Some Changes….

Hey, for those that are here, I’m messing with Headway 3 – a Simplifilm Client – and WP-Types.com, also a Simplifilm client.

This might look “Junky” for a while as I get things configured right.

I’m fine with that – I’m just seeing what goes where.

I’ll still be blogging and stuff, but there will be some weirdness here.

NY NY

Just so we know.  Had an amazing time in NYC.

I don’t yet “know” the city, but as far as the vaunted cost of living – I’m not intimidated.  I wouldn’t own a car. I would move there in a second.  The food – you can eat for under $100 a week, and less if you buy groceries. Seems that rent would be $900ish to share a place in brooklyn.  $1300/month.

To come up from nothing – it’s one of the “easiest” places on earth to do that.  So many people are there needing stuff that making it is a matter of hustle.

I didn’t want to stay far from Manhattan when I went, but I’m OK with that now- I think it’s fine. I was not confident of my ability to take the subway late at night, but it seems that it runs.  And so I can stay in brooklyn, wherever.

Working Less

I traveled to New York this week.  Right now, we have a higher volume of projects and pending contracts than we have had.   Many starts, which is where my time is taken.

I was away from my computer and phone and at http://ad-tech.com/ for a week..

We got a sale (not at ad-tech), we got our contracts moving and we’re on pace.  I think, this week, I have about 10 hours total computer time.

The time that I had was efficient – I wrote 4-5 blog posts, finalized a partnership with Microsoft and I moved the ball forward.

It occurs to me that I’m working entirely too many hours. It occurs to me that I need to stop and change it.  I think that it might be smart to close my office at home, or move it into the bedroom to cap some of the time I can work. I got the same stuff done I always do.

The Brand.

Simplifilm has money, it’s a real business.

The next step is to make a congruent brand, website and set of messaging, and roll it out.

I don’t think our customers will care about it, but it’ll create beacons of quality and signals that our shit is together.

That’s the goal.  We’ll try and do this by the end of January.

Unhinged.

As a purveyor of low end shitty websites, I was encountering the unhinged on a regular basis. Realtors, mostly, with their last $800 from a tax refund, or a plasma sale, would hire me to make them a blog.

The blog was to make them money – without work.  It never happened, I know of a few that knocked it out of the park, but they would have succeeded without me.  The failures are simply unhinged. They were going to fail with or without me. My low price point invited them into my life.

Occasionally, even now, they call from the past, demanding a refund for work delivered 2 or 3 years ago.  I invariably look up their blog, and in each case, Hello, World is still within the first 3 blog posts.  Of course it didn’t work.

At Simplifilm, we have a load of business. We don’t have to tolerate the unhinged.  We do, to an extent, but only when it suits us. If there’s not a reason to do business, we’re free to close every account.

The Grind

Things aren’t nearly as bad as they are going to be.

I don’t see a possible out for the mediocre. Men, in particular are going to have it hard. Because the world is changed, and the future is clearer now than it’s ever been.

I see right now as being a time where you have to get into the “haves” category. Right now, the last 3 years, are when the barriers of entry are going to be the lowest they will ever be.

Kids go to schools that don’t matter. My kid. What else can we do with him? He’s progressing towards a goal that will certainly be radically changed by the time it’s time for him to graduate. The charade is exposed. We’re spending 3T a year and taking in 2T. It’s game over, welcome to collapseville.  Obama doubled down on the erosion of civil liberties.

It’s going to get harder.

Right now, is the easiest anything is ever going to be.  Right now is our last chance for easy money and an easy life.

What are you doing about that?

Batchbook CRM Feature Requests, UI Fixes

I like Batchbook as a CRM. I haven’t found anything worth using yet, and I hope to be able to provide the team there with feedback on both the UI/UX and the rest.

It’s a very good start, it’s got a good mix of features and it’s a trusted enough filter.  It needs to be more than what it is though, and I hope that we can achieve something like it.

I’m not going to up and leave if I don’t get my way, it’s working as it is, so let’s not take this as some whimpering list of demands from someone that believes that my $15 a month or whatever makes or breaks their ecosystem.  I’m just this guy, you know.

Now, I’m minorly bummed that we tried to get an onramp session and you missed it. It’s possible that the stuff I’m bitching about below is there.  But, look, I want this in there because it’s need

I’m not asking for anything like “real contact sync via oauth,” or “faster querying.” (Though both will be nice). I’m pleased with many features and I recommend batchbook.

We don’t need many more features – we have a good set right now. It does more than what we need.  What will make Batchbook grow and earn is if the ui is defined and refined.

I’m guessing that you’ve figured out this stuff already.

UI/UX Enhancements:

  • Put search on every page in the top and with a hotkey/lightbox.
  • Allow me to change the way ToDos are organized on contacts. LIFO/FIFO or whatever should be selectable. If I have 30 things to do for a client on a follow up, the default should be to show what the next thing to do should be, not what I might do 180 days from now.
  • In the calendar – lead with a name: in lieu of the “thing we’re doing,” be ” C. Lachap – Make 3rd followup) (take first initial and 6 chars of last name)
  • In the “todos” list section default to who the contact is with SELF is the default.
  • Gmail-style hotkeys within Batchbook’s web interface: this is a good start, but PLEASE let me add a contact with a key, a todo, deal.  (use a lightbox, please)
  • Let me sort & tag contacts how I please – with the ability to tag all, some or whatever using typical UI conventions.  For example, I want to sort by date added  a lot.  I’d like to sort by “added by email” or even “nothing in the zip code field”.
  • In the TO DO section  (ex: calendar/todos/284) a hotkey should mark as done, and certainly there should be an easy and tab-able thing. where it says “completed,” let’s make that something we can change – at the very least.  Displaying contact information is also a good thing to do.
Database Enhancements:
  • Make To Do templates into objects where if we change “one” action #7, all action #7s change in the ‘ecosystem’
  • Make To Do Items (in or out of templates) such that each object can be scheduled on weekdays only (and that pushes the other ones out)
  • Make todo templates such that I can set it so if I don’t do one, the other isn’t due; clicking one done schedules the next in the series.
  • The Templates begets another set of possibilities – i.e. I can upgrade, take someone out of a status.
  • Multiple calendars (not just items)
  • Tagging should beget mass-task adding if I like it.  The tasks should be independent.
  • More statuses for deals besides “Lost, Pending, Won,”  Like: “On Hold,” “longshot.”  Better, let me define my deal statuses (doing things the way they are leads to delusion).
Feature/GTD Enhancements:
  • Daily email when there are undone tasks if I request it – not just “what’s happening today”
  • Plaintext emails that go out should be RTF.
  • Tasks (todos) should have a type: call, email, etc.
  • Call list if there is one.
  • Deals in process.
  • When an email comes out each morning, you should include richtext mailto: and callto: links so we can process our list from our inbox.
  • Make a possible feature add: if the Task type is an email, allow me to have an RTF that allows me to click it, it’ll BCC BB and have the fields populated as we request.
We’ve got the basic stuff.  It seems like you’re making some money. I’m glad I’m a customer. I want you guys to win and get better. There are things here that should be obvious, but there are other things that  you wouldn’t get.
Thanks for taking the time, my time to index is about 3-4 days, so I’ll wait for you to talk to me.  I want you guys, also to be my customer.

The Actual Goal Day

So before, I tried to do too much. This won’t be particularly interesting to anyone, it’s in the “off topic” category. I don’t expect you to care.

Now, I’m trying to create an ideal day from scratch.

The things to do are:

  • Write
  • Read
  • Exercise
  • Prospect
  • Family Time

4:30-7:30 is the ideal “family time.” That’s gotta be locked in .

I can work before and after-without a problem The next thing I need to schedule is vigorous exercise. I need 2 sessions – the morning session 4 miles (for now, walk/jog) and another session in the evening (probably on the eliptical. This is what worked when I cut weight like a fiend in 2001.

So, let’s wake at 5:45 AM. Let’s eat some eggs and drink some water.

Let’s make coffee and let’s be out the door by 6:15 so I can come back at around 7:15 or so to a fresh pot of perfectly brewed coffee.

This takes care of “vigorous exercise.” I should probably remember a pen and paper so I can write what I want. I should probably read at this point, but we’ll see.

From 7:30-9:30 is when I should write and have all of my “personal/marketing/non-clientwriting” done for the day. This will take care of things the way that I’m supposed to write. This is the inbound content stuff, the social media type stuff.  I can also read during this time and that might be a good fit for some times.

From 9:30-12:30 (or so) is when I do my prospecting.  This is a mix of calling people, pitching things, and the rest.  Generally, it’s the process outlined here.  The goal isn’t to get too far caught up in lead follow up.

From 12:30-1:3o0 or so is lunch. With or without family. I can also do a quick “2nd” cardio session here if I feel up to it. If possible, why not read for a half hour.

1:30-4:30 is unstructured, project time, client writing time, whatever. At 4:30, it’s back to the family for 3 hours of phone off, computer off, time. We can hike, do all sorts of things at this time, but I gotta have an alarm at 4:30 that pings and I do my thing.

At 7:30 we put the kids to bed, for good. and they stay in bed.

at around 8pm or so, I read for an hour or so. At around 9pm if I’m out of the reading, I can work on whatever I didn’t get done, but by around 10pm I’m winding down – we can watch a movie, we should exercise again (2 sessions worked last time i needed to cut weight.).

Finally, I’m off to bed at 11:30.

This is doable. It requires some moderation which I don’t do well. This requires that I don’t exhaust myself.

 

Simplifilm: Our Overture Is Written

The Overture of Simplifilm is done.

I think we’ve hinted at the next few movements:

  • Clean up operations (solid process messages, etc)
  • Define what a Simplifilm is (and establish a style)
  • Make lead generation & follow up more automated
  • Work our way up to the clients we want (happening)

We’ve established a beachhead and gotten a happy client base. Most of our clients are in the 2mm-10mm annual revenue range (an educated guess). We make money. Jason and I have more fun working our asses off than anyone has playing World of Warcraft or any other video game skinner box.

There is never drama at Simplifilm. There are no emergencies at Simplifilm. We’ve solved the freelancer dilemma of always having merciless urgent b.s. projects. Everybody waits, and when they can’t they can go down to a second tier provider with availability, if that’s what they want for their business.

When you generate, you needn’t tolerate. Calling people each day seems to others to be begging, I’m simply accumulating good options to execute. Spending hours on detail nobody notices may seem stupid but it’s working for us.

We’re more or less booked till January. Our next trick is to book ourselves out for a year. That’ll happen by the end of this year. Then we’ll consider adding headcount.

I’ve become – personally – a more capable salesperson because I also have to guard Jason’s reputation. It amuses me sometimes to be the  Herb Tarlek caricature. But, the condescending b.s. doesn’t fly with everyone. It’s funny, I know that I have to be careful of Jason, so I do a better job.

Our reel looks great. A few more productions are being released this week (and a few are in the can because Clients aren’t ready yet). We’re on our way to do an absurd volume because of the mania in the tech sector. Even when it subsides, we will do fine.  We know that in 2 years it’ll be harder to do what we’re doing now.

We’ve established ourselves as the “go to guys,” for a sector. People put up with my indolence because of this.

We got recognition from Common Craft, the leaders of our nascent industry. Common Craft! Can you believe that?

We’ve proven that I can sell a little, and write a little. It’s always been obvious that Jason is world class (my only job is carrying his water and I can never forget that.)

Our clients are the best in the world.

The best part? Our soldiers aren’t on the field yet.  I still do what works – make sure 20-25 people see our work each day.  This gets conversations and orders. I handle both OK.  Not great yet. just OK.

Some people – direct response marketers – I tell to stick it. That’s fun. It’s also stupid and self indulgent and doesn’t serve me.   I will need be more tactful about letting people think they don’t want a Simplifilm.

We haven’t fully established what a Simplifilm is – we’ve seen hints – the metaphor in the Scribe SEO video, the interface heavy Headway Themes video.  We’re going to define this more carefully going forward, and establish our style.  I’ll probably write about it here as it happens (probably more than I should).

The order of things we need to address:

  • Define what a Simplifilm is (internally) and what it’s not
  • Coherent communications bring people in to each part of the process (script, VO, initial reveal)
  • Remake the website (it’s an incoherent, ugly, embarrassing kludge).
  • Create a rate card and a pricing strategy (defining a Simplifilm will inform this – my gut says to offer one thing at one price, about a minute long, and priced around $12k).
  • Schedule the trade shows we want to do (Ad Tech, CES, Affiliate Summit West, Blog World maybe SXSW -I’m oddly proud that I’ve never been.)
  • Figure out what we’re gonna give away and what we’re keeping.
  • Figure out an output schedule for the blog and formalize the lead generation methods I’m using (currently : see crappy video, insult it).
Our first movement is done. Simplifilm can support people with full time income. It wasn’t planned carefully, like everything else I’ve done, it just sort of happened. The prior planning and the ad nauseum business planning was far from a waste.  It’s given me the clarity to do this job.
Planning is more or less BS – no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. This is just a todo list that we more or less need to do.