This was me, six years ago

 

six years ago

 

I’ve been thinking about how far I’ve come in the last couple of years. On my down days, I feel like I’m pedalling that same bike around that same circuit.

Except I’m not.

Just like Karen Gunton’s lighthouse analogy, it might seem like we’re going round in circles, but we’re actually spiralling upwards. We can tell, because the view changes as we go.

Here’s a little something I wrote six years ago, when I had the tiniest Etsy shop with the baddest photos. Scarlet was my alter-ego, who spent a lot of time sighing and looking out the window, wishing things were better.

 

KAPOW.

Super Scarlet was back in business.
“This is it.” thought Scarlet. “Today is the day.”
Today was mid-winter solstice. “The longest night means that tomorrow, the days will start getting longer. Time for a spring clean.”
She grabbed pencil and paper.
Time to make a to-do list.

Finish 3 more cushions
Make 5 new bags.
Sort some business cards.
Tidy that garden. (oh my, have you seen it of late?)
Sort that bookshelf.
Fix those broken toys.
Do those clothing repairs.
Vacuum that filthy floor.
Wash that school uniform for tomorrow.
Do those dishes…

Oh.

Um, OK. now to prioritise.
Hmmm. She turned the list upside down and sighed.

 

Um, No.

Sure life with a family is a juggle – it always is and nothing’s going to change that. But seriously? Those house jobs are not your business. If you’re serious about your business, that list will stay right way up. No, it’s not easy, and of course you have to be flexible. Factor that stuff in to your timetable. If you’re serious, you’ll find a way to make it all fit.

 

Remember this:
There’s never enough time to do everything.
It always comes down to priorities.

 

Happy solstice x

So, what was the 2016 Artful Business Conference like?
2016 artful business conference

Me, hanging out with a few friends at the Artful Business Conference – Jess, Dominique, Tash, Jayne, Karen, and Stevie <3

 

What WAS the 2016 Artful Business Conference like? Perhaps I don’t even have to say the words. Of course it was fabulous.

I got to actually MEET and give hugs to Jess Van Den, who I’ve known online for about a gazillion years. Too too beautiful! I got to dance with a room full of 80 or so women and laugh. I got my soul stirred by the hauntingly beautiful voice of Dominique Oyston. I got to play with paper and glue and textas, and draw on the table. I was lucky enough to get an Indian head massage from Shalini. I got fed SO much incredible information and I have written pages and pages and PAGES of notes of things to implement (oh!!!!). Hugs hugs and more hugs with gorgeous people I met IRL at last year’s conference – Tash Corbin, Karen Gunton, Jess May, Katie Wyatt, Jayne Traeger-Bliss and so many more…. and of course ELLE and her team – Meg, Kellie, and Jodi. And even more hugs from new friends I’ve only met online since last year. So many laughs, and tears too – of joy, of resonance, and connection (and not as many tears from overwhelm like there were for me last year, haha!!).

There were some fabulous quotes too.

“Focus on one thing” – Katie

“You’ve got to fill yourself up from the inside out” – Melanie

“You can never live the life you want without disappointing some people” – Felicity

“Focus on the long game” – Tash

“Don’t tolerate. What’s the biggest thing you’re tolerating in your life right now?” – Sylvia

“Tell yourself, ‘It’s a practice’. Give yourself permission to make mistakes” – Tash

“It’s not Artful unless there’s tears” – Jayne

“A keynote speech is an emotional journey.
You need to get your audience to feel why it’s important.” – Dominique

 

 

That last one is particularly important for me. Because I’ve got a little announcement to make.

 

I’M GOING TO BE SPEAKING AT NEXT YEAR’S EVENT.

 

Hooley freaking dooley. Yes I am.

And I cannot wait. Book your ticket here, and I’ll see you there.

 

avi IMG_0108 crop circle brighter

 

Big love, Julie x

Here’s an unhappy customer story (or two)

customer service is part of your branding too

Customer service is part of your branding too.

You know all those pretty visuals you’ve got for your branding? It ain’t worth a scrap if you don’t treat your customers right. Yeah yeah nup; in the last few days I’ve been witness to some fairly unpleasant interactions.

Like at the takeaway counter when a customer queried his change, and the embarrassed sales assistant spent a silly amount of time fluffing over a calculator, then finally and hurriedly shoved the money into his hand and simply looked away.

He was polite, she was SO not. Not even a quick “sorry”.

Whaaaat!? Seriously, good manners cost nothing, and will vastly improve your chances of repeat business. (I doubt that customer will be back, even though the food is excellent.)

Like when I was at another business waiting for something to be finished, and they kept telling me, “won’t be much longer” and it ended up taking HOURS. (At least I got a brief apology.)

I mean, let me know how long it’s actually going to take and I will happily organise my life around that – I have plenty of things to do. Don’t coddle me along with a vague half-truth (because of course, hours are less than days and in that sense, no it’s not a long time). But now, I’m peeved because they weren’t straight with me, and made me late.

 

Always, always, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think what they’re thinking.

 

And yes, the same goes for me.

I had an unhappy customer a short while ago. I was mortified. I wrote to her, explaining what we’d done and what she’d achieved, offered a couple of ways to rectify the problem, and sent her a copy of my e-book. But she was dismissive and fairly ungracious about the situation, and demanded a refund.

Ouch. That REALLY hurt. Not the refund of course, but the fact that I had disappointed someone so badly. Was I really so hopeless at delivering the service?

But after going through some angst and thinking about what the actual problem was, I realised that it boiled down to the fact that her expectations of what she was getting didn’t match with what I was offering. And so in that sense, yes it’s my fault because I didn’t make it clear what she would get. When I delivered something different to what she was expecting, she got cranky.

 

(And just a sidenote here: Always be gracious. Whether you’re a customer or a business owner, good manners work both ways.)

 

Now, I’m re-writing my sales copy so that there’s no mistaking what’s on offer. I’ve already re-written my intro to this service so everyone’s clear from the get-go. Everybody wins from this – I get the right customers, and they get exactly the service they’re wanting and expecting.

So the moral of these stories is, at EVERY interaction with your customer, try and think what they’re thinking. Because if you don’t… unhappy customers. They won’t come back. And they’ll tell their friends about their bad experiences.

And these interactions start early – not when they’re actually putting money on the counter, but when they first clap eyes on you. When they first see your website. When they see your happy, smilin’ face in your profile shot. When they read your About page. When they read your sales copy. When they read your testimonials.

 

Those interactions continue throughout the transaction.

Your relationship with your customer starts when they first clap eyes on you, and does not end… Click To Tweet

 

How easy is it it for them to contact you and ask questions? How clear are you about what exactly it is that you’re offering (is there anything you’re specifically not offering?) How easy is it to buy something from you (what’s your cart system like?) How long do they have to wait for delivery? What should they have at the end of the transaction? (This last one’s especially important for service-based businesses.)

And at the end – how can you delight your customer, so that they become repeat customers and raving fans? So that they talk about you with a happy face, and recommend you to their friends?

To know what’s in their heads at every turn of the transaction might seem like an impossible task.

 

But it’s so much easier if you know exactly who your ideal customer is.

 

Who are they? What are they looking for? What are they aspiring to, and how can you help them achieve that?
Talk to them. Ask them.

And remember, every unhappy customer is a chance to learn, to improve, so that your next customer experience is a wonderful one.

 

Spread the love.

Julie x