Sorry, I'm Fully Booked

Wow. How many times have I wanted to say those words over the years?

Well now it’s true. I’m officially not taking on any new clients (sorry peeps) until after I have come through the other side of the B School process.

Why have I made this decision? Simply because I want to give my all not just to B School but also the wonderful clients I already work with and my daughter.

I’ve taken the drastic step of removing my offerings from my website until a later date. People who are interested can still contact me to make enquiries but I’m likely to offer a date nearer to the summer months when I know I will be available for work. Even then; who knows what I will be offering in the shape of services by then.

My thoughts at this moment in time are that I want to create a shit hot digital product that I can focus on selling in a well structured (and effective) manner leaving me free to focus on just a few clients that I can really enjoy working with.

No more websites. But that’s in another video :)

Have you made any big decisions yet?

Bye Bye Facebook – Hello B School!

It’s finally time! I went out and bought a shiny new page per day diary for my desk and a big empty notepad that will be exclusively for B School notes and world takeover plans.

If you want to keep up to date with me on Facebook you can subscribe to my updates HERE.

If you want to see how awesome G+ is and hangout with me there then you can come on over and say hi!

After being asked lots of brill questions about G+ I’m going to be posting info and helpful stuff as well as running hangouts to help you get to grips with the platform. Stay tuned for more reasons as to WHY you should be jumping on board now (yes before the big boys catch on!).

My Raw Video Blogging Diet

I didn’t intend to do this. I certainly didn’t intend to do it every day; but I seem to have started a ball rolling of some description so I’ll keep going :)

I wanted to capture today my thoughts and feelings on what happened to me yesterday. I posted about my first ever non paying client and the response I received was overwhelming. Not only did I have support, offers of help and people thanking me for making them feel better because they had experienced it too; but I was absolutely flooded with enquiries. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a productive day and B School hasn’t even started yet!

It seems the fact that I’m putting up stuttery, shaky hand held footage makes me human in your eyes. It’s breaking down barriers and people are reaching out to me in ways I have spent years trying to encourage. I couldn’t be happier.

This does of course mean you’re stuck with me.

Are you a video blogger? If not, what stops you from turning the camera on and giving it a whirl? I’d love to chat about it in the comments below :)

P.S. That G+ community I mentioned in the video for fellow B Schoolers? It’s here. If that link doesn’t work for you, you can circle me here and then ask me for an invitation :) Come on in!

Why I'm Celebrating my First Ever Non Paying Client

Ridiculous as it may sound; I’m delighted to have just (only yesterday) encountered my first official non-paying client.

I was mailed back in November by a prospective client who was in a muddle with WordPress and desperate to get her website whipped into shape so that she could start taking paid clients. Having recently left her employment to pursue self employment full time, I was keen to help if I could. I hugely discounted my hourly rate in the absence of income. Here was a woman just like me who wanted to shape her own future. She had chosen to reach out to me and I was able to help her move forward. Why wouldn’t I help?

I asked for a deposit up front equivalent to two hours work. With this paid I set to work. As we progressed I was asked to expand upon the work I was doing for her as she was so pleased with the results. I explained how many hours I thought this would require each step of the way and waited for the green light before continuing.
With the work finally complete in mid December; I sent a final invoice along with an email breaking down the costs.
To be clear; I had:
  • reduced my hourly rate significantly
  • Not charged for the full amount of time worked
  • plus invited discussion on payment options if payment in full would prove difficult

Half of the invoice was paid and I was told that the second half would follow later that week. I was pretty happy with that arrangement. Until the second half didn’t materialise.

I sent several emails again offering discussion on payment plans or ways to help. I was eventually replied to on 4th January and told that I would be paid that week. Friday came, still nothing and form that point on all of my emails were ignored.

I sent a tweet checking if all was ok and eventually opted for a Facebook message to ask if my emails were being received and for confirmation of when I could expect payment. I had a reply that said:

“Wow. I believe there is still outstanding work to be done.”

Erm… que?! I had literally just logged into her site to fix a widget she was struggling to tweak FREE OF CHARGE.

I knew at this point I was on to a loser. I should have cut contact at that point and stopped perpetuating the situation. But I wanted to clear my name! I wasn’t being unreasonable. Far from it. How could she not be paying me after all the work I had completed?

I replied asking for clarification on the work she believed to be outstanding. And this was the real eye opener:

As soon as you can calm down a bit and recognize that there are other things going on in people’s lives besides you, we can try to reconvene this. A lot of life has been intervening here.

This was a new one on me! Total avoidance of the issue at hand and now trying to sspin it so that I’m the one in the wrong? I don’t think so lay-dee :)

I left it at that. Until yesterday.

Ready to start B School with a clear mind; I wanted to let go of this. I was still harbouring frustrations around the communication breakdown and toxic energy that surrounded this whole ordeal. I sent a polite email asking how she was, filling her in on my plan to start B School and that I would really appreciate her helping me move forward by paying the final invoice.

The reply came late last night and was like an epiphany. It read:

Laura, Marie is great and if you can afford the time off and her classes, you’re doing well.

I won’t have a payment for you unfortunately.

I’m pleased to have a professional correspondence from you, the others were a bit shocking.

So there it was. In black and white. No payment and apparently my carefully constructed, non ranting emails were ‘shocking’.

What did I learn? I gotta get me payment up front!

If you’re reading dear non-paying client (you know who you are!); a very genuine – thank you. You’ve confirmed that I’m clearly not taking my business seriously enough. If I was? I wouldn’t have been in this situation.

I’m done with it. The door is closed and I’m a movin’ on. An uncomfortable lesson; very well learned.

Did I Click the #rhhbschool Button Yet?

I wish I could say yes. Something in this crazy busy mind of mine is telling me this is an unnecessary expenditure. I’ve not long been back on my feet from financial misery. Laying out the first payment puts me in a position I feel uncomfortable about… So what am I going to do about it?

I’m going to give my people me; at a super amazing special price if they buy in the next 24 hours.

Might seem like madness but there’s definitely method behind it. You see, I know that once I’m on the payment plan all will be fine. But I need to tick some psychological boxes in my mind so that I can rest easy about it in the mean time.

If you’re on my list you can expect an email very soon! If you want to see what I offer in my email; click here to read it (you can sign up for future updates if you like too!).

Let’s do this!

My B School Blog Intro

Marie Forleo has been on my radar for well over a year now. Following her website relaunch last year and the incredible presentation of her B School programme marketing materials; I’ve reached decision point.

I’ve been doing my thing since October 2010. I came into the whole consulting/advising arena by accident following the launch of a successful (accidental) e-commerce site. I never paid for advertising and used my online networks to promote my message. It worked. Really, really well. So much so, that other people aspiring to online business ownership started seeking my help. Before long I had a couple of larger corporate clients and I was stumbling along the path whilst growing my business.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew the stuff I knew was valuable and credible. But I didn’t really know how to focus what I was all about. When asked what I do I was never able to answer succinctly. Mainly because I get so excited about new directions at any given opportunity.

Now 2.5 years on, a single mum and with my daughter starting school in September; it’s time to get real.