I’ve been a consultant since freshman year of college.
- Lab Consultant: The guy working in the undergrad computer lab.
- HSF Consultant: The guy on your HSF project team.
- Health and Wellness Consultant. The guy behind Life is NOYOKE.
Actually I’ve been a consultant for much longer. And the list of things I consult on is much longer, too.
IT, finance, taxes, accounting, personal electronics, SEO, marketing, plumbing, Craigslist, Ebay, cooking, fitness, directions, gift-giving, menu-picking. Got an urgent question? Cool.
I’m a consultant. I fix problems.
When I get the call, I am almost always able to find a fix.
But in nearly every case, those in need were happier when I helped them find the fix on their own.
- Wait an hour to reply to “urgent” emails.
- Ask open-ended questions in response to their questions.
- Get really excited when they figure it out on their own.
Down to someone, and they might not listen.
Up to someone, and they might not listen.
Straight ahead with someone?
That’s what I’m talking about.
I’m asking the following question:
“Tell me about a time when you didn’t use your turn signal.”
If the answer is not something like, “That’s tough. I always use my turn signal. I don’t want to keep people guessing. That’s how accidents happen. And, it’s a great way to aggravate the people around me,” then the interview can end there.
Emails everybody likes getting:
- Updates on what’s new.
- Upcoming events I’m invited to.
- Interesting links that distract me or teach me something.
Friends send these types of emails.
You open them. And you hardly ever unsubscribe.
So why not think of your email list exactly the same way?
It’s how I think of mine.
Those who run their own business know. There’s lots of stuff to do. Of that stuff, it all fits into two categories:
- Stuff that eliminates personal annoyances.
- Stuff that moves the needle.
The former is usually:
- Easier to do.
- Easier to discover.
- More immediately satisfying to complete.
But the latter should always be the priority.
You’re the boss. Move the needle.
There are two categories of meat.
It’s pretty messed up to think about eating a cow sandwich. Or a pig chop. Or deer jerky.
The takeaway? Rebranding works.
If it weren’t rebranded, would still eat it? Or would you opt for chicken, turkey or fish instead?
Excluding an 8-hour work day, how do you spend the rest of your time?
Working more? Posting on Facebook?
Again, we are assuming you can and must work an 8-hour work day.
What if those hours after an 8-hour work day couldn’t be spent trying to make money or get attention.
Then what would you do?
[HT to Derek Sivers for his recent tweet]
Right now in my dirty clothes pile:
- Door stickers saying “Sorry, no dogs” and the parallels to the civil rights movement.
- People in positions of relative power when you’re situationally powerless.
- Websites that force you to watch video ads thereby valuing your time at CPM divided by 1,000.
- This year’s unrelenting winter.
- Bravo, the television network.
Once I get these things clean, I’ll wear ’em out in public.
Nobody likes a guy who wears dirty clothes.
If your business is:
- Local, be local.
- Small, be small.
- Young, be young.
For example, a Chicago-based retailer should be an authority on Chicago trends. A five-person team should show themselves off on their website. A one-man startup should use “I”, not “we.”
Be who you are.
You’ll attract people who like you for who you are and for who you are not.
Need to give a speech? Use your iPad to record yourself.
Because the written word is not the spoken word.
Watch yourself. You will:
- Know what works and add to it.
- See what sucks and change it.
- Build undeniable confidence.
Watching yourself speak asks the ultimate question: How do you really sound?
Record, watch, repeat. At least 7x. You’re welcome.
[This works wonders. Just ask my dad, recent father of the bride.]