‘Twas the Month Before Christmas

My musings this week lead me to write my first Christmas poem.  The ending is a little week and the poem is still a work in progress. I hope you enjoy it and I welcome your feedback.

Cheers,
Dan

‘Twas the month before Christmas

Grammas and grandpas, uncles and aunts were planning with glee

Christmas gifts for under the tree

Skates for Suzie

An e-book for Ned

A dolly for Tasha

Maybe a tablet instead

 

Parcels were packed

Cards were signed

And Monday morning they woke to find

Their gift sending in a bind

 

No mail was moving

Not even an inch

The mail was frozen like the heart of a Grinch

The mail would not move by foot or by car

Not by plane or by train

Not by truck or by bike

The posties were on strike

 

They cried for benefits

For hours and pay

And in the warehouse the mail would stay

Until they got their way

 

A ruling was made up on the hill

To work the posties must go

So to work they show but ever so slow

No smaller do the mountains of parcels grow

 

Now brothers in arms

Block the way

Continuing the delay

The unions are holding our nation at bay

 

Caring not for sobs and sighs

Or the little one’s cries

Ruining Christmas for those far away

Alas what a sad day

Friday Musings… 30 November 2018

Random comments on thoughts, ideas, things seen, or things overheard .

Anybody who knows me and has read my blog before knows I LOVE Fridays. Happy Friday!

Do you ever feel housebound or stuck in an office? How do you deal with that feeling?

I work from home so for me the feeling is housebound.

Usually when it happens to me I get restless, have trouble focusing and even feel a little anxious.

Today I pulled myself together and went to a coffee shop. It worked at first but it is lunch time and the lunch crowd is rolling in. Students, people who work locally, friends meeting for lunch and the odd person (like me) working.

I enjoy the energy of the people around me but when the shrillness of the voices and the volume goes up as everybody tries to talk over everybody else it overwhelms me.

Since I sat down I was able to organize several writing projects, get some quotes out, follow up on some invoices, do some research and complete the rough draft of a project I started on. A very productive few hours but it’s time to go. I can hardly hear myself think and thinking is important when you make your living from converting thoughts to printed words.

In closing here is something to think about;

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – ’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.” Mark Twain

Until next time,
Dan

Newsletters… Have you seen the big change in them?

Newsletters… have you caught onto the big change in them?

I’ve noticed a big change in newsletters over the last year. I like it.

What change you may be asking?

The biggest change is that they are getting easier to read because they have less images.

At one time you couldn’t send a newsletter without loading it with pictures to entice people to read it. Now it appears that images are on the way out.

Why?

It could be that roughly 90 per cent of people read their email on a mobile device. Images slow that down and eat data.

It could be that people want real information and a real story instead of glitz and glam.

It could be the fact that more and more newsletters are ending up as in the spam bucket because mail servers don’t trust them.

As a writer and newsletter producer I like this change. I used to spend hours laying out images in newsletters and then testing the newsletter before sending it. Some clients wanted more images than content which made them hard to produce and very time consuming.

How will this change affect newsletters?

After careful consideration I can see two improvements to newsletters because of this change.

  1. Headlines will get better.
  2. Content will get better.

A good headline or title grabs your interest and makes you want to read more but a great headline or title won’t make up for lousy content.

Two of my favourite newsletters are text only. No images, great headlines, very few links and well written about things I am interested in. I did an experiment with a newsletter I read every week. It only takes me a few minutes to read and it always makes me think I copied it into a word document and counted the number of words.  I was surprised to see that it had over 1000 words in it. The word count did not include the disclaimer, the contact info or the author’s bio.

So to play on an irritating television commercial “What’s in your newsletter?”

Until next time,
Dan

 

(p.s. Have you ever thought of how a well written newsletter could help you earn referrals, grow your business and strengthen relationships?)

Lost and found…

It’s been a while since I posted anything.

Like the song says…”I was lost but now am found.”

I’ve done more writing than shows up here. I’ve written website content, an email marketing piece, built a bunch of websites, half written over a dozen poems, drilled away at a bunch of short stories and punched keys on the book I am writing.

The biggest thing I have been struggling with is the loss of motivation because I haven’t been out networking and building relationships.

A short while ago I discovered that as I became less and less busy I became less and less productive.

I realized I was lost…

but now I am found.

What does that mean?

It means I am writing again. I have written more in the last sixty days than I have in the four months before that.

In March after neck surgery I lost the use of my right arm. I have some use back but am still limited.

I have found different ways to do things that I was able to do without thinking.

I have learned to accept help when it was offered.

I have been humbled and then I turned that into self-humiliation felt worth less (yes two words because I didn’t feel worthless I felt that I was not as valuable or an asset).

I developed some very bad time wasting habits because I was so unlimited by time and had such a loss of self worth. Those bad habits took control and I would spend a great deal of time being non-productive.

But my creativity has never stopped. My mind still functions and when I use it it functions better. It takes a lot of stimulus and effort to break bad habits. I had to create the habit of creativity. I had to work a few minutes at a time to push away the time wasting habits and transform creative thoughts to production.

I was lost but now am found.

In other words I am back! I have a new attitude and a wonderful appreciation of writing.

I am going to keep develop the writing habit I had and make it a strong again.

Over the last few years I spent a great deal of time networking, building relationships, meeting people, trying to grow a business but during the last few months of isolation I realized (actually it should be admitted not realized) a few things. Here are some of them…

  1. Not many people like me. They don’t dislike me but I am not on their “Let’s go for a coffee,lunch, drink etc. list” I am a fount of useless knowledge that most people don’t care about.
  2. I am not a warm and cuddly personality. I am a bit reserved (some people say aloof) and not a good let alone a great conversationalist.
  3. I am an introvert. I enjoy being alone. I find it hard to be out and be social because I am terrible at keeping up with conversations and knowing the various things happening in the world that people talk about.
  4. I would rather spend three hours writing a paragraph until it conveyed the right message for a client than risk saying the wrong thing (thankfully the clients who hire me want the right message). I am better at project billing than hourly billing because if I went hourly my clients would think I was ripping them off by billing like a lawyer.
  5. Even though I like the knowledge of building a website I would rather just supply the content. (Sadly people value the look of a website more than the content. People see looks but serious buyers and search engines search content.)
  6. I am a “techie”. I love knowing about technical things and am fascinated by equipment, software, technology, anything electrical, energy saving, energy generation, and recycling just to name a few things. I bore people when I start to talk about these things.
  7. I enjoy writing about things and for clients where I have to learn about them and there products or services.

I was lost but now am found…

I am writing again. Stay tuned.

10 Letters to Success…

10 Letters to Success…

I like direct mail. I don’t mean flyers or brochures or coupons or booklets or any of those other things that we find in our mailbox every day. I mean letters; letters sent to me that have my name on them. I write letters every month and I am going to kick it up a notch for the rest of June. I am going to write 10 letters a day from June 9th until June 30th. My goal is to have my business booming by the end of June. What does that mean? It means I will have more clients and referral partners.

There are 22 days left in the month. At 10 letters a day that means 220 letters. Just the postage alone will be $187.00!

Does that sound expensive? I have a system that I use so that my total cost for stationary, envelopes and stamps will only be $127.00. (I have already sent 20 letters using this system this month and no matter how many letters I send my cost will not change.)

Does that sound time consuming? Think about it sitting down and writing 10 letters, printing the letters, stuffing them in an envelope, printing the address labels, putting the address labels on the envelopes, putting the stamp on the envelope and getting the letters to the mail box. It sounds like it would take a couple of hours. The system I use will do all that for me. I just have to write the letters, pick who I am sending it to and click a button and woosh… the letter will be on it’s way.

Starting June 18th I will share the results of my letter campaign. Why June 18th? I have to allow time to get the letters delivered.

How will I measure the results? I will tell  every person I write that I will call them on a certain at a certain time.

What is my goal for this mail campaign? To get permission to meet them for a coffee and a short conversation to show them my system either in person or on a Zoom call.

Are you up for a challenge?

Sit down with me, look at my system and give it a try. If you don’t like what you see, no problem.

When was the last time you received a personal letter in the mail?

Letter in the mailWhen was the last time you received a personal letter in the mail?

How did it make you feel?

When was the last time you sent a letter or card?

Sadly the world has jumped on board with email, texting, instant messaging and abandoned snail mail.

Do remember the pleasure of going to the mail box and getting something besides bills and flyers?

I have discovered that I enjoy writing letters. It is probably one of the nicest things I do for myself and other people. I am sad to admit that I didn’t do it often enough in the past. I can change that now.

I have been using a system for a few years that lets me send real cards in the mail. I get the pleasure of writing the card and knowing that the person I’m sending it to is getting a card in the mail. I didn’t use it as much as I wanted because I was limited by how much I had in my account every month. At the end of April that all changed! I can now send as many cards as I want for $97.00(USD) a month. If I only send one card a day that works out to $3.23(USD) per month based on 30 days. Now the fun part… if I send 2 cards a day it is only $1.62(USD). Every time I use the system I reduce my cost per card. AND THOSE PRICES INCLUDE POSTAGE! It is the best value I have seen for sending cards in the mail.

What a great way for everybody to be nice to people!

Send thank you cards to customers and clients.

Send thank you cards to referral partners.

Send nice to meet you cards.

Send birthday cards.

Send cards just to say hello.

Send cards to people you want to reconnect with.

Send get well cards.

Send cards just because you can.

And it gets even better…I sent in a sample of my handwriting to the company and now when I send a card I can choose my own handwriting as a font!

All this from an app on your phone.

I love this system so much that I promote it to business people as a great marketing tool and help other people get into the business themselves.

It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s affordable.

Want a free account or to learn more? Click here.

Thoughts on Social Media 5 May 2018

social media icons

 

“It’s so funny how social media was just this fun thing, and now it’s this monster that consumes so many millennial lives.‘ Cazzie David

“The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.” JR

As I was adding the poetry page to my website I was thinking of some of the poems I had written and found one about social media.

I am not against social media. I have seen it help bring people together. I have seen it used to share important information.

My struggle with social media is how disconnected we are becoming. It appears that we are too busy to answer the phone, we are too busy to call a friend, we are too busy to go for a coffee with someone.

Here are a few stats on Facebook usage;

(source https://sproutsocial.com/insights/facebook-stats-for-marketers/)

Active users as of June 30, 2017; there are 2 billion monthly active users and over 1 billion daily active users

Facebook time is decreasing and is down to an average of 35 minutes per day.

Facebook users check their page and average of 8 times a day.

It doesn’t sound like much but when you add the multitude of other social media platforms people check every day then social media time is a big part of each person’s day.

Here is a link to the page where I post my poems.  I wrote Social Media one day when I was feeling very disconnected from people.

A few business questions and a story

business questionsI have a few questions and a story for the sales people and business people out there.

Would you rather do more business or less business?

Would you rather do more repeat business or less repeat business?

Would you rather get more referrals or less referrals?

How much does it cost you to get new business compared to repeat and referral business?

Are you open to learning how you can make more sales and do more business?

I know when I ask those questions business people stop and listen. As a business person I ask myself every day how I can increase repeat and referral business. I use a simple, affordable system to build repeat and referral business and to generate new business.

Now the story…

Today I went for a walk in downtown Whitby. I can’t drive right now so I decided to walk and talk to business owners. I set a goal to meet and talk to 25 people and get permission to send them something.

In 24 of the businesses the managers and owners were open to me when I asked if I could send them some information, some even asked when I could email it.

In one business I went into I was referred to the “Chief Marketing Officer”. Initially he refused to  speak to me but after I asked one question he did let me speak for a minute.

When I said I would like to send him some information and asked him for his card he refused. His answer was “I don’t want to get on a mailing list and get a bunch of junk in my inbox.” I explained to him again that I was going to send the information by snail mail. He begrudgingly gave me his card after a few seconds of thought.

I reassured him that I would mail not email the information and left.

Now for the interesting part of the story…

The company provides digital marketing services to business. On their website they have opt-in forms for people request information which subscribes them to their list…BUT THEY DON”T WANT TO BE ON ANYBODY’S LIST.

What do you think?

(If you are open to making more sales and doing more business get in touch.)

 

Thoughts on networking…

businessnetworking

Networking. Being face to face with real people. Shaking hands. Listening. Looking for ways to help the people you meet. Give referrals.

Don’t try to sell, open the door to future conversations. Ask questions. Follow up. Provide value.

Have fun.

 

 

To nurture the sort of relationships that will truly help propel you towards accomplishing great things, you need to forget transactional networking and focus on having in-depth conversations with fewer people about subjects you really care about.
Naveen Jain

My advice for folks on networking is give, give, give. You will later receive. But you are really planting these seeds. Some of them will die, and they won’t become anything. Many of them will take many, many years before they pay off for you if at all.
Sallie Krawcheck

 

Build your list or die

build your email listBuild your list or die.

Sadly many of the online marketers are promoting this idea and business owners and salespeople are falling for it.

Get as many names and email addresses as you can as fast as you can and sell them something. That works if you are selling a product for $29.99 (or whatever price point they use) but it becomes a lot of work every month. Unsubscribes shrink the list, new products must be developed or old products repackaged, content must be revised in the website and in every email, value must be proven every time and everything needs to compete with gazillions of free offers on the internet.

 

I am sad to say when I first started out years ago I bought into this idea in a big way. I was always looking for cheap, dirty tricks to build my email list. I offered white papers, I offered a newsletter, I gave away free advice but it didn’t work for me because I wasn’t earning any money.

I changed tactics and went back to what I enjoy and learn from, before I tell you my secret tactic please ask yourself these important questions…

  • How many new customers do you need each month to make a living?
  • How many existing customers re-order every month?
  • How many referrals do you generate from your relationships every month?

Once I understood these questions and the numbers involved I realized that for me and my business that building a super large list was the wrong way for me to achieve success. I studied many successful who were making more money than I was to see what they were doing. I shrunk my list. I went back to my favourite tactic and my success increased and so did my income.

I will repeat that… I shrunk my list. I went from lists of thousands to a list of less than two hundred. I made it harder for people to get on my list. I went back to my favourite business building tactic and it is working for me.

My favourite business building tactic is easy, affordable, fun and helps me meet new people all the time.

What is it?

Building relationships by talking to people. My mother told me to never talk to strangers but I have learned more and made more money from talking to strangers than anything else I have ever done to increase my sales. I have made more sales because I built relationships. I have given and received more referrals because I have built relationships. (I am planning another post about how I meet new people every day and 99% of the business people I know won’t do it.)

So to sum it all up –

  • I shortened my list dramatically,
  • I made it hard to get on my list,
  • I build relationships by helping others and
  • I am happier and my business is growing.

In my experience the guru’s are wrong don’t build your list, shorten it and build relationships instead.

Here is what Marcus Lemonius  (www.marcuslemonis.com/pages/about-us) said about relationships;

“People are the core of every business. Businesses are based on relationships, and relationships are based on people. I would go to an average restaurant run by amazing people over an outstanding restaurant run by awful people.”