“I will send along an NDA to get the discussion started”

If you're routinely or occasionally presented with NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), this can be a source of friction in your business:

  • 👨‍⚖️ Signing an NDA could open you up to legal risk
  • 💸 Having your lawyer review NDAs costs you money
  • 🕰️ Reviewing the NDAs yourself costs you time

I take the stance that you should set up a 'price speed bump' to discourage people who show up with NDAs in hand.

Here's the language I recommend for this, pulled from the as-yet-unpublished Just Say 'No': Scripts for Freelancers and Consultants:

There's a $500 fee for the cost for my lawyer to review your NDA. If you're willing to pay that fee, send the NDA over, and I'll send it to my lawyer. No guarantees on me signing once my lawyer has reviewed it.

Today, I ran into something that opened my eyes to a different approach.

Pay your attorney to draft up a standard NDA for your business. Have them walk you through it:

  • What you can negotiate
  • What you cannot negotiate
  • What should make you think: "I better talk to my lawyer."

Then, set up a standard process where you offer to send your NDA to the other party

Great, I'm excited to learn more about what you need help with. I'll go ahead and send over our standard NDA for you to review and sign.

You get a few perks in exchange for the cost of doing this:

👨‍⚖️ Boutique NDA

You have an NDA that's written for you, your business, your needs, and your protection from legal risk.

You can rest assured that your NDA will protect you.

♻️ Rinse and Repeat Process

You now have a 'rinse and repeat' process you can follow to send your NDA to any lead that asks for one: send them the NDA through HelloSign (https://hellosign.com).

☮️ Peace of Mind

You can offer your leads and clients the peace of mind of knowing they've signed an NDA.

💰 Save Money by Investing Money

If you have your lawyer review every NDA that's sent to you (or if you're spending the time to read them all yourself), then you have a cost each time an NDA shows up.

Dodge this recurring cost with your one-time investment in a custom NDA for your business.

Now, instead of a recurring cost, you have a standard operating procedure you can follow and a standard document you can use to offer your leads peace of mind (and give yourself legal protection).

Productized Services: Strategy or Implementation?

A productized service can be focused on strategy, on implementation, or on strategy + implementation.

The easiest productized services to start with, market, and sell are ones that are focused on implementation.

Why?

Because when your service is implementation focused, you’re taking work off of the client’s plate. They don’t need to worry about Doing The Thing.

Because you’re offering your implementation-focused service at a fixed price, you’re seen as a less risky option than other consultants. Your client doesn’t need to ever worry about going over budget.

Looking to get started offering a productized service? Here’s an easy way to start:

Take a look at projects you’ve done in the past

Identify a small thing, something that you’ve done multiple times and would enjoy doing more of

Offer that as a productized service with a fixed price, timeline, outputs, and outcomes

Excelsior!

Kai

Credentials

It’s thick. That’s the first thing you notice when you receive your letter in the mail.

You can tell that there’s more inside than just a card. And you’re right.

https://davisindustries.samcart.com/products/consulting-card/

Once you open up the envelope, you see that there’s a Letter, a Postcard, and a Laminated Card.

You flip the postcard over. On the back, there’s a written note for you.

You start to read the letter. You see that it’s a welcome letter from The House of Consultants.

You hold the Laminated Card in your hands and it feels great. You can tell it’ll hold up over time. The colors are vibrant. You can’t wait to show it to a friend.

It looks exactly look it did online:

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Free shipping & handling today: https://davisindustries.samcart.com/products/consulting-card/

Excelsior!

Kai

Smoothie Operating Procedure

This morning, as I wandered into the kitchen, still half asleep, I remembered that there were pre-made smoothie bags in the freezer from this week’s meal prep.

For a delicious berry + greens protein smoothie, all I needed to do was:

  • Pop the bag out of the freezer
  • Dump it into the blender
  • Add soy milk
  • Turn the blender on
  • Enjoy!

(Spot the critical missing step yet?)

I followed my remembered process, prep my smoothie, turn the blender on, and smoothie promptly coats my kitchen cabinets and counter.

I forgot to put the lid back on the blender.

You don’t ever think to yourself:

I should write down the steps I follow to make my morning smoothie

or, for the business equivalent:

I should write down the steps for how I use my budgeting software

Or Google Analytics. Or add a page to your website. Or send an email to your list. Or invoice a client.

And then, when you don’t expect it, smoothie flies up into your face.

No matter how small the action or project, if it’s something you’re going to do more than once, write the steps down. Create a Standard Operating Procedure you can follow. Future you will thank you for taking the time to write down the steps:

https://kaidavis.com/standard-operating-procedures/

Excelsior!

Kai

Your Client Doesn’t Want To Know How The Sausage Is Made

Here are three things to avoid discussing or mentioning in conversation with your lead or client — and suggestions on what to say instead.

If you use a consulting ‘term of art’ (a word or phrase that has a precise, specialized meaning within the fields of freelancing and consulting), you will accidentally confuse your client.

“This is a Productized Service”

Don’t call it a Productized Service.

Why? This is a highly technical term. Your client will not understand what a Productized Service is. Referring to it as such introduces a lot of potential for risk and objections.

One time, a lead heard me say “Productized Service” when discussing their upcoming project. Immediately, they raised an objection: they thought we were discussing my service and instead, we’re talking about my product? Confusion city, my friend.

When you’re talking with your clients, keep it simple and keep it crystal clear. Don’t call it a Productized Service; call it a Service.

“…Value-Based Pricing…”

Don’t tell your client that you’re following a value-based methodology to determine their price.

Why? If you open up a conversation about Value-Based Pricing, then you’ll be talking about (and defending) your pricing process instead of talking with the client about the project.

Instead, just share the price and why this is a valuable investment for the client:

This is the price: $…

Don’t mention your pricing process, systems, or techniques — value-based or otherwise — to the client.

“…Roadmapping Session…”

Don’t call it a Roadmapping Session.

Let’s compare and contrast these two names for the same hypothetical service: a marketing plan for your Shopify Store that defines the top 2-3 priorities to focus on to get more conversions.

Shopify Marketing Roadmapping Session

and

Shopify Marketing Action Plan

The second focuses on the outcome/output of the process (the Marketing Action Plan) instead of focusing on the process.

Roadmapping Session is another highly technical term that you want to avoid using with clients. A Roadmapping Session is a type of engagement: a paid discovery and strategic engagement that helps you and the client learn more about the client’s business and current situation and determine the best paths forward. https://kaidavis.com/roadmapping/

When you’re offering a Roadmapping Session, make the name attractive and relevant to the client.

  • “Action Plan” instead of “Roadmapping Session.”
  • “Website Rescue” instead of “Website Audit” (no one wants to be audited)

Name your service in a way that aligns with or hints at the outcome or benefits your target market is looking for.

Top Eight Best Productivity and Life Enhancing Apps on Kai’s Mac

First, some quick business to take care of:

  • If you’re a Windows/Linux user, I recommend searching around (duckduckgo.com) for an OS- or Web-equivalent. In The Year of Our Lady (YOOL) Two Thousand and Nineteen, there are (most likely) similar pieces of software out there for you to use. If not, hey, there’s an app idea for you!
  • None of these recommendations are paid recommendations. I’m not compensated in any way for these recommendations. There is one affiliate link that’s clearly labeled.

Alright, into the water we go!

OmniFocus — Task Management App 🌟

OmniFocus (https://www.omnigroup.com/OmniFocus) is a popular, well-developed task management app.

Their tagline is

Accomplish More Every Day

And it’s damn right.

OmniFocus is designed to help you manage your actions and projects. When I’m not in Trello for collaboration, I’m in OmniFocus.

OmniFocus is where I manage my business, client, and personal projects and actions.

I’ve used OmniFocus for 9 years now.

I’ve tested Things (1, 2, and 3), and several lesser task management apps. OmniFocus is the winner.

For me, the way OmniFocus approaches getting things done and the Getting Things Done™ methodology is perfect.

There’s a vibrant ecosystem of guides on how to use OmniFocus out there (https://www.google.com/search?q=OmniFocus+guide) to help you get started.

OmniFocus is available on macOS, iOS, and has a brand new web version (https://www.omnigroup.com/OmniFocus/web !!!) which seems rad as hell. I’ve been wishing for OmniFocus for the Web for 9 years. Hallelujah.

TextExpander — Text Snippets

TextExpander is my secret weapon. Email templates, little snippets of text (phone numbers, addresses, names), and everything else you can think of, you can store in TextExpander.

TextExpander’s value prop from their homepage (https://textexpander.com/) is:

TextExpander lets you instantly insert snippets of text from a repository of emails, boilerplate and other content, as you type – using a quick search or abbreviation.

TextExpander is a place:

  • To store all of your email templates and snippets, like The Magic Email (https://themagicemail.com, which is ;tme for me)
  • To fix frequent typos (ecommerce -> Ecommerce, for me)
  • To handle all these things you frequently type, like today’s date (check out the image below)

With the type of ;fdate, I get today’s date automatically entered for me. That’s nifty.

TextExpander is available on:

  • The AppStore
  • macOS
  • Windows
  • Google Chrome

Check it out here https://textexpander.com/.

Alfred (with the PowerPack) — Powerful Automation From Your Keyboard (and fingertips) 🌟

Alfred is a productivity app on the Mac that gives me:

  • Hotkeys
  • Upgraded search (for the Mac and web) to find apps and files
  • A clipboard history, storing the last 50 things I copied to my clipboard (!)
  • A quick access calculator
  • System commands, like sleep, empty trash, and more

There’s even a really power-user-level Extension and Automation feature. I haven’t even touched that yet.

Alfred is a fantastic Mac app for boosting your productivity.

https://www.alfredapp.com/

And the core of Alfred is free. It’s great. I used the free version for years before I upgraded to the Powerpack, which is amazing.

I used Quicksilver https://qsapp.com/ for years before Alfred and migrated to Alfred when Alfred Version 1 came out. Now? Alfred Version 4 is here.

Try Alfred out. Then, try out the Alfred Powerpack. Alfred is a great productivity tool for macOS.

https://www.alfredapp.com/

1Password — Password Manager 🌟

Go ahead. Forget your passwords.

They’re the best in the business when it comes to securing your passwords and making them incredibly easy for you to access.

1Password is built around making your passwords secure and easy to access. You need to remember your Master Password to unlock the app and your vault — mine is a multi-word phrase that’s easy to recall — and then you have easy access to your passwords.

1Password (https://1password.com/) makes it so easy to access my passwords, I’m finally using long, random, highly secure passwords for each website I use. It’s great. And it’s painless.

Here’s what the NYTimes had to say about 1Password in 2016: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/21/technology/personaltech/apps-to-manage-passwords-so-they-are-harder-to-crack-than-password.html (since then, 1Password has switched to a subscription model and has a 🌟 cloud/web version and syncing).

I’ve used 1Password for years. I honestly can’t remember when I started using them, it’s been that long.

2009? Na, it had to be before 2009, since 1Password was on the iPhone in 2009 https://twitter.com/ste_prescott/status/1085319192272912385 and I was using 1Password before then.

Anyway, I’ve used 1Password for a very long time and I enthusiastically recommend 1Password for securing your passwords.

1Password is available for:

  • macOS
  • iOS
  • Windows
  • Android
  • Linux
  • ChromeOS
  • Command Line
  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Oprah
  • Safari

AND

They just launched 1Password X, which is:

No Mac app required. Fill logins, credit cards, and addresses in just one click. Manage everything in your 1Password account – all without leaving your browser.

It’s slick as hell. The 1PasswordX FireFox add-on makes filling in (or adding) passwords incredibly fast.

https://1password.com/

Drafts — Quick Notes

Drafts (https://getdrafts.com/) is my current-favorite app to manage plain text (markdown) notes on iOS and macOS.

Drafts lets you capture text quickly and easily (the app opens to a new page with the keyboard ready).

On top of that, Drafts:

  • Has a rich set of actions you can perform on text, connecting it with other apps or services (create a file in Dropbox, compose a Tweet, etc.)
  • Lets you manage (inbox, tag, flag, archive) your drafts
  • Customize your editing and writing experience for your preferred workflow
  • Has a great syncing feature, easily syncing your text between iOS and macOS devices

It’s great. I make a dozen+ notes in here every day. I have notes that I refer to daily, like my done.md file.

Try out Drafts at https://getdrafts.com/

nvALT — Quick Notes

nvALT (https://brettterpstra.com/projects/nvalt/) was my previous favorite macOS app for managing quick notes. Then, Drafts happened and changed my life.

Now? nvUltra (https://brettterpstra.com/2019/04/10/codename-nvultra/) is on the horizon. That’s exciting.

I’m including this here as a recommendation because nvALT is a fantastic tool:

You pop it up and start typing. Search or create a note in seconds. It has blazing fast and accurate full-text search, the ability to find related notes based on content, and very complete Markdown editing tools (complete with syntax highlighting and theme editing).

Tr nvALT (https://brettterpstra.com/projects/nvalt/) on macOS if Drafts isn’t your cup of tea.

CloudApp — Screenshots, Gif Recording, Screen Recording…

CloudApp makes it super simple to make and share screenshots, screen recordings, and gifs.

CloudApp has been part of my workflow for years now. I think I started using it in 2012 to share screenshots.

Since then, they’ve charged ahead with feature development and now include:

  • Gif recording
  • Screen recording
  • Screenshotting
  • Screenshot annotation (the best out there – even better than the legacy version of Skitch by Evernote)

CloudApp is great. I strongly recommend the app.

https://www.getcloudapp.com/

Here’s a referral link. If you sign up with this link, I’ll get a free month of the software: https://my.cl.ly/r/1E3l0L121Y1d2l0T

Grammarly — Free Writing Assistant

Grammarly gives you fantastic grammar checking and spell checking.

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free writing with Grammarly’s AI-powered writing assistant.

It’s great. I’ve used it since 2014 or 2015. I strongly recommend this app to you.

There’s a Firefox extension, Chrome extension, MS Office Version, Native App…

There are a lot of great options.

Try out Grammarly: https://www.grammarly.com/

And Email…

I’m switching from Gmail (with a set of Gmail enhancing apps) to a desktop client.

In the past, I used and loved Newton (https://newtonhq.com/). Great app. Then it shut down. And I learned today that it’s back open? It’s on the list to try out again.

Right now I’m trying out Spark (https://sparkmailapp.com/), on Philip Morgan’s excellent recommendation. It’s a lovely piece of software that has ~3 of my favorite (paid) Gmail extensions baked into the app. That’s pretty cool.

I haven’t used either enough yet to give a strong recommendation.


If you enjoyed this dive into software Kai uses, loves, and recommends, after using it himself for hundred of hours, then hit reply and let me know. I can write you a wicked sharp article on tools (and recommended systems) to make your Gmail email experience less distracting, more productive, and less anxiety-inducing.

Excelsior!

Kai

Pitching

A question comes in:

A pitch question – I’ve been doing SEO and digital marketing for a local heating and air conditioning business. A couple weeks in, things seem to be going well; however, their website is really holding them back.

How would you go about pitching a new website to someone that doesn’t see that a bad website = fewer conversions? The last person kind of burned them with a “you need a new website because you do” attitude, and totally made a mess of things.

The first step is reaching an agreement with the client on what they see as the objective for their website.

Is it

  • Promotion?
  • Awareness?
  • Lead generation?
  • Something else?

You’re looking for an answer that aligns with the money: leads, conversions, phone calls, etc.

If your client doesn’t view their website as a business investment that exists to help them make money, then you’re going to have a hard time convincing them of the value in a new website.

Let’s assume that your client has The Number One Business Desire of any service business:

They want more leads.

How do you help your client move in that direction? Especially when the client is resistant to the idea of a new website?

Explain to your client that their website is a salesperson. Like any salesperson, it is important to review performance regularly and see if there is room for improvement. (https://kaidavis.com/work-with-me/website-review/)

Track down answers to these questions (or ask your client):

Over the last 60 days:

  • How much traffic did their website receive?
  • How many conversions did their website generate? (leads)
  • How many clients did their website generate? (leads who paid)
  • What is the value of a client for their business?

Then, analyze their information.

How do their metrics compare to industry best practices? Is their website underperforming in any areas? (low conversion rate, low traffic)? What stands out to you?

If nothing stands out — reasonable traffic, conversion rates, and value — then they might not need a new website.

If something stands out, then you want to build a case for why a new website is a valuable investment for them.

Let’s say that…

  • Their website’s conversion rate is 1% (1 out of 100 visitors become a lead)
  • Their website gets 1,000 visitors/month (10 leads/month)
  • 50% of leads turn into paying clients (5 clients/month)
  • A client is worth $1,000 ($5,000 in revenue/month)

Industry best practices show that a visitor-to-lead conversion rate of 3% is reasonable and achievable.

What would be the potential upside for the client if they invest in a new website?

  • Their website converts at 3% (3 out of 100 visitors become a lead)
  • Their website gets 1,000 visitors/month (30 leads/month)
  • 50% of leads turn into paying clients (15 clients/month)
  • A client is worth $1,000 ($15,000 in revenue/month)

In this scenario, we can see that investing in a new website can make sense for the business.

If their conversion rate increases, their number of leads and paying clients will increase. They will make more money.

For your client, you want to follow a similar process to build your case:

  • Reach agreement on the objective for the website
  • Collect facts about how the site has been performing
  • Review the facts and see if there are opportunities for improvement
  • Build a case for why this would be a valuable investment

Outline the potential upside for your client. Then, have a conversation with them.

“Time for lunch!”

Here’s your challenge:

  1. Pick a colleague or business owner you know in your city or town
  2. Send them a text or an email and invite them out to lunch
  3. Use the lunch conversation as an opportunity to practice focusing the conversation on learning about their industry and answering their questions about what you do

(Pro Tip: Bring a notepad with you and take notes. It’s always a good idea to write down the questions that people ask you.)

You are the sum of your network. So spend time with your network, actively nurturing those connections.

When you see them, ask them about how they’re doing:

  • What are they up to in life?
  • What book have they read recently that stuck with them? Why does it stand out?
  • What’s new in business?
  • What projects are they working on?
  • What’s the ‘hot topic’ or ‘new goodness’ in their industry?

And, in turn, answer their questions for you about what you’re up to and what’s new with you.

(Pro Tip: These conversations are a great way to practice saying out loud with type of clients you work with, what outcomes you help with, and what problems you solve)

Alright, now it’s time for you to take action.

First, pick someone. Look on LinkedIn, in your phone, on Twitter, or at your past clients. Who do you want to learn more about today?

Second, send just one person a text and invite them out to lunch this week.

Excelsior!

Kai

Rejection

A friend asked me a riff in jazz of:

I’m planning on quitting my job in a month. I want to start freelancing. What should I do to get my first client?

I told them that the most valuable thing they could do would be to go out and get rejected by 10 business owners in their target market.

If they did that in a month, they’d be miles ahead of the game by the time they quit their job.


The most valuable thing you can do as a freelancer or consultant is to learn more about your target market. As you learn more about your target market, you’ll understand the pains and problems they’re experiencing, where they spend money, and what industry shibboleths you’ll need to know to blend in.

It doesn’t matter how much industry knowledge you already have1, you will learn about your target market by having conversations with people who are in your target market.

You want to get out there and work on starting conversations with people. If they respond, that’s a success! If they don’t respond, that’s also a success.

When you make an intentional effort at talking with people in your target market, you’re also spending time on things that will help you better understand your target market:

  • You’re making a decision on what market to target
  • You’re researching where you can find them, online and offline
  • You’re reading articles about them, for them, and by them
  • You’re watching videos and consuming information written about them
  • You’re learning how to write emails to them
  • You’re learning how to follow-up and what to say in your follow-up emails

These are all incredibly valuable outputs while you’re working on an outcome like “have conversations with people in your target market.” That’s one of the topics covered in The Independent Consulting Manual (https://kaidavis.com/independent-consulting-manual/).

And those are your outputs if you do not succeed in starting conversations with people in your target market. That’s what happens if you get rejected.

If you set a goal of:

Have 10 conversations with people in your target market

and send 20 emails and get 0 replies, the rejection implicit in those ‘empty’ replies can make the experience feel like a failure.

You set out to do the thing. You did the thing.

You did the correct things in the right order.

It didn’t work.

That sucks.

Well, it depends on how you look at it.

Having conversations is a bit of a leap of faith. It takes two to tango and all that jazz.

Let’s reframe a goal like

Have 10 conversations with…

Around what you actually have control over: the number of people you try and get in touch with.

What’s the most likely result of you trying to get in touch with someone?

Most likely, it will be “They Did Not Reply “.

Rejection.

Count your rejections. Aim to be rejected.

Take joy in being rejected.

If you are rejected by 10, 20, or 100 people in your target market, that means that you’ve taken the time, invested the energy, and done the work to start conversations with those 10, 20, or 100 people.

Along the way, you’ll have learned a surprising amount about your target market.

You might even land a client or two.

Excelsior!

Kai

  1. It’s binary. You have “some” or “none.”

“Discover How The World Sees You”

A little bit ago, I sent out an email about the 16Personalities Personality Test.

Since then, I’ve taken and enjoyed another personality test — The Fascination Advantage https://www.howtofascinate.com/.

Where 16Personalities was great at helping me better understand me, The Fascination Advantage has helped me better understand how to market me.

Over to TFA:

How do clients and coworkers see you at your best?

The Fascinate® Personality Test is the first way to measure your personal brand’s most impressive qualities.

Find out:

  • How you are most likely to make a brilliant first impression
  • How your personality adds value to teams
  • Potential “watch-outs” for your communication

And

The Fascination Advantage: branding, not psychology

The Fascinate® Personality Test is based on a commissioned study by Kelton Global. It measured how people interact with brands, and the different communication styles humans respond to. We found seven different advantages: Innovation, Passion, Power, Prestige, Trust, Mystique and Alert.

While not as good as a 1-on-1 brand workshop for freelancers (If you need one of those, email me. I know someone who is accepting referrals), The Fascination Advantage can give you a look into how clients see you at your best.

Take the free Fascination Advantage here: https://www.howtofascinate.com/

And hit reply and let me know what the test told you and if you think it’s accurate or not.

Excelsior!

Kai