Unscrambling Your Small Business

Talk to anyone about starting a business and you’ll hear one, if not all, of the following three warnings. You’ll even hear them from small business owners. #1 – Having clients is like having multiple bosses. #2 – Being self-employed means working 24/7. #3 – Business owners are always scrambling for work. Truth? If these… Read more »

Is Resume Speak Killing Your Business Prose?

Many years ago, I hired a personal trainer who operated his own practice within my health club. I had seen him working with his clients, liked his style, and observed that the people he trained got results. After our three trial sessions, he sat me down to discuss the possibility that we’d continue working together…. Read more »

Happy Birthday, Lucy! Built to Last

I don’t have time for the eloquent Lucy tribute piece I hoped to write. So, I’ll share this tidbit. I have spent years of my life watching Lucy. I’m watching the Hallmark Channel’s I Love Lucy marathon right now as I work. The image of her that sticks with me is one I only read…. Read more »

Who Do You Love?

Most marketing gurus will tell you, “People do business with people they know, like, and trust.” To get more clients, the advice goes, let people get to know you, establish your credibility, and be personable. Why do so many people resist the idea that a business owner should vet customers against the same criteria? Your… Read more »

Project Fee or Hourly Rate? That’s the Wrong Question

Today I read yet another set of blog posts debating whether writers, designers, and other creatives should charge hourly fees or project fees. The debate leads freelancers to focus on the wrong questions. If you’re going to make a living as an independent business owner, first get a good understanding of how your business model… Read more »

3 Ingredients for a Productive Day of Writing

Freelancers are frequently asked how we “discipline ourselves” to work away from the office. Discipline can be a challenge. The flip side – the office falls short three essential ingredients for actually getting things done: 1. Solitude – a physical space with a social barrier to entry, whether an office door, a private apartment, or… Read more »

Managing Terms is Tough

The USDA site ChooseMyPlate.gov features a new icon for nutritional guidance. (Bye bye, food pyramid.) Here’s an amusing snippet from the section entitled “Beans and peas are unique foods”: “Green peas and green (string) beans are not considered to be ‘Beans and Peas.’”

Writing Benefits-Centered Copy

I’ve adopted a quick new test for figuring out if I’m conveying benefits clearly. A graduate school prof, lecturing on behaviorism, said, “There are only three primary reinforcers: food, air, and orgasm.” Everything else is a secondary reinforcer, learned by association. I think there are really only three essential benefits: Make or save money Save… Read more »

Trust Words

I’m working on some outward-facing materials for a large corporation. My charge: to make them more “customer-friendly.” I’m perplexed at the resistance I get to edits that seem like no-brainers to me. For example: I’m going back and forth about the word “necessary,” as in, “you may incur additional charges for necessary work done by… Read more »

What is a Book?

Just began a project on a team revising a book. The title is old enough to contain vague references to “the World Wide Web.” The challenges: more visuals! use links to information that may expire! use interactive calculators online where there were previously worksheets! Some people insist that the Web is killing the book. I… Read more »