Being A Professional

Ralph And Carol Lynn Piece Together The Puzzle Of Purrfect Productivity

By July 24, 2017 5 Comments
Ralph And Carol Lynn Piece Together The Puzzle Of Purrfect Productivity

A Puzzling Mystery Solved

In our last episode, we talked about how right before we went on hiatus from podcasting last year, the official Web.Search.Social puzzle was left in the hands of Alisa Meredith. So we called on Alisa to get back in the game and start recirculating the puzzle among listeners again.

And then we heard from Alisa.

Turns out, at the same time that she got the puzzle, she also adopted a stack of kittens. And it appears that in the game of Kittens vs.Puzzle, kittens win.

Alas, the puzzle is no more. But fear not, Carbon Nation, we’ll find another, and if all you can think is, “OMG, I want to be in on the game and do the puzzle too!” Then let us know and we’ll add your address to the recipient list!

Dumb Marketing Strikes Again

We’ve talked about “follow the leader” marketing before but since it’s not going away, today we bring up an email that I received recently where the subject line was “Please unsubscribe.”

We know this hustle. It’s the “I’m cleaning my list and if you’re not going to buy something from me then get off it” silliness. Which really boils down to the “I’m doing this because some other marketer told me this was a good way to jolt my list into action” folly.

Come on, people. If your only trick for getting people to act is to insult them, then maybe it’s time to stop marketing until you come up with something better.

First of all, I’ve been on this person’s list for a long time. I’ve read and shared her content. So to be told to “unsubscribe” only makes me say, “Ok. Bye.”

If you really can’t think of a better way to get someone’s attention then at a minimum segment your list so only people who haven’t opened, read, clicked or shared will get your dumb unsubscribe email.

Better yet, how about an authentic and human way of getting someone’s attention? How about reaching out and asking WHY someone hasn’t opened or read your emails. How about asking whether there is anything better you can do to help or inspire someone?

When we were sending out regular emails, we would often take time just to say “hi” to our readers. No marketing, no selling, no expectation. And when that happened, we got feedback from people we never heard from otherwise.

Imagine if we had asked them to unsubscribe.

Well, once we sort of did…

Actually, we wrote a tongue-in-cheek email playing off the whole unsubscribe thing. It was meant to be a joke, over the top, a goofy way to get a response.

Well, we got a response. We got unsubscribes in droves. Turns out that some people were not amused. Some were, and we got some great feedback and lots of folks enjoyed the joke. But some didn’t and boy were they mad.

Just goes to show that even with the best of intentions you can’t always figure how someone will react. So keep that in mind as you follow tired advice. Consider how your reader will perceive your words, whatever you say.

Working In Your Pajamas

I admit it. I love working in pajamas. Well, more like sweats, but I wear them from bed to work to the bank to the grocery store. I bet lots of work-at-home entrepreneurs and business owners do that, at least sometimes.

Turns out that may not be the best idea.

We got a comment from a listener recently who told us that when she gets dressed, even just to work from her kitchen table, she is much more productive. And it’s true. How you dress affects your mindset. If you’re in raggedy old sweats, nice and comfy on your couch, you’re probably in a pretty relaxed and comfy mindset. But put on a nicely ironed shirt and an actual pair of shoes and you’re dressed for “work.”

We’re not saying you need to get dressed in a suit and tie but if you want to be successful then you need to dress the part.

Figure out what works for you, then do that. And we bet it’s not sweats! For our listener, Sarah Dawn, wearing the knitwear that she designs is perfect.

When I taught kindergarten years ago, I used to wear clothes that had big giraffes up the leg, complete with matching earrings and accessories. For painting with kids, that was great. But when I transitioned into marketing, that wasn’t so great anymore.

As Sarah said, she’s a walking advertisement for her clothing. But even if you don’t design clothing, you’re still a walking advertisement – for yourself. You may run into clients or prospects. You may run into perfect strangers who present networking opportunities. And if you’re wearing your pajamas or sweats or pink fuzzy slippers, you’re probably not presenting yourself at your best and most professional.

My father is an accountant and the CFO of one of our businesses. During tax season, he made a lot of trips to the post office to mail tax returns. One of the people at the post office noticed, and asked him to be her accountant. He got a new client that he may not have gotten if he’d slouched his way into the post office wearing sloppy clothes.

So you never know.

And it’s true that people who run into you may understand that you’re just a busy person running errands and they’ll look past your fuzzy slippers. But probably not. Admit it – you make snap judgements. And so do other people. So give people every reason to make a positive judgement about you – one that accurately reflects the successful business person that you want to be.

On The Flip Side…

We actually lost a job once because we appeared too successful. We had pitched a prospect and were pretty sure we’d get the job. Except one day, he saw us pull up to his office driving a BMW. And he told us that we clearly didn’t need his money, so we didn’t get the job.

Like we said before, you just never know! You can’t always figure everything out. But you can do your best to be the best. And that’s all that really matters.

Getting Fat

One of the side effects of working in pajamas and sweats is that I gain weight. If I don’t have to get dressed and go out and look professional, I tend to sit around the table eating cookies while I work, and before you know it, stuff stops fitting.

It really all goes back to taking care of yourself. When you get up and get dressed you’re demonstrating a certain level of self-care. You’re taking care of yourself physically, which helps you take care of yourself mentally.

Ralph says that he is in better shape when he makes it a point to get up in the morning and dress professionally. That makes it easier for him to draw delineations in his mind between work time and relaxing time and exercise time. So physically changing from one set of clothing to another helps him mentally shift gears, too.

Clothing As Networking

Here’s a tip someone shared with me once. The next time you’re waiting on line at Starbucks or the bank or wherever, instead of checking Facebook or your email, strike up a conversation with someone who is wearing a t-shirt or jacket with a company name or logo.

For example, if you see someone wearing a t-shirt with a painter’s logo, ask him whether he works for that company. If he says yes, explore the opportunity to network. If he says no, ask what he does and use that as an opportunity.

Try it, because if there’s one thing we’ve established today it’s that you just never know!

  • Hello again!

    You’re quite right — I’ve given out many a business card after someone comments on something I’m wearing, (or that I’m knitting in a public space) and they get really curious about my work! Sometimes, I get an e-mail or business card in return, and in that case, I’ll usually try contact them if I don’t hear from them first.

    Most of the time, though, I don’t get contact information back. My working theory is that it’s because they’re not an entrepreneur themselves. Pretty much everyone who’s handed me a business card in return is an entrepreneur of some sort. But that’s only an observation. Unfortunately, it is basically impossible to follow up if I don’t have contact info. That said, I’ve had some wonderful continued conversations with people where my first encounter with them was on the streetcar, because they’ve contacted me, sometimes just because they’re new to the crafty world, seen me knitting, and are absolutely fascinated and want to know more!

    I’ve only had one encounter so far where the person knew my patterns by sight before I identified myself — and that was at a fiber festival where I ran into one of my own test-knitters, so I’m not sure that counts! But it does happen, where a knitter will recognize a well-known knitting pattern by sight — there are accounts of this on knitter’s blogs and such. I’m not big enough to be a knitter’s household name yet, but, I’m hopeful it could happen in the future as I release more patterns and material and connect with a bigger following.

    On the topic of labels — most of what I knit for myself doesn’t have labels. Either because it’s my hand work but not my own design, or because I just didn’t bother to put a label in, because a label on an inside hem or cuff is very unlikely to be seen! That said, anything I knit up and sell to someone else actually has to have a label in it showing country of manufacture and fiber content. So I do have my business name on those as well as the required information. I don’t know if they’ll really be looked at, but I figured I might as well have something on the other side of the label, rather then just leaving it blank!

    • It’s awesome that you start those conversations because you never know where they’ll lead. Lots of times, “nowhere” is probably true, and you’re right, a lot of people probably just have a job they go to and they’re not really looking to network or grow a business. But sometimes you find those people, too. Maybe it will turn into something, maybe you’ll end up with a new friend, maybe you’ll just get five minutes to practice some conversation skills!

      And if you frequent the same spots, you can run into the same people more than once, which is kind of cool. Once in a while, I meet someone, then years later bump into them somewhere else and it’s like a reunion at that point, even if you don’t know them well.

      • So true. It’s funny about that though, because I’m awful with faces and names. People remember me, and strike up a conversation, and I’m sitting there awkwardly thinking ‘who is this person and where did I meet them? And clearly they know me. . . uh oh!’

        Usually I’m honest and just admit that my memory doesn’t do faces and names well, and could they please remind me of their name? That’s usually enough to make my memory click over. What makes this even more interesting is the number of people who remembered me but not my name either, so the honesty puts them at ease!

        And the conversations are great. Something about someone knitting really seems to break the ice in talking to a stranger, and I really enjoy getting the chance to talk about my fiber work! I get people who used to knit but now don’t, excited kids who want to know what it’s all about, or even just people who want to learn to knit but are intimidated. And because two of my social media profiles are also on my business card, I’ve had people reach out there, too, to continue conversations.

        I think the best encounter I ever had was with a very young child on a crowded bus who was fascinated by the lace shawl I was knitting. He looped his fingers into the lace before I or his mom caught him. He didn’t pull, he just loved the feel of the yarn! His mom wanted to scold him, but I didn’t mind — I told her it was alright, that most of my stuff’s supposed to be real-life wearable, and should be able to reasonably stand up to a small child! So, with his mom’s permission, he spent the bus ride feeling and playing with one end of the lace while I was knitting the other end, with absolutely no harm done!

        • I am pretty bad with faces and I try really, really hard! I stare at noses and chins and haircuts and try to find notable features. But the minute a person is out of context, I forget. We were at a conference last week and I stared and stared and memorized one of the speaker’s faces because I wanted to talk to him afterwards. But the second I walked into the hallway and there was a crowd of people they all looked the same 🙂

          I am much better with clothes, so if someone is wearing a pink shirt, I’ll remember THAT. The only down side is getting them to wear that pink shirt every time 😉

          • Yes, I’m the same way about the clothes! I recognize people by ‘the
            person in the blue dress’ or whatever they’re wearing, so out of
            context, it’s really a challenge sometimes. And yes, if everyone could just wear the same thing, it would make identification so much easier, haha! (But then what would happen if two people were wearing the same shirt? That would be a problem!) 😉

            Luckily, most people are sweet about
            it, and I figure it’s better to be honest, say I that don’t remember their
            name or that I’m struggling placing their face; but that I still really want to speak to them. That way, it seems there’s much less risk of coming across as rude or indifferent to their interest in my work.