliant little app called Moasure.

Moasure uses the motion sensing 'bit' of your phone, and some bafflingly clever techy algorithm type thing (probably), and makes a beautiful app that lives in your pocket and cures nearly all your measuring headaches.

But why am I talking about this?

Great question, I'm glad you asked.

Well, I did the logo, branding and interface design for Moasure... And today, it was awarded the Number One spot in the utilities section of the App Store.

I'm well chuffed for the team who have worked on it, and thought it would be cool to show a project I've worked on recently... It's nice to give them a little shout-out too as they're lovely people.

So, why not get Moasure loaded on to your phone for the next time someone asks "Jeff, how wide's that piano?"

Find out more here, Moasure - Measuring App.

Stand Up for Yourself

Today I decided to take a stand - Quite literally, but for two separate reasons.

The first was a positive one, and should help to improve my physical health. The second is less pleasurable, but will almost certainly reduce my stress levels and help to push my business forward.

Let me explain.

At a networking event I attended on Tuesday, I was convinced by a guest speaker to consider using a standing workstation in the studio. Humans weren't intended to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, after all.

I haven't actually invested in a proper desk yet, it's more of a 'mini-coffee-table-plonked-on-my-normal-desk' kind of approach. But for an experiment, it should work just fine - If the benefits become apparent, I'll buy a proper one... But after one day, I'm feeling pretty positive about it. I can feel a nice burn in my calf muscles, and it feels like I've been more productive than I normally would... Winner winner, chicken dinner!

The second stand I had to take was far less fun though, and it's been a long time coming.

In business, there seems to be a popular trend where people ask for work to be done, then don't want to pay for it.

I've managed to protect myself from this by operating a system where I take a 50% deposit up front and then have the final balance settled before any artwork files are released - This works pretty well and most decent, reasonable clients are more than happy to go along with it.

The problem I have is with a more long-term client... You know the kind, where every job is 'urgent' and there is 'no real budget'. They are 90 days beyond their 30 day credit limit, and I simply can't be bothered dealing with chasing their lackadaisical accounts department any longer.

I've tolerated with this for almost a year because I felt like I 'needed' the work.

But this is becoming toxic to my business. They're trying to take precedent over clients who pay on time and work to reasonable timescales. It's just not fair - I stick to my deadlines, but their's don't matter, apparently.

So today I fired them.

No business needs clients like this. They treat people badly because they are allowed to. So the obvious answer is to simply stop accepting projects from them. What I lose in revenue I gain in time, energy and self-respect.

Of course, I did this in a polite, respectful (but firm) way. I stood up for myself, my business and my principles... And it feels bloody awesome.

Logo Design Story - Execute

You probably wouldn't guess it by looking at me, but fashion was one of the main things that got me into graphic design... Way, way back in the day.

It all started designing home-made rollerblading t-shirts with my pals as teenagers, but eventually I found myself working on a wakeboarding brand during my degree where I created the logo and a tonne of t-shirt and hoodie designs... Seeing my work live, and being purchased by actual people was an awesome feeling... A decade later, I STILL get this :)

Execute Clothing - The Story

I was connected with Craig Fox (@FlawelssFox) by my good friend Sophie after she saw he was looking for a designer to work with on a new apparel project. Funnily enough, I already followed him on Snapchat, so was aware of his style and content... He's pretty well-known in social media circles and is super-well-connected, so I was honoured to be involved!

Craig wanted to create a brand that would be wearable, shareable and would also have something to say. His message is to inspire people to 'act' and 'do' rather than just talking about stuff.

His message is to EXECUTE.

Being known for his meticulously groomed beard, we thought it would be fun to have this as part of the brand. Another thing Craig wanted to include was a nod to Mexican-style sugar skulls... They captured the 'hipster' vibe he was after, and they just look cool, don't they?

The idea I had was to create a bearded hipster skull, soft enough to not be too masculine, but with enough 'about it' to make you look twice.

I used a couple of little tricks to make it stand out from your average skull logo... The main face is made from the 'negative space' formed by the beard and the hat. And as a second little addition, the teeth/mouth part are also an uppercase letter E on its side.

Little details like that are what give people a reason to talk about it, and ultimately, remember it.

To see more stuff like this, have a gander at more of my work here. 

Vote you

As a person who doesn't vote, this election is pretty irrelevant to me... Other than watching the circus on social media where folks are trying to decide which of the two candidates is the biggest bellend - That part is fun! 

But you know what? Whichever way it goes, whoever wins or loses, tomorrow the sun will still come up and you'll be doing pretty much whatever you were supposed to be doing anyway - Unless it snows of course, in which case WE'RE ALL SCREWED!

Protect your energy and focus on YOU

The danger in living vicariously through sports people, celebrities or political candidates is that you give THEM the power, and you allow them to control your happiness. By all means, vote... If you want to. But also accept that you don't have to. I hate the argument that "people died so you can vote"... Hmmm, maybe they did, maybe if we could ask them they'd have a different story. I'd argue that they died for my RIGHT to vote - I just choose to not exercise this right.

I think they'd have wanted me to have that choice too - Just in case the whole system was a corrupt farce, for example.

And if you're anything like me, you probably don't really understand the repercussions of casting your vote one way or the other anyway. Come on, be honest!

In fact, Naseem Taleb would argue that even the experts don't have a clue - Studies have shown that leading economists and political commentators are about as good at predicting future events as your average taxi driver - Both having a hit-rate of slightly worse than a random stab in the dark.

The danger I see is that people are too quick to attach their whole identity to somebody else's cause - To somebody who probably wouldn't urinate on you if you were on fire. How many politicians do you think actually want to deliver anything other than wins for themselves and the people who have funded their campaigns?

So until we get to a position where we have an actual democracy, I'm going to focus on MY world and MY goals - I'm voting Super Logo Boy 2016... And every year that follows!

Snapchat, Seinfeld and Fleetwood Mac

I woke up this morning thinking about streaking. And I don't mean the kind where nutters strip bollock-naked and sprint across a sports pitch to the sound of jeers and laughter from the crowd.

The kind of streak I mean is an "unbroken series of events]"... A great example is my favourite football team, Bolton Wanderers, have had a 'winning streak' of seven consecutive matches. 

But what does this have in common with Snapchat, Jerry Seinfeld and Fleetwood Mac?

Well, that's a good question, and I'm glad you asked..

They all know the importance of repetition and showing up every single day.

This is how you build discipline...

Snapchat is what really got me thinking about this, specifically the way they have 'gamified' the act of engaging with people by encouraging you to interact with your friends every single day.

If you're not aware, on Snapchat when you send 'snaps' back and forth with someone every day, you build up a 'hot streak' and get a cool little fire emoji next to the other person's name. I've got quite a few of these going on with a variety of people. Me and my buddy Rick are very close to having 100 days in a row... Although this is mostly for fun, it does highlight the importance of regular engagement and interactions with your audience. This is how you form bonds and build relationships... Consistency is everything.

If you miss a day, you lose the streak and have to start all over again. It's funny how (even as grown-ups) we can trick ourselves into action with something as trivial as a badge or emoji on a social media app.

But tricking yourself is actually a great way to look at it. And Jerry Seinfeld agrees. I use Jerry's system to keep myself writing every single day. I've mentioned this before, but he advises getting a big wall planner and marking a big X in every day where you sit down and write. Your only job is to NOT MISS A DAY.

Using this system I've not missed a day since 1st March this year. And the best thing is, it doesn't even feel like a task anymore. It's just something that I do.

So whether you want to exercise more, eat better or develop a new habit to help push yourself forwards, this idea of getting a 'streak' going and counting the days is really powerful.

I think of every day as day one. You might fall off. In fact, you almost certainly WILL fall off the waggon. But that's not the point. The point is the intention. The point is understanding that the only way change will happen is with regular work and constant endeavour... You should think about this one step, one day or one [whatever] at a time.

Get yourself a big-ass calendar and decide which habit you want to start building. Then mark big Xs on there every day that you put in the work. (Seeing these add up day-after-day is super addictive!)

Then just do what Jerry Seinfeld (and Fleetwood Mac) would advise.... Never Break the Chain.

Give them what they are looking for

Yesterday afternoon I was helping my buddy Rick go through some CVs.

The first bit was easy, ones that had clearly not been proof-read were immediately discarded - when you're applying for a job, check it again, and again, and again... and again, to make sure that it actually makes sense.

Better still, ask somebody else, who actually knows something about jobs, writing and work, for their opinion too. Ask them to be honest, and constructive.

But back to the CVs we had... The biggest mistake I saw was that they were too focussed on bigging themselves up. Now don't get me wrong, your CV is the place to talk about your skills and achievements, but it shouldn't read like an X Factor candidate begging to get through to the next stage.

There was ONE key thing lacking from nearly all of them.

They didn't give us what we were looking for

Most people didn't realise we had a problem we were trying to solve. If they had only looked at this from OUR point of view, rather than their own, they'd have been more likely to write the kind of things we were looking for.

Let me give you a different example:

When you are looking to buy a product and are on a company's website, what exactly are you looking for?

- Are you looking to find out how many years experience they have?
- Do you need to know what Terry from Brighton thinks about them?
- Want to learn more about their premium upgrades?

Well, I might care about what Terry from Brighton thinks, but the other two are going to have much less impact on whether I choose to buy from them or not.

What I believe you're really looking for is that the company understands that you are there because you have a problem. You are there because you are looking for a SOLUTION.

The ones who really do understand this will be focussed on your demonstrating that they can provide this solution for you. Terry will also vouch for them, but his words alone mean little if the rest of the information is redundant.

On my website, I talk about helping my clients to 'Stand out, get noticed and be remembered'.

It doesn't matter anywhere near as much that I've been doing this professionally for well over a decade or that I've had logos published in a few design books. What my prospective customers are looking for is evidence that I can help THEIR brand get more attention. It's as simple as that.

I just try to show my customers that I get this. I get why they need my help.

Smart businesses know this... And so do smart candidates.

We did get one CV through that was a little bit special - The applicant TOTALLY got this idea. He knew that Rick wasn't looking for a new colleague, but for somebody to solve problems within the business. This is the guy who got us talking the most - this is the guy we REMEMBERED - because he spoke in terms of problems he would solve and responsibilities he could take. It was one of the best CVs I've seen, to be fair.

Tomorrow on my newsletter I'm going to be talking about how you can frame your message in a way that is going to truly strike a chord with your audience.

It will help you to understand how you can get the kind of reaction from your audience that the CV I mentioned above had on us. 

Join (literally) dozens of other insiders, and receive this direct to your inbox every single Sunday.

Peace out.

Trick your brain and turbo charge your productivity

If you're like me, you probably face a constant battle to get through your list of tasks.

Productivity is what separates the good from the great... It's an area you should dedicate some serious energy to improving because it's going to have the biggest impact of what you can achieve.

The key to productivity is to become self-aware.

You must understand your strengths and actively build on them... But more importantly you need to know where your game is weak, and what steps you should take to fix it.

My business coach taught me a super-simple little hack that has helped me to consistently get more done, without working any extra hours. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, until recently, I used one master to-do-list and would simply work through as many items as I could in any given day. As new jobs came in, I'd add them to the bottom, which sometimes meant that the list would get longer by the end of the day, rather than shorter.

Psychologically, this had quite a demoralising effect.

So the simple is to use the last fifteen minutes of your day to look at your master list and write a secondary list, but with only the task you will get through the next day.

Typically this is going to be three or four key jobs... But be realistic and take the time to look at the tasks and make sure you have all the information you will need to get started.

If you're missing something, send an email or make a phone call... If you explain that you want to work on their task but need some information, you will normally find that people are quick to assist as it will help their project move forwards more quickly.

Another benefit to writing down what you're going to do the next day is that your subconscious will process this information during the evening and while you sleep.

But the big thing for me is the moment when you strike off that last task in a day... You'll go home feeling like you've achieved what you set out to and you'll feel fired up for the next day.

It may be an illusion, but if it has a positive impact, who cares, eh?!

Customer service BEFORE the sale

Obtrusive ads boil my piss... And I suspect that they do the same with you too.

You're trying to watch a youtube video and then some chump starts shouting at you, bullying you into creating an online betting account or paying for some course... It's crass and cheap.

Serve your customer BEFORE they buy from you

You must protect your brand image at all times.

How your customers perceive you is how they will talk about you. It's far better to nurture client relationships over a longer period than jump straight in with an offer trying to convert every conversation into a prospect.

Gary V says it best in Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook... You must give, give and give again before you ask for ANYTHING in return. Make your customer feel like you've got their back, long before they're ready to buy from you. Change your mindset to:

Their goals are YOUR goals.

Their problems are YOUR problems.

You win by making sure THEY win.

It's ALWAYS more about them, than it is about you.

Get this right, and they'll trust you more. Even if they don't buy from you immediately, they'll talk about you because you're different to every other sod who is trying to extract money from their purse.

Give first. Give again. Then just to be on the safe side, give a little bit more.

That way, when your customer is ready to buy, they'll think of you.

And the best part is that they'll feel that they've selected you rather than being brow-beaten into buying from you.

That's a far nicer experience, now. Isn't it?

My first day off

This is going to be a short blog post because it's a post to say that there won't be a post today. (Sort of)

I was talking with my business coach yesterday and got a bit of a telling off for working too hard and reading too much. If only my high school teachers could see me now!

But anyways, I hadn't actually realised, but I haven't  taken a day off this year, not even a Bank Holiday.

Some days I've done only a few hours work, but I haven't completely switched off at any point.

So today is going to be my first.

It's my wedding anniversary (7 years) and also my 'normal' anniversary (17 years)... It keeps it tidy to have these on the same day, and also saves thousands of pounds in 'extra' presents over the course of a relationship.

But I digress.

I'm taking the day off and am whisking the wife away for a fancy Michelin Starred meal.

Normal service will resume tomorrow.

:)

Carry a bloody notebook

You know that idea you had yesterday? The one you told yourself you wouldn't forget? You forgot it, didn't you?

Well, even if you didn't, it's definitely happened to you in the past. And if it's not, then you're either the second coming of Jesus or a liar.

There's a really easy solution to this problem, and you'll kick yourself when I tell you...

Carry a bloody notebook!

Then when you have an idea, you can write it down!

This is really useful for several reasons. One of these reasons is that it stops you from forgetting the idea.

An even better one, unbeknownst to most people, is that when you're stuck for an idea, you can consult your trusty notebook where you'll be confronted with a treasure trove of inspiration.

That's what I do.

I even make special trips to cafes to sit alone with my notebook; listening to some shouty rock music and letting my imagination muck about.

This is one of the ways I come up with ideas for projects I'm working on... Sometimes I just try and write a poem, a rap or something equally random... Whatever happens, though, I've given my 'idea-generation-muscle' a good workout.

Doing this often will mean you get better ideas... I promise you.

Your first idea is rarely the best, in fact, it's nearly always crap... So don't stop there!

Keep trying. Keep doodling. Keep playing and keep thinking.

Get into the habit of writing everything down. Don't be precious about the words. You don't have to show them to anybody... The main thing you need to do is GET THEM OUT OF YOUR HEAD so that you can make room for new ones.

This is just a tip, anyway. You don't HAVE to do it.

You probably should, though, and these notebooks are pretty damn sweet.

I'm off to buy some now, actually. It is payday, after all.

Super fast marketing

Have you noticed how difficult it is to focus your attention on anything these days?

Are you overwhelmed by the dizzying blur of ads, pictures, videos and status updates flying past your eyes on social media?

Well, that's how your customer feels. You should try to keep this in mind whenever you are putting a message out there that you them to notice.

To get anyone to respect your message, first, you must show ultimate respect for THEIR time.

If we're being optimistic, you've probably got (at the most) 1 full second to stop anyone in their tracks and entice them to take a second look at your message.

You need to keep your message brief, bold and to the point.

It needs to be visually stimulating. It needs to hit an emotion. It needs to trigger something in them that makes them give a shit.

But what do you do when nobody trusts adverts anymore?

Well, you need to work on building trust BEFORE selling.

Customer service happens BEFORE the sale, not during or after. You need to be there, helping, advising, assisting and sharing your knowledge over and over again, long before anyone is even considering making a purchase.

Another secret weapon you have is the knowledge that even though people no longer trust adverts, they DO trust influencers and they DO trust their friends.

You need to give these people a reason to talk about you to THEIR audience.

- Reach out to influencers and help them with their goals and on their mission.
- Provide amazing customer service; before, during and after the sale.
- Show your audience that the things they care about, matter to you too

Make these habits. Do them without questioning. And do them often.

And I reckon you almost certainly need to post more on social media posts.

I should increase my own frequency by 5X or more. If you post 'too often' and lose a follower or two, so what. They weren't going to buy from you anyway.

Posting more often will mean the people who ARE likely to buy will see you more often. So they'll buy probably sooner and maybe they'll even buy more frequently? The benefits seem to far outweigh the negatives here... If indeed the one I mentioned is even a real negative anyway. It's more of a... 'meh', to me.

I reckon if you've gone and put the effort in to create value for your audience, you need to make sure that this investment isn't wasted. This is a weakness in my game.

From now on I'm going to do what I'm advising YOU to do.

Talk about your stuff more. Be proud to share the value that you're providing.

Do this over and over and over again.

Become more familiar. Become a fixture on peoples' newsfeeds and a regular feature in their day.

This is what successful brands do, no matter how big they are and what resources they have.

They find a way to just be there. And because they are, we buy from them.

That's marketing.

You need to get some skills

I try to always learn something from films, even the daft ones.

Karate Kid can show us the importance of having well-sanded floors and a great mentor.

Back to the Future teaches us our dads were probably perverts and that we shouldn't double-cross terrorists.

Napoleon Dynamite, on the other hand, gives us something far more useful. It gives us the key to living a fulfilled life... It teaches us that you must work towards mastering something. Or several things. But reach mastery at least once.

"Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills"

Ok, he may only be interested in 'picking up chicks' but Napoleon is describing a problem I'm seeing pretty often these days.

People want the glory before they've put in the graft... They want websites, personal brands and businesses BEFORE they've even found something they love doing or are even any good at.

Personally, I blame the education system.

Back in the 90's when I was a teenager, the education I received was AT LEAST 30 years out of date. The textbooks were older than many of the teachers, and I don't recall seeing a careers advisor once.

I left with a surface level understanding of broad and 'pretty-much-useless' subjects, ill-equipped to deal with the problems and challenges I was going to face in a quickly changing world - I could find the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle, but knew Jack Shit about tax returns or how to figure out repayments on a credit card. It would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic.

The only solution, I feel, is self-education.

School is there to create a generation of dependent and entitled consumers... Not creative citizens who are primed to grow and thrive.

Listen to Napoleon Dynamite and get some skills.

But don't do this just to impress the opposite sex. Do it to find purpose and give yourself the chance to thrive. The way I see it, the happiest folks I know are super-talented at one thing. They got a crazy good skill that they LOVE doing and that people want to pay them for. 

I reckon this is the secret they're not telling us.

Also, that's how you create a powerful personal brand - You build on your strengths and focus on serving people - Then once your work starts getting noticed organically, then it's time to start shouting about it to the world.

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