Andrew's articles

  1. If you must volunteer to show a client what you can do….

    I’m not a big fan of offering free work to clients, but I know that sometimes some of you do that with good reason. But if you must volunteer, please treat your assignment as if it were paid work. A media professional volunteered recently to do an online project for me. While I appreciate his […]

  2. How NOT to do a sales call

    I got a call today on my cell phone from a salesperson from what he described as a publicly traded search engine and optimization firm. I took it, because I need material for this blog. He obliged. As usual, he started the call without his name, just saying, “How are you?” So I said, “Fine, […]

  3. The relief of selling products instead of services

    I’ve got a couple of businesses that sell products, tangible products (see, for instance, my collaboration with my wife at I have to say that marketing products is so much easier than marketing services. For instance, my wife sent out some samples of our products to some local stores. One out of 5 stores […]

  4. Thanksgiving Message and 40th Birthday Greeting

    Well, another year has passed and my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is here this week. In my opinion, Thanksgiving is absolutely the greatest holiday on the planet. Plus I turn 40 on Friday. So it is an excellent time once again to give thanks. This year, let’s keep it simple. Life has 3 components: what you […]

  5. The right and wrong way to manage outsourced talent

    I am working with two development teams in the USA. Both utilize off shore talent. Both charge low fees for off shore talent, and high fees for their own time as project managers. The ratio is about $1500 per week for their time vs. $300 per week for an off shore resource. So as a […]

  6. Should you spend more on technology or marketing?

    Here’s a tough question for many tech-savvy web developers: Should you spend more on marketing or technology? Here’s a story for you: When I was growing up, my father spent time at the local YMCA working out with a shoe salesman. This guy always had new ideas for shoes, and my father and friends got […]

  7. From consultant to guru

    The consulting and professional services model has a major flaw: As a consultant, you have no choice but to trade your time for dollars. Therefore, you limit the income you can earn. Even if you know how to “value price” (pricing based on the value of the assignment to the client instead of on an […]

  8. Rolling with the punches

    This is just a blog post to let you know that some days really stink, and there’s not much you can do about it. As I wake up today, I see that I sent out a newsletter today with an advertisement to one of my books. But my shoppingcart subscription also expired today (nice of […]

  9. A little negotiation strategy

    Almost everything in business relations comes down to two tensions: building relationships, and getting results. If you focus too much on building relationships, you tend to avoid conflict and don’t achieve objectives. If you focus too much on getting results, relationships suffer and you don’t get long-term results (since people will be cautious with you). […]

  10. The way to approach publications with article ideas

    A reader emailed me recently, wondering why editors of various publications wouldn’t print an article he had written. The article was fine, and would be good for his target market. Here’s the problem: His approach was wrong. The way to get articles published is by sending first an inquiry letter to an editor. The letter […]

  11. Dealing with the slow payers

    A client just set the record for taking longest to pay in my career: About six months. This was a public University, and so had specific bureaucratic rules. Plus they made a bit of an exception for me up front, which caused problems later. I would never have gotten paid at all if I hadn’t […]

  12. The big idea of the day

    Have you checked out I am kicking myself for not thinking of this business. The company sets anyone up to make and sell products. Want to make and sell t-shirts with your design? Coffee mugs? Your own book? CafePress sets you up. Their strategy deserves some serious thought: 1. Instead of providing a custom […]

  13. A special kick in the butt just for you

    You know who you are. You’re gliding along, doing okay. But, if you are honest with yourself, you haven’t done much marketing in the past few weeks, or even months. Marketing has become a lower priority. You used to hustle hard with marketing. You used to do at least one marketing activity a day. You […]

  14. Two simple ratios for you to track

    Here are two simple ratios for you to track when you market and sell your services: 1. The You/I ratio. Be sure that you say “you” 2-3 X more than you say “I/we” in your marketing materials. That way, you are focusing on your prospects’ needs. 2. The question/statement ratio. When speaking with prospects, especially […]

  15. Why free consultations don’t work

    Lots of professionals offer their clients a free consultation or free trial. These usually don’t work as an initial offer. Why? Because people are skeptical. They don’t know you in the first place, and so: 1. Think you are going to make a sales pitch (and you are). 2. Don’t want you inside their business, […]

  16. Reinvent yourself

    I once got some great advice about dating: “Want to date a ’10’? Then be a ’10’.” The same is true in business. If you want ’10’ clients — well-known, high-paying, exciting assignments — then you have to be a ’10’ developer/designer. Sometimes that means reinventing yourself. Fortunately, that’s not terribly hard to do in […]

  17. A moment of gratitude

    There seems to be an unending supply of large- and small-scale tragedy in the world these days, both man-made and natural. This gets to what may seem a tangential issue for selling web services, but really is key: Are you living a life you love? Are you doing work you love? I can’t help but […]

  18. A bit more on equity and selling a company

    Two great questions came up on the recent post on equity: 1. Should you test drive a potential recipient of equity as an employee first? Absolutely. However, you can also set up an equity arrangement up front that handles this. Have their equity vest over time. So if they are entitled to 4%, you […]

  19. Separating the good from the great

    I’m sitting in my home office, waiting for contractors to come and finish the job of adding cabinets to the office. I paid 50% upfront. The contractors have just billed me the next 40% of the job. To them, that makes sense, as 90% of the materials are installed. But to me, they are not […]

  20. Quick case study: To give up equity or not

    A colleague of mine contacted me to ask if he should give up a 30% equity stake in his company in exchange for about $10,000 services in kind (e.g. office meeting space, other support). (Numbers disguised to protect the innocent). How do you think about an offer like this? 1. NEVER give up equity unless […]

  21. Marketing questions to ask your prospects

    A recent blog post by a Sitepoint reader wondered what kinds of marketing questions web designers should ask prospects, in order to help them see you as a marketing solutions provider. Here are some suggestions: 1. What are your sales goals? 2. How do you get clients now? 3. What problem do you solve for […]