Money Monday

"Smoke 'em" Mentality: The Frame Of Mind You Need To Get 'Er Done

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Smoke ‘em

“I’ll smoke him,” is what I said to a friend after my friend told me that they had been talking to So-and-So, who told them that So-and-So was going to up his game in the website design space in a for-real way, rather than a side-gig way. I have occupied the website design space for more than fifteen years of my small business career, and I welcome anyone into that space, as it’s a fast and bumpy ride that needs really good management. Furthermore, there are a lot of fish in the sea, and website design shops with different specialties to accommodate different types and needs of clients.

But here’s the catch of this story. As So-and-So was telling my friend this information, he did so with an apology in his voice. Like: “Tell Katie I’m sorry, but I’m going to be doing websites in the neighborhood.” But because I understand my small business space, and my customer, I feel no fear of this competition. Normally I’d shrug this off, like: “Nice of him to show consideration, but he needn’t!”

But instead I said: “He needn’t be concerned! I’ll smoke him.”

I’m not normally that bold. But it felt good. I wanted to bottle it and use it again.

The core of this reaction happened because this newbie website designer had just crossed the Girlfriend Code Zone by doing something silly to one of my friends, so I was not in a sympathetic place with him. That feeling of utter confidence and clarity of his entering my competitive space was one I wanted to use again for a fight that really mattered.

The “Smoke ‘em” Mentality

The “Smoke ‘em” mentality gets us through a lot of scary things we need to succeed in. Could be a public policy shift. A public opinion shift. A real threat from a competitive business. Or even a threat from a client, or former client. A few years ago, I had a one-time advertising client tell me that if I wrote an article that showed him in a bad light, “You’ll lose me as an advertiser, m’dear.” Well, he wasn’t advertising at the time, so it was an empty threat, but veiled nonetheless. It left me speechless. Not that I cared for losing the business, but that I was spoken to so boldly.

There are other examples that the “I’ll Smoke Him Mentality” could apply to, in order to help someone handle a situation differently, with more effect. And it doesn’t only happen with men. Female business friends in my space who would be considered competition also make moves that are direct hits. You know my feelings now on being polite and apologizing. I’m over it.

The Huge Benefit Of Competition Moving In

There is a huge positive to competition moving in: whatever competition lights the fire under you, and whatever it is that you decide to do with that fire, is probably something you should have been doing anyway. You just had no motivation to do it. Or, you were so hypnotized by your day-to-day that the idea never occurred to you.

Let’s look at marketing strategies, for example. There are loads of different social media photos and videos you could be doing. Or much sharper pitches to the media that could land you a really cool feature. Or a blogging strategy you could start on your website in order to attract searches from Google. Sometimes this competition gives you clarity that was a long time coming.

Fire Lit

Now you see how the the “Smoke ‘em” mentality isn’t a malicious one. It is just a necessary one sometimes. You can be friends with someone, drink wine with them, enjoy their talents or sense of humor. But when you disagree on something, or a big shift needs to happen, you can summon your inner “Smoke ‘em” mentality to “get ‘er done.” Another one of my favorite phrases.

Women Business Owners: Play. Score. Repeat. Just Like The Women's Soccer Team During The World Cup

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

When I walked into my sunroom where the TV was on the day after the U.S. Women’s soccer team defeated Thailand 13-0 during the World Cup, I heard a group of talk show hosts on FOX discussing the appropriateness of the 13-0 score. FOX is broadcasting the Women’s World Cup this year.

What wasn’t mentioned in the seconds of the segment that I heard, was the previous year’s win of 9-0 the U.S. Women’s team had over Thailand. Or that it was the biggest blowout in history for men or women. Or that it broke the previous record of 11-0 win of Germany over Argentina in 2007. Or that “star striker Alex Morgan scored an astounding 5 goals to tie a long-standing record set by Michelle Akers against Taiwan in 1991,” as pointed out in this New York Daily News article. Or that in soccer, goals matter for a match tie breaker among teams and games played.

An article in The Washington Post by Steven Goff included many of these facts in his overview of the situation, and presented this concept: “The score also raised questions about whether the three-time champions needed to continue hunting for goals.”

Is There Room For Appropriateness In Hunting For Goals?

Hunting for goals is the name of the game. This isn’t a scrimmage. This isn’t a passing exercise. This is the World Cup. The whole point of the game is to score goals, not to apologize or hold back out of politeness.

In the article, defender Kelley O’Hara was quoted: “You don’t want to take your foot off the pedal because you want to respect the game and play them as you would play anyone else. It is a tournament. Goal differential matters. You can’t feel bad for scoring as many goals as possible.”

Turn Passion Into Profit - Is Appropriateness Factored Into Profit?

This reminded me of women in business, who are conditioned and encouraged to follow their passion. “Turn your passion into a paycheck,” is often how it goes. But winning, being a breadwinner, paying the bills, saving for retirement, aren’t usually part of the cliches in pretty Instagram quote posters. Instead, supporters on the home-front may show support, while at the same time, say things that condition a woman to hold back. Like any of these statements:

“If you have a storefront, will it suck you away from the family?”

“I don’t want to financially support a product you think you have, but don’t.”

“Why do you need an LLC (aka any business entity)?”

“The kids miss you.”

“Lower your fundraising projection because the other kids may not fund raise as much, and then you’ll stick out and it might make them feel bad.” (I actually said this one - fortunately my 9-yo daughter called me on it.)

Falling passively behind in our competence can happen easily, thus slowing down the business creation and growth.

Conditioning Women To Back Down Via Everyday Examples - Watch For It

The criticism that was being marketed on TV the morning after the game played right into the hands of casually conditioning women on how they should be in this world: Passive. Polite. To step aside. To step around. To not make someone feel uncomfortable. To not be bossy. Respectful to the point of deadness.

Couch Critics had typed into Comment boxes: “They should have let the clocks run out. I hope they slink home. I hope they don’t get paid what they are fighting for right now.”

Polite vs Getting The Job Done

When you’re on the field, as when you are engaged in the business you have created, you are running your heart out. All of your endorphins and adrenaline and smarts are pumping at their highest levels. When you have physically trained for this moment for years of your life, you are not going to step aside and say:

“You know what, I won’t score on you.”

”You know what? I don’t want to make you feel bad.”

”You know what? I’m sorry that your defense could be better. I’m sorry that you’re not as good as you could be in the goal. I’m sorry that your country hasn’t invested enough systematically into women to give you better coaching, encouragement, belief and motivation.”

”I’ll just bring this ball right to your goal, freak you out, and then kick it aside to my teammate. My teammates and I will just play pass-the-ball to each other on your end of the field until the clock runs out, which could be many minutes from now, which in sports, should normally stretch out into an hour, but because the those wanting women to be polite will be offended for you, we will make this game as unexciting as possible, doing nothing, except passing and dancing around you. And then we might get critizised for teasing you or showing off with our fancy footwork. And we might even get in trouble for not ‘showing up’ and competitively respecting the other team with honest goals.”

Wake Up, Women

You know what? This mentality is real, and is what keeps women down. It is spoken to women by other women and men, and by the most important person: one’s own self. It is what keeps women not growing their business into the successfully streamlined businesses they can be. Small or large businesses. Doesn’t matter. Women are conditioned to step aside and be polite.

When a woman shows aggression, when she shows success over and over again, the haters get jealous. Admit it. You’ve seen business creators in your Instagram, and you may have thought: “When will they stop? When will they give up? When will they stop showing this win with their latest new idea or feature in the media?”

Women’s Self-Sabatoge Mislabeled “Sportsmanship”

Women easily self-sabatoge, opting to pass the ball around the goal, and not score. Even if the scoring is easy. Even if with teammates and conditioned teamwork, the scoring, the executing of good ideas, the satisfaction of completing what is practiced after so many years of long weekends or long nights and Monday holiday work sessions, is successfully completed time and again.

Letting the clock run out and not scoring in a World Cup championship is not what athletes and professional teams do during championships. Letting the clock run out is not how you grow your business. Not scoring is not why you created this business.

Surround yourself with teammates who will condition what you need to get sh*t done. That could be increasing your profits. That could be planning your retirement. This could be growing enough that you actually step away and actually go on vacation. Because honestly, who wants to keep working from the beach? You want to lay out in the sun and play volleyball on the beach, and swim with the dolphins.

Let your business do this for you. Be a winner. Keep scoring. That is why you’re playing.

Is It Money Monday? YES!

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Happy Monday!

We were all set to send you the juicy answers from an expert on how she landed herself 2 morning show segments back to back - but then upon walking into the office this morning - after doing all of the pre-game money things to make the Monday run smooth - we were asked by co-worker Kat (she heads up the Media Research around here): "Is it Money Monday!?!" as she excitedly waved around a few bills envelopes in her hands.

"Of course!" So we turned this ship around to focus on your Monday and how you're making it a great one, so that you can hopefully slide into the evening feeling a sense of completion as you coast into Tuesday.


3 Tips For A Great Money Monday

  • Update Your Clients First: For the service providers in the house, stay one step ahead of your clients by sending them an update on the project they are doing with you. Could be big update, or a tiny one. Just touch base with them before they reach out and ask for an update.

  • Get Updates From Your Peeps: Check in on your team members to get their status, so that you can pass it along to those who need the status update.

  • Pay A Bill: That's right. Clear that bill and issue yourself a new payroll check if you need to. This propels you forward to earn more money.

  • Buck The Struggle Habit: If you're constantly living on fumes, you may be suffering from an addiction to a hard ass hustle. Is the hustle the only thing making you hungry? You might need to flip that addiction to welcome abundance and growth. This post from Chiara Mazzucco of Boldself might help you buck this habit.

  • Step Away From The Mess: It was a busy weekend, and your house might be a mess. Monday Mornings are great days to clean - if you are compulsive cleaners like us - and if you work from your home. We work both from home and our amazing office on Main Street in Beacon, NY, and would love to tidy up. But, this mental shift can take you off your money making game, so you need to step away from that slime making experiment left on the table.

  • Exceptions to Cleaning: If you are pitching while you clean on your smart phone, you can clean. If you are pitching new clients, sponsors, or the media while you are mopping, then carry on. We are advocates of fast, iPhone-based pitches because it keeps you brief and to the point. You're also in a state of blocked out fear - so you can power through an otherwise staring-at-the-blank-screen zone that can sometimes paralyze you.


Money Monday: That's So Money

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

Photo Credit: Katie Hellmuth Martin

That's So Money...

It's real easy to get caught up in the cycle of the day to day. But you need to break free and do something special that is going to push the needle on your revenue and grow your business like you want it. Your to-do list today needs to have one or two top money items on it.

On this Money Monday, here's what you need to do to push that needle. Do at least 1 of these things today. You don't need to do all. Pick one:


Cross-Promotional Partnership

If you have a cross-promotional partnership percolating that gets your company in front of another company, you need to seal that deal and start the promotion. Get your logo and offerings in front of their audience. What can you do to make that happen today?


PR - Dream Feature

Who can you pitch today that would really "get" your business, making a feature easier? If you don't know the answer to this, you need to start reading your target magazines, or watching your target shows. Identify the person in the media that is writing or producing something that is a natural fit with what you can talk about, as it relates to your business, or what you are getting the word out about. This could even be an indirect feature about a concept that your business does, and not a focused feature on your business at all.


Video - Instagram to YouTube

Make one video today - 30seconds or 5 minutes. Something to get your logo up in your Insta Stories and stay in front of your people. Did you just draw something? Did you just have an idea that your audience would benefit from? Tell them about it today. In person. In a video. Then upload it to your YouTube channel so that it stays "forever" and benefits from YouTube's SEO.


Newsletter To Your People

Did you put a new class on the books? Can people sign up for a new workshop? Hopefully you put it on your Instagram at the very least. Now you need to send a dedicated newsletter about it.


Discomfort Zone - Do Something Unusual

What really irks you about your competition? What would your competition do that you would never do?

Do that. Put yourself in your discomfort zone, and promote your business in a way that you would never do. Showcase it in a way that you think is too in someone's face. If it's a photo spread of your rental package, if it's buying an ad in a hip magazine, do it.


Talk To Us

Need help identifying what this is?
Got a plan to go big with a new announcement, and want make sure you're covering your bases?
Join Tin Shingle's owner Katie this Wednesday at the members-only TuneUp, where you can connect in person via video conference to discuss your plans.
Join us.

Money Monday: Show Them Value: Don't Lower Your Price

We hear a lot about pricing here at Tin Shingle. You're getting the word out about something you sell (most of you...some of you are trying to change the world with a great initiative), and when things get slow, you think that pricing is the problem.


Pricing Is Not The Problem!

More often than not, someone isn't buying because they:

  • Don't understand the product or service.

  • Can't find the product or service on your website.

  • Maybe they just can't afford it, but this is less often the case.

Think About The "Why" In What You're Selling

What are people buying from you? Happiness (furniture paint)? Craftiness (fabric)? Beauty (a very adorable hat)? An easier life (service)? Confidence (tech support)?


Show Them The Value

Show. Don't tell. Rather than explain in person the benefits, show them in your newsletter. Share a Testimonial on your website and in your Instagram. Email a newsletter to your entire client list with a good idea or a project just completed for another client. Others will see this, and think of how it can apply to them.


Don't Lower That Price

If you sell a membership for $100/year, but signups have been sluggish, don't think that changing it to $40/year will improve anything. Your sales will stay the same, or continue to slow down.

Why?

Because the members at the $100/year level didn't see the value. They either lost sight of it, or you didn't dedicate resources to showing them the value.

  • Did you send them a special newsletter?

  • Did your print newsletter stop going out?

  • Did any organized way of communicating what you do do ever reach them?

  • Did you tell your people of your own business' accomplishments? Were you recognized somewhere for something?

Your people need to know this.


Solution: Study Your Website + Send Newsletters

What to do when you're not getting responses from the media and new customer sales are lackluster?

  • Make changes to your website.

  • Listen to your customer's feedback. If they aren't doing what you think they should be doing, the problem isn't them. It's you. And that's OK! Discovering a problem that a customer has is a golden opportunity to discover the opportunity that 1,000 other customers probably also are having, but never told you about.


TELL US ABOUT IT

We actually talk about this stuff in the every-other-Wednesday Members-Only TuneUp. Your challenges. Your problems. Your joys. All brought out in a very small Tin Shingle Member group meeting. Find out when our next online meeting date is in the TuneUp Schedule.

Happy Money Monday! Keep Staying Ahead Of It

Happy Money Monday!

Another Monday, another chance to stay ahead of it. As painful as it may be, stay ahead of it today by paying a bill. Maybe two. Pay an invoice. Send an invoice. Be kind in your correspondence. Have faith in others and feed them encouragement. Your team will stay strong with you clear headed and hopeful.

Push through it. You got this.

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Happy Money Monday: Stay Ahead Of It

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Happy Money Monday!

Simple tip for you this Monday - because you are going to kick booty this week:

Stay ahead of what you need to pay, or be paid.

If you owe someone a bill right now, go ahead and pay it. We've all been there. Even the small amounts. Just pay them, and get that bill off of someone else's to do list. You'll feel much better.

If someone owes you a bill, send them a kindly reminder. Or if you use Quickbooks, have Quickbooks auto-email them the bill again.

If someone owes you for work, but you haven't invoiced them yet, invoice them today! Don't worry if you feel that it's been too long. You did a great job for them, now just bill for it.

If you need help keeping track of everything, download Tin Shingle's Expenses + Income Tracker spreadsheet. It's a place to put the bills for your brain. You could use apps and software for this, but sometimes a simple spreadsheet suffices.

If you need a better place to track your client work, download Tin Shingle's Client Project Time Tracker. Easily know what projects are complete and open.

Happy Money Monday! 5 Tricks To Get Paid Quickly + New Client Work

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Happy First Money Monday of the New Year!

Keeping up the momentum from 2018, we are going to glide into 2019 with that same bit of enthusiasm and positive thought for what will happen. Making that easier on you is getting paid, getting paid faster, and greenlighting more new projects. If you provide a service to people, you know you are the Hustler In Chief, and you are in charge of bringing in new work, getting paid for that work, and nurturing a family of happy clients - clients you picked by putting out there the type of people and projects that are good fits for your business - and then treating them well.

Keeping an eye on the positive, here’s how you’re going to get paid faster this year, and how you’re going to greenlight more new work - without compromising your price. I’m a pay up front kind of girl. None of us have time to chase rainbows and payments anywhere after 10 days - so the whole 60 or 90 day terms thing is a thing of the past for you. Who can live on that?

Offer Payment Plans

Thanks to payment subscription services from Recurly, Paypal (haven’t tried Squarespace’s yet, so can’t vouch for it) and even perhaps your own merchant bank, you could offer payment plans on larger projects that might make it easier for a client to pay. Consider offering incentives to your client to pay in full, or on a tighter schedule. If you do a payment schedule, like 50% up front, and 25% at Point A and the final 25% at Point B, be sure to kindly stop the work if the payment doesn’t arrive on schedule.
PRO: When using an automated payment plan subscription service, the payments come in on time, automated. No more billing and chasing payments.
CON: If the business goes out of business, your payments might end. Be sure you structure a timeline that is not too long. This is also difficult if you have to pay sub-contractors who do not wish to be paid on payment plans. Have enough cash on hand to make payroll and pay your contractors their bills.

Monthly Retainers

Monthly retainers are dreamy for some, and if you have a client ready to commit, this can be good for both of you. The client knows what to budget each month, and you know how much work to put in. Just be sure to keep track of the time your team is spending on each client. If you begin to put more time in than budgeted, you should kindly bring this up with your client and revisit the budget, or the scope of work.
RECOMMENDED: Present a Status Report at the end of each month to let your client know what you did for them.

Pre-Paid Project Packages

There’s nothing worse than chasing payment for a flyer design. It’s only $30, gah! This is where Pre-Paid Project Packages come in handy. Either estimate spot-on how much a smaller job will cost and bill that amount, or if the client sends in little jobs over the course of the month or couple months, then encourage them to pre-purchase a package of time (discount it if you want), and credit your work to that. Deliver a Status Report to them to let them know how their time is being spent, and how much time is left. Our number for a small job is $2,000. Anything under that gets paid in full before the job starts.

Credit Card Billing - Bye Bye Check

All of these recommendations are based on the fact that you accept credit cards. Getting paid via credit card is much faster. If you don’t like the credit card fee, simply build this into your overall cost of services. Credit card payments will be difficult with corporate clients. But you could try. Unless your payment amount is just too high to justify the credit card fee. Consider Direct Deposit, and offer a (tiny) discount.

Pay After The Work Is Done

This is the traditional way of getting paid - billing after the work is done. This can also be where the race is on for chasing that payment. You may want to consider nixing this, or only offering to clients with “Good Credit History” with you. I’m not talking Dun & Bradstreet or Transunion. I’m talking Good Credit History with YOU. Do they pay quickly and on time? If so, they can remain in the Pay After The Work Is Done crowd.

Tin Shingle's Easy To Use Expenses & Income Tracking Template

Party! Expenses & Income Tracking Made Easy

Just in time for your last Money Monday of the year, we have designed for you Tin Shingle's exclusive Expenses & Income Tracking Template spreadsheet. Anyone can use this spreadsheet no matter what your industry. It is a perfect bridge to keeping track of your finances, but not committing to an accounting software like Quickbooks or smart financial app like Mint just yet.

Even if you do use Quickbooks for your business bookkeeping, yet need something to track your personal finances that you may share with a life partner or spouse, this template is for you.

Perks Of This Template

  • At-A-Glance Worksheet Tabs
    Bank Registers
    Balances on Bills
    Work Expenses
    Personal Household Expenses
    Client Payments Received

  • Partner or Spouse Planning
    If you live with someone and are sharing expenses and a financial life, there is a simple way for you to update what cash is in each of your bank accounts, and what is earmarked to clear for spending.

  • Private - Not Connected To Banks or Passwords
    This is an Excel spreadsheet that is not connected or synced with your bank accounts. There are apps where you can do that (like Mint or QuickBooks).

  • Lifetime Access.
    If you have already purchased this Template, you have instant and free access to updates made to the file. Just log in and download!

  • Free for Members of Tin Shingle.
    If you're an All Access Pass Member of Tin Shingle, this is also free for you!

Alright, Monday, What You Got For Me?

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Hello and Happy Monday!

Mondays can be deliveries of good news in the form of people following up from outreach you did during the previous week. If you've been building upon your foundation of outreach, then opportunities begin to trickle in to you - which is always the dream. To help you continue to create your own luck, we have some tips for you:

Here's How You're Going To Have A Great Monday

  • Don't Rely On Your Brain
    Make your lists. Have paper in your bag or pocket, and/or your Notes or Calendar app open on your phone. The biggest trap to losing control of a Monday is thinking you know what you need to do, but forgetting the most important parts. Stick to your list. It's your boss.

  • Send That Invoice!
    This has been a re-emerging theme - people who do good work for people, then procrastinate sending the invoice, and then throwing the invoice out the window all together, fearing it too late. It's not! Send the invoice with a smile.

  • Reach Out To That Store aka Wholesale Account
    You need a new account, and now is a good time to reach out. You may close the deal in the new year, or possibly if you're local, the store wants the inventory now if they are having a good holiday season.

  • Do Fitness
    If it's stretching in the middle of the day, a quick set of pushups in the middle of your office, or walking to the grocery store. Move around! Get that blood moving and those those endorphins pumping. A fun stretch to do is the Back Stroke: move your arms in backward circles while sitting down or standing up.

  • Pitch Someone Who Would Be A Great Fit
    If you sell sponsorships, for a university or a foundation or anything, think of a company or individual who would be a great fit to sponsor what you do, and reach out to them. Feel the enthusiasm you see in the partnership, and let that enthusiasm come out in your email to them.

And, Happy Last Night of Hanukkah! Today is going to be a great day, even if you're snowed in down South. Today is Motivation Monday pretty much everywhere, but at Tin Shingle, it's also Money Monday. Go out there and make some. You can do it!