Top 7 Posts You Liked Best in 2016

I love to reflect and review this time of year.  Taking a peek at all the blog posts written or revised in 2016 was a fun way to look back at what you – the reader – liked best.

Top 7 Blog Posts You Liked Best in 2016

Below in descending order of popularity are the blog posts you liked best as measured by sharing it with your peeps. [Read more…]

3 Things You Must Know to Price & Package Your Services Profitably

3 things you must know to price and package your services profitably

If you’re a service based small business owner, you know how valuable your time and financial resources are.  Pricing is on your mind regularly as you package new offerings, estimate potential projects, and track your financials.

Pricing is one of the few things about owning a business that can make or break you. Get it wrong and you’ll find yourself in deep waters even if the opportunity of a lifetime finds its way to you.  Remember that if you’re losing money on a small bit of business, if you suddenly get a fire hose full of business you do not make it up in volume. You simply drown faster and more dramatically.

The good news is since you’re the boss you can and will change (whether a tweak or an overhaul) your pricing to address ever-changing life, business, and market conditions.  The secret lies in a sound foundation and thought-process and regular measurement.

Here are 3 things you absolutely must know.

1 – How to calculate your hourly rate

I beg you –  Do NOT just pull a figure out of the air and run with it.  You need to understand your numbers or you will forever be winging it.

Not planning on trading time for money so you think you don’t need an hourly rate?

Even if you never-ever work hourly with clients it is imperative to know what your hourly rate is so you can price your packaged and group services profitably and have a metric against which to measure your estimates versus real-world experience.  (Has it ever taken you longer to prepare for or complete a project? I thought so…)

A thought process and calculation that takes into account time, money (including expenses and taxes), and capacity is crucial to making this work.

[Read more…]

Do You Find Yourself Working More But Earning Less? 3 Reasons You Fall into this Trap and How to Break Free

Why You Are Not Getting Paid What You're Worth

Have you ever found yourself working extra but not getting paid for it?

I don’t mean over delivering by adding extra value and delighting your clients. I’m ALL for that.  In fact I highly recommend frequently delighting your clients!

What I’m talking about is the dreaded… (Cue the spooky music)

Scope Creep…

Or the

Over-needy client who wants “just one more little thing”.

Ever happen to you?

If you’re in business – of course it has!  Scope creep can be a natural byproduct of many different kinds of projects (think: design, tech projects, and construction just to name a few).  Wanting “one more thing” can be a sign of someone who is thinking through their requirements as they go.

Neither of these things is inherently bad.  It’s what you do with them that set you up for success or a spiral of resentment, misery, and lack of cash.

Here are the top 3 reasons why you may find yourself working like a dog but earning less and less and what to do about it.

Wanting to Be “Nice”

[Read more…]

5 Good Reasons to Run Experiments in Your Business

5 Good Reasons to Run Experiments in Your BusinessDo you spend a lot of time thinking about taking action?

Are you often wringing your hands and gnashing your teeth trying to figure out the perfect action to take?

That’s a great deal of time, energy and opportunity wasted.

How might things be different if you treated your business as a series of calculated experiments?

My natural proclivity is to over-think, over-plan, and over-prepare.  The problem is it was sucking the life out of me and was working against me as a business owner.  That’s when a few mentors planted the seed of experimentation in me.  Things have never been the same – in a damn good way – since.

For the purpose of this discussion, I define experimentation as taking intentional action, consistently, over a long enough period time to get meaningful data.  You may or may not get the outcome you seek but you will get experience and data that informs your next step.  It’s not haphazard “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” style, but thoughtful, playful choices of what actions to take based on your overall strategy.

Here are 5 reasons to approach everything with a spirit of experimentation.

You will learn far more from doing it than from thinking about it

I was talking to a colleague the other day that admitted that she spends a lot of time thinking about thinking about taking action. It gets her hung up and in a vicious cycle of not taking (enough) action over a long enough period of time to see if her ideas are viable.  I said, “You will learn far more from doing the thing than from thinking about the thing.”   Action is the antidote to fear, uncertainty, and stagnancy.  If you treat everything as an experiment, you spend more time in action and less time thinking about it. [Read more…]

How to Know if You are Ready to Hire a Team

Are You Ready to Hire a Team?We self-employed business owners can be a bunch of control freaks.  Think about it, you likely left a more institutional job (think corporate, academia, etc.) for the freedom and flexibility of being your own boss. You wanted to be in charge and in some cases were adamant about never having to take orders from anyone else again.


I work with my fair share of (recovering) control freaks and perfectionists, and I would put myself squarely in that category.  When I am clear about what I want and why, I am particular. (My family would call me FUSSY…let that word drag out on your tongue a bit and you’ll have their tone…)

Being particular is not the problem. Being unwilling to let go can be.

There comes a point in every business where you reach a tipping point at which you must address the question “Do I bring on a team?”

What Constitutes a Team?

Many people mistakenly believe that bringing on a team needs to a look a certain way. It doesn’t. For the sake of this conversation let us define team as:

            One or more person(s) who performs tasks in your business that either you cannot perform yourself or do not want to.

So a team could be as elaborate as having full or part-time employees that work exclusively for you or as informal as a local high school or college student who helps you out from time to time. It can be anything in between or mix of all of the above.

It can cost you thousands of dollars a month or $50 every now and then.  However you want it to work, it can.  Creativity is your friend.

Are You Ready for a Team?

I was resistant to having a team at first but now I know the value it brings.  What frustrates me about conversations on this topic is that there appear to be two schools of thought:

  • The do-it-all-yourself forever camp
  • The bring on an elaborate team as soon as possible even before you’re ready school of thought.

[Read more…]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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