5 Ways to Create Connection

Do you feel like your brand is showing up on social media in a big way? Are you blasting ads, promoting blogs and pushing pictures like a champion? How much of that content connects with your audience or are you pushing out the corporate version of “Hey girl”?

  1. Put Customer Service front and center for your business in the hands of a person backed by a plan. Build a list of contact names, areas of expertise, complete with emails, social handles and phone numbers. Then, educate your front person how you expect the list to be used. Do the subject matter experts want direct connection with the customer or do they want the social person to serve as the communication conduit? Build a process and thoroughly communicate it internally. You don’t want customers waiting days for acknowledgement and a follow-up solution. Make contact, connect with the right people on behalf of the customer, propose the solution or make the appropriate introductions.
  2. Really listen. Don’t just talk about your products and services Take the time to listen and speak to your customers’ needs. You can do this by following the comments and feedback sections of your blogs, products and social feed. You can also send out surveys to engage your customer base and get some real answers about the problems their facing.
  3. Segment your website to create a more personalized experience for your users. This requires a bit more knowledge of your guests and their preferences, but the payoff is an emotionally invested customer. By targeting preferences and speaking to their needs, they will feel known and seen. Isn’t that what we all want and need?
  4. Use your phone for something other than social media and sports scores. Believe it or not, you can talk to other people through that tiny box in your pocket! Pick it up and have a conversation with your customers about the ways they’re struggling. Ask them how you can better serve them. Then take the time to listen. This isn’t about making a sale. This is about solving a need and/or providing a real solution.
  5. Be human. Empathize. Drop the corporate-ese. Relate to your customers and guests the way that you would to friends and neighbors. If we take off our “corporate armor,” it’s much easier to find common ground. Then, it’s just two people talking about how to make things better.

Do any of these points resonate with you? What do you do to make sure you’re connecting and not just commenting?


Dress For Your Day

I will never forget the text message . . .

“I just went to the kitchen. There is a girl wearing leggings as pants with cat heads on her knees. Literally cat heads on her knees!!!”

Ruh-roh. Whaaaaaaaaaa???

Soon after I left corporate world they dropped the dress code in favor of something called “Dress for Your Day.” AKA – cat leggings are now pants. *facepalm to the side eyes power*

Don’t misunderstand – I believe in business evolution and the changing tides of fashion. But, when your kitty wears camel toe at corporate, it’s bound to cause a bit of a commotion in the cathouse . . . which means work isn’t being done. And that causes me to ask – what’s the motivation for changing dress codes and how does that impact your performance?

Certainly, as a freelance writer, I fully appreciate the comfort of working in yoga pants and an oversized sweatshirt . . . within the confines of my own home. You can be sure, though, that if I left the house to meet with a client, I would look nothing like I do now. However, I do believe that when I look better, I feel better – which means I work better. That’s why you’ll find me with a bit of tinted moisturizer and a fashioned pony – not just a greasy heap of hair.

I suppose I grew up at the tail-end of a time when people still celebrated dressing up. In fact, I remember not being allowed to wear jeans on an airplane! We dressed up to go to church, weddings, funerals and holiday dinners. And to go to work? Dress up – even when the attire is “casual.”

Casual doesn’t have to be ratty sneakers and an old concert tee. It can be jeans and a nice shirt with a cool jacket.

When did casual become synonymous with sloppy???

Should this be called “UN-dress For Your Day”???

I’m truly curious to know about your experience with “casual” attire in the workplace. Mostly because I know this is a topic people react strongly to.

Do you find that you more or less productive in different forms of dress? Do you find that it’s more distracting than motivating? How do you dress when you perform YOUR best? Leave a comment and let me know.





Money Talks: I’ll Show You Mine

Let’s talk about money for a minute.

(Did your skin just climb off your skeleton and crawl under the table? Call it back. I’ll wait.)

Financial conversations are key to successful freelancing. After all, you can be the most prolific writer or the most creative designer, but if you’re not paid fairly for the work you produce it’s a hobby, not a career. The problem is . . . nobody wants to be the first to name a price.

I’ve read tons of articles that say the freelancer should never name a price first. But, if I’m not to name a price and they’re not going to name a price, we’re never going to get any work done because we can’t agree on a price that we’re not talking about!

Is it just me or does the entire working world feel like a giant game of “chicken”?

So, in the name of getting work done, I’ll take a deep breath, close my eyes and show mine.

If I’m able to get an idea from the possible client about their budget, I will. Most of the time, though, companies don’t want to tip their hand. And, rather than not being in the game at all, I do my research and submit my quote.

Yes, I’ve left money on the table.
Yes, I’ve been told that I’m out of the company’s price range.
No, I don’t feel bad about it.

If I avoid naming a price at all, I won’t work. And, I love working! I love helping people share their message and sell their products and services. If that means that I win some and lose some, that’s great for two reasons:

  1. I believe in the law of big averages and know that everything evens out over time.
  2. It means that I’m showing up and participating – which is WAY better than working a job I hate and dreaming about being a freelancer.

To the writer or designer who doesn’t want to show yours first: do your research, know the going rates and averages, but above all else, know your worth.

Understand and communicate the unique skills that you bring to the table, because that’s YOUR competitive edge and selling point. If your prospect isn’t interested, that’s okay. It’s a disappointment, not a death sentence.

Take a deep breath. Feel sad. Reflect on what you could and would change about the experience. Then, keep going.

There are countless companies who want and need your time and talents. Find them . . . and fearlessly name your price.