The Unprofessional Touch

Perhaps, my website is still not very accessible to the individuals I seek…

Following on from my previous post, perhaps I should zoom in super specifically on my target audience, and create a homepage which matches them and their interests –

There is indeed a disparity between my blog and my website, so perhaps I should make my website fit the honest and upfront form of my blog.

I’m here to support the struggling start ups and small businesses, and those interested in becoming self employed, who, like me, get near to no practical support.

My website does not clearly communicate this objective, even though it declares, “Digital Marketing Support for Small Businesses” in big letters at the top –

Perhaps, my website is still not very accessible to the individuals I seek…

Perhaps it actually looks too professional.

As an Unprofessional, it should be more welcoming to other unprofessionals – that is, others who are struggling, perhaps even with advisors who don’t want them to admit to being or recently being on benefits.

Its really a gem –

Don’t tell anyone you attend the job centre.

Sincerely, the Job Centre

Why?

Are we unworthy of acknowledgement?

Should we pretend that this part of our life is unimportant, or irrelevant?

I venture that no one who has ever experienced unemployment, especially long-term unemployment, can possibly understand what it means to try and break free of the physical and psychological barriers which hold you in your box of “The Unemployed”.

Nor will they understand how backwards it is to tell an unemployed, benefits claimant that they should hide that they are an unemployed, benefits claimant.

Doesn’t this feed into the taboo of not admitting to being a “benefits scrounger”, as we are more commonly known?

Well, b*llocks to that.

My target audience is others like me –

Not snobs, not successful business owners who can afford more experienced copywriters, but others on tight budgets who just need that extra bit of help to get going.

I’m pleased that this disparity was brought further to my attention –

I will need to assess what my next move will be, but I have some ideas…

Blog Index

“Professional” White Lies or “Unprofessional” Black Truths

I’ve had conflicting advice: To share my history/ my story, to not share my story…

Even the job centre (scheme) think I should hide that I’m currently a customer of the job centre and scheme.

I remember once asking one of my previous job centre advisors (back when I was in the regular job search pathway and when my health was still very dodgy), “How should I lie to an employer when they ask why I think I’m better than one of their more able-bodied applicants?”

“Well, you shouldn’t lie –”

“But how else can I compete with them -”

I also recall more recently receiving help for my diabolical CV –

“Instead of focusing on the negative, let’s focus on the positive”

That’s fine – except I have a 6 year void of negative. “How can an employer ignore that?”

*silence*

For my copywriting business, I’ve had conflicting advice: Namely, to share my history/ my story, or not to share my story…

I venture that it is better to be upfront about my work and health history than not to be, which is why I am honest about it in this blog.

Who can say what is more unprofessional – having to give a hurried work and health history on the spot when asked about my employment history by a business owner, or, Including information about my work and health history on my website, for any interested parties to see.

I know neither is particular endearing, but if my truth is so unprofessional, then that can’t be helped – unless I am to lie.

And if I’m not to lie, then I have to be truthful, own way or another.

This issue has been (fairly) brought to my attention by my job centre scheme advisors, and I await their answer to the truth conundrum I present.

As I explained to one of them today, my target audience is made of others who are close to the the bottom of the ladder like me – those who perhaps understand and connect with “my story”, and who can see my potential nonetheless since they themselves have also faced hard times and others prejudging them.

This has, of course, been the reason I have struggled to get started on LinkedIn, as I have described in previous blog posts. Despite how full of personal stories LI is, I know that my story (since there is not yet any tremendous, successful ending) is certainly too “unprofessional” to share.

This is why I have not ventured into any Sheffield Chamber of Commerce get-togethers at Cubo, the same place where lies my job centre scheme:

To be unemployed is (of course) to be “unprofessionalism” itself.

Maybe this is a vicious circle I can never leave –

Or maybe, I can just get on and absorb all the reasonable advice I get, always aware that my “situation” is a bit unique, and apparently, there is no clear way forward.

What is clear, however, is my business is only hopeless when I stop believing in myself –

As “unprofessional”, or “unconventional” as I am, I’m still a very capable copywriter. And I can present a neutral website stuck together by feeble, “white lies”, or I can have the “unprofessional” truth available, and an “unprofessional” but honest website to match. “Black truths”, so to speak.

Who’s caught between a rock and a hard place?

Blog Index

The Downloadable Item (Draft)

As a child, I would read Bart Simpson’s Guide to Life (1993) and imagine what exciting fun awaited me when I finally transformed into an adult –

(The following is the draft text for a downloadable pamphlet I am currently working on)

I’m 32 presently, and as good as unemployed. So, what have I done wrong?

Was I not creative enough, or smart enough? Have I not been ambitious enough or popular enough?

Yes – to all of those things.

But, were illness and impairment fated to stop me achieving success?

Or do they continue to be the tools I’ve needed to innovate and discover –

… What?

Maybe (one day) I’ll work that part out.

I’ve only been trying since I left school/ crashed out of Sixth Form at 16.

So, what have I learnt from a life lived trying/ lacking?

Do I honestly think anyone will read this if I continue so cynically?

It shouldn’t matter. I can’t change your life by describing mine. But, if you want some hints, my opening statement will be:

F*** your misfortune and your resentment.

Any unjust or unfair event or situation which has occurred in your life which has messed with your confidence and your opportunities to thrive –

Break free of it.

For 10 years following bullying and racism in school, the only thing to replace the eternal anger I felt following the sins of my teenage peers was the pain and depression of illness –

And the great resentment for the curse I came to recognise as life. But every wisp of energy used in anger, hatred or resentment, was energy wasted.

Utterly, irreplaceably wasted.

Especially as a younger woman at full health in my early 20s –

Had I let go of my pain and the constant vigil I kept over memories and faces from my past, vast amounts of time and energy – otherwise misused – could have been embraced to discover my passion.

To discover something positive.

Instead, I knocked around from pursuit to pursuit driven by the belief that Something might work/ I might make a success of this, or that

To this day, I cannot say what I am truly passionate about. The only passion I ever felt was that of unrealised vengeance –

Yes. I wanted revenge. I was harassed, lied to and about and let down, and I was humiliated.

Following school, I would be left permanently altered –

And instead of growing up and focusing on my future, I felt little connection to the world or hope for the future.

I went to college, I went to uni (briefly), I went to work – in the end, not even the positive effort I could conjure mattered. I got sick and it turned my small, sad life onto its sad head.

The faces of my past could only have laughed further.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Wasted. Even the time I spend to recount these awful feelings and events is wasted –

Unless the text which follows has further hints or insights.

Let me introduce another:

Always, always believe in yourself.

You know this one. You’ve heard it many times before. But what steps do you take to follow it?

I am at this stage in life because I did not believe in myself.

I believed every bad thing about myself and I did so for years:

  • I’m stupid
  • I’m ugly
  • I’m useless
  • I can’t do anything
  • I’m a failure
  • I’ll never be happy
  • I shouldn’t be here

I ruined my life by not believing in myself and by hating the enemies of my distant past.

I won’t take responsibility for the illnesses I’ve experienced since I’m not a conjurer of complex, poor physical health –

But my earlier wounds set me on the path to “failure at life”, and now I’m busy trying to get out of it.

Every lesson I’ve learnt, I’ve learnt too late”, I often repeat to myself, but this is so toxic.

I need to be rid of these damaging, self-deprecating admonitions.

Not least because my business will never succeed if I cannot even believe wholeheartedly in myself –

But I believe wholeheartedly in my product, and in its value especially to other small business owners like myself.

That is – those who are ambitious, and a bit broke.

So without further ado, let me share some more hints about life and self-employment, and how to begin clearing the road to success…

Part One:

Get Efficient.

Whether you’re self-employed, “un-gainfully self-employed”, on your way to being self-employed, or committed to any endeavour in which you alone are accountable –

You need to get organised very quickly.

Winging it” is how I’ve managed my copywriting business for the last year, and guess what? Yup – still broke.

But with zero entrepreneurial experience and zero cash for a business mentor, winging it’s been the only option…

Years of low confidence, compiled with health conditions and zero expendable cash has resulted in no social, let alone professional network –

So, I regret to say that Ruth Klempner Copywriting seemed doomed to fail from its conception. But really, it’s just been doomed to take a really long time to get going…

Inefficiency has ensured this long period of quiet. Mishaps such as –

  • Not putting all my effort into building a network of connections from the beginning
  • Not using time management to see to many, important tasks simultaneously
  • Not thoroughly researching and developing the many, different ways I might engage with audiences and industry leaders and influencers
  • Not going above and beyond to discover (or create) viable, new opportunities
  • Not having a clue in the world how exactly to build a business in 2021/ 2022

So, get your checklist of things which need to be started and completed, and identify everything which might stand in the way from accomplishing these tasks.

Here’s my top nine most interfering, business-compromising traits:

1. General lack of confidence

2. Inability to recite a convincing or compelling, spoken sales pitch

3. Inability to engage in “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality

4. Creative, but not imaginative or enterprising

5. No good at sucking up or fake engagement

6. Very introverted so don’t naturally socialise well, in person or online

7. No passions e.g. sport/music/ hobbies with which I can engage with others through and build connections with

8. Not super social media savvy e.g. have no hope of making exciting reels or TikToks because I’m simply not exciting or popular enough

9. Poor sleep pattern

The above weaknesses seriously reduce my ability to effectively promote myself and my business –

Unless I find a way to improve the worst of them, my business will never be successful.

No marketing campaign I attempt will work, and I will be left to analyse my inefficiencies until the end of time.

Part Two:

Get Consistent.

Discovering sustainable (as in maintainable) ways to change the negative, business damaging habits of a lifetime is a challenge I am still working through.

Speaking only for myself:

There is no easy way to change.

There’s also no time to wait until I’m “all new and changed” before I should begin consistently sharing my brand message –

And this is true of all start ups which may still be super rough around the edges:

Get gobby – FAST.

You have everyone to contend with, and everyone needs to know your name and your business.

I failed spectacularly at this task during my first year of alleged “business”, but it’s not yet too late…

So, ask yourself:

  • Have you established your USP/ your Unique Selling Point?
  • Do you have a good idea of your customer personas/ your target audience?
  • Are you taking full advantage of free online marketing e.g. through regularly updated social media engagement?
  • Are your online and/ or in-store outlets attractive and easy to navigate?
  • Are you anticipating social and industry trends and creating original, engaging content in response to e.g. popular hashtags?
  • Do you have a bank of new content (written and visual) ready-to-go as each day dies and new one is made?
  • Do you have a method to stop your brain exploding from all the (new and old) tasks and commitments running and growing a small business entails?

I’m yet to work out a method which is why so many of my business tasks have gone neglected –

But I have a business voice, and a message. And I need to lead with these, and commit to engaging in as much one-to-one and online discussion as I can.

Because:

“In space, no one can hear you scream”

Alien (1979)

I learnt about the Law of Averages when I was doing my stint at direct marketing, and flogging broadband off street corners.

We were told, the more people we speak to the greater our chances of making a sale –

It’s not rocket science (mind the pun). But like Ripley floating in a ship in a void, my lack of establishing strong connections has left me as I always was, isolated and chelping into a void.

Don’t do that – instead:

  • Introduce yourself and your business as widely as possible
  • Know and understand your target audience as much as possible and create personalised messages and greetings to share with them
  • Engage with and comment on everyone’s stuff – Be polite, insightful and/ or helpful
  • Share your knowledge and your unique perspective – discuss topics relating to your industry, and to related industries

Every time you comment, your business name is shared, and social media users especially will learn to recognise you and to acknowledge your legitimacy and specialism.

If you find that you don’t know enough to comment knowledgeably or authentically on certain topics which interest you (whether they’re relevant or not), then read more and educate yourself.

Be aware – The main issue I have faced in regard to engaging prolifically is:

“Fake engagement”. Also, engagement for engagements sake, or any message or communication which goes anything like, “Hi, I like your stuff –“ without ever sharing what exactly they like, or revealing that they understand any part of you or your business at all…

But, this is only my opinion as a business owner and social media user. If our job is to show our authenticity, then we should communicate knowledge and understanding in every communication.

If we want to sound like spambots then, of course, that is our right, but we shouldn’t expect any positive or even polite responses to such poor marketing ideals.

Part three:

Your brand voice.

Like I’ve said, this is the part I can do.

I can write and use logic, emotion and objectivity –

And none of this is useful unless I can do all the other things which make a business successful too. So, let’s discuss pulling it all together, along with brand messaging…

Your place amongst your competitors

How do you make your brand stand out in a sea of competition?

I’ve already used my own business to outline how not to do this –

My brand voice/ messaging should be the beacon which drives sales, but only a fraction of my target audience has been exposed to this voice.

The individual pitches and proposals –including verbal proposals, and personalised messages – are all part of your business messaging, so along with your Efficiency, and Consistency, is your Brand Voice strong enough to propel your business into comfortable profit?

Do you want to increase your profit, expand your brand influence, and maybe even become the industry leader which new customers love?

Then make sure your messaging is on point – and everywhere suitable it can be:

  • Read and understand about great copy and content writing

There are many insightful online resources and books available which will enable you to improve your business writing – find some you like and absorb what knowledge you can.

  • Study your competitor’s messaging

What voice is your competition using to lure away your customers?

How legitimate are their claims of superiority, and how might your Unique Selling Point cut a path through their messaging?

Think about the tone they’re using and the audience they’re targeting, and study their business copy and content (their brand voice and messaging) across as many platforms as you find them advertised –

You will be challenging them on these multiple fronts, so:

  • Do your research
  • Update your research
  • Have messages and advertising which speak loudly of your product’s benefits to customers, and
  • Do so in a way which diminishes the voices of your competition

How do you diminish those voices?

With gobby consistency.

In case you haven’t noticed, those who shout the loudest get heard –

This is what advertising is and does, and though most small businesses don’t have advertising budgets comparable to those of medium or large businesses, there are still ways of prolifically advertising your product, but you will need to evolve into a machine

Part Four:

The Machine Marketer

(I’m not talking AI.)

I mean the highly efficient and organised person who gets a lot done, and is rewarded with achievement.

I’m not this person – but I want to be.

Modest-budget, small business owners, particularly those just starting out, are forced to wear many hats at once, as well as rise to every other responsibility they have in their life besides their business.

Earlier, I spoke of the knowledge and alluded to the premonition needed in order to become efficient at marketing your business –

  • Get every hint you can about the various, legitimate marketing methods available to you on your budget

You need to gauge how wide and far your competitors are sharing their messages, and prepare a similar, multiplatform marketing strategy.

  • Recognise the frequency of which your competitors publish new content, and document the variety, relevance and originality of their content

This is the copy and content which you will be competing with.

The machine marketer will meet this challenge by producing even more relevant, engaging and informative copy and content. All of which will have to be produced through:

  • Reasonable (not super time consuming) planning
  • Anticipation of new industry and societal trends (in order to engage with online communities who converge on trending topics/ hashtags)
  • An understanding of good copy and content writing practice
  • A perceptive observance of attractive marketing visuals and an ability to replicate the most basic of these

To be a machine is to accurately complete many operations at once, and/ or to repeat the same operation quickly and efficiently –

Are you a machine marketer?

If you’ve the means, you’ll outsource your numerous, time-consuming marketing tasks to different professionals e.g. social media managers, graphic and web designers, perhaps photographers, videographers and of course, copy and/ or content writers –

Leaving you all the time in the world to focus on your actual business.

If you’ve not the means, but you’ve the ambition, then together let’s endeavour to Become the machine

To be an effective and consistent marketer:

Meditate upon the things you know.

Use knowledge of your product/s and your industry as the foundation with which to build infinite, insightful pieces of marketing copy and content –

How? Publish:

  • Your product knowledge/ Your Pro POV

Plus or minus

  • Your take on a trending topic (relevant, or not so much)

Plus or minus

  • More insightful, relevant product stuff

Plus or minus

  • Opinions about challenges facing consumers (and your customers)

Plus or minus

  • Original photos and/ or videos featuring your great products

Plus or minus

  • Anecdotes about the working day and any happy customers

Plus or minus

  • Shout outs to your favourite business friends and partners

Plus or minus

  • Special features about your best products

Plus or minus

  • Tantalising special offers and exclusive deals

Plus or minus

  • Work selfies! As you busily provide amazing products/ services to customers

Plus or minus

  • Anything else which you can relate back to your business or industry!

 Obviously, initiative applies –

No:

  • Meaningless, waffly, barely relevant content, and no –
  • Spelling mistakes (colloquial spellings like ‘waffly’ are permissible!)

Consider how many variations of the above formula can be used to create content – absolutely plenty, so:

Plan copy and content for multiple platforms for a fortnight – and then for another fortnight, and then another.

Anticipate (and research) social and customer trends such as:

  • Events, celebrations and special days
  • Changing fashions and norms

And discover your most efficient means of producing this content –

I use Microsoft Word and Canva Pro. There are, of course, plenty of free writing tools available but I like to organise my written work with Word –

For graphics, Canva Pro will give you every imaginable template, but it will also give you the means to design simple, effective, graphics and banners from scratch, using their large stock of free images, symbols, fonts and photos.

Part five:

Engagement.

At this stage, I’m going to ask you:

What’s important to you?

Becoming comfortably successful with work you can enjoy and take pride in is one example of a (modest) ambition. And to achieve this ambition, one more formula is required:

Efficient Effort In = Measurable Reward Out

Increase your efficient effort (not inefficient, wasted effort), and you will increase the measurable reward you gain.

I’ve spent a long time working hard and being hopelessly inefficient –

  • Take the time to experiment and discover a formula which increases your efficiency, and therefore, your productivity.

Apply this formula to any machine marketer aspirations you have and –

What could happen?

If you’ve been focused and busy planning and creating mountains of your own stuff, and you have neglected to engage with mountains of other people’s stuff, then perhaps – not very much.

*Distant, frustrated groan*

Engaging with other’s accounts and with online communities is as important as creating your own online content.

You need exposure and engagement, and so does everybody else!

These five points – efficiency, consistency, brand voice, machine marketing and engagement – may be enough to blow the mind of a start up business owner (like me) who is yet to correctly interpret point number one.

So –

What’s the answer?

Pressure and time.

If a successful, growing business is important to you, then you’ll find a formula that works.

Success for the modest-budget, small business owner means persistence, patience, and staying on the ball!

Engage with others, engage in your own stuff, and engage with others.

I’ve spent a year disproportionately engaging with my own –

I’ve actually spent nearly 20 years doing that.

But it’s up to all of us to break our bad, inefficient business habits, and with no easy answers, we’re each charged with discovering our individual paths to success.

Author’s notes:

The above document is only a guide, and a theory for small business success based on my own experience and my observations of other businesses.

I publish it in blog form as it’s first draft, with the view to create a downloadable pamphlet of sorts to encourage and assist small and start up business owners further on their way to building a successful business.

(I’m now going to see if Canva can make this into the colourful document I’m intending it to be. Thanks for reading this draft!)

Blog Index

Marketplace Landscapes

WHO’S WINNING locally and nationally

I have a small series of notes reflecting my thoughts on improving my product and my service –

I will be reorganising my brand message and my information and services page to reflect the more immediately quantifiable value proposition (as I highlighted in my previous post) which I am aiming to present.

Right now, I am deciding the logistics of what the most efficient means of research and analysis will be – in order for me to determine competition within different online, small business industries)…

Thinking about it, the information I organise can actually be made into an online resource –

Proceeding in a careful and scrutinous fashion, I can present research which is regularly updated and which would be valuable for those small businesses eager to fibre only things which can include accessing relevant, free research and analysis.

Such regularly updated material could constitute reason enough to create a newsletter and a subscriber facility – but again I will have to discover what the most efficient means of conducting and presenting this research could be.

Ideally it would be great to be able to work with another marketer or professional business writer, but that is another thing I will need to build trust for before I can start building working relationships.

A journalism element can be introduced to such research as well, since I have no desire for it to read in a boring and technical way – work can be presented in engaging articles with lots of visual elements including infographics.

Perhaps case studies would be a good way to proceed – studies including those of individual small businesses and their placement amongst their competitors.

Lessons can be learnt from both the success, and weak points, of other online business – after-all, this will be the basis of how I will be building online marketing strategies for clients.

An important point to remember is that, of course and very, very often, a small business’ main competitor might be a very big business – so what strategy can be constructed to break through the noise of a corporate competitor?

This is an issue/ answer to be addressed by establishing a small brand’s unique selling point, and the unique motives and desires of their different target audiences.

So without expanding further on this lengthy introduction, below are notes and ideas of how I can create my better quantifiable value proposition (i.e. a better product!) –

How can I present a clear, high value, accessible, irresistible product which my TA (target audience) understands and responds to?

  • Remember to include demonstration of how easy the process is and how many benefits it will have to the customer

What is the most efficient way to create a landscape of competition in different industries so that I can pin point:

  • WHO’S WINNING locally and nationally
  • Who their closest competition is
  • And where my diverse target audience falls in this web of competitors

Firstly:

1. Assess sales landscape (including competitors, target audience and their values/ motivations/ financial statuses)

2. Establish USP (unique selling point) and unique value proposition (create the greatest value for money product)

3. Look for any weak spots in competitors marketing and value propositions, also discover TAs not catered for and create digital marketing plan example to exploit these gaps

4. Need a copy/ content strategy for effective marketing campaigns which will include lots of planning ahead and anticipating trends e.g. special days etc

5. Need to offer to create plenty of e.g. Canva graphics/ photos if they need help with visuals as am proficient graphic designer

6. Need potential clients to commit to strategy and a proper digital marketing campaign – May need to try various methods to get it right (ways to establish business in question as industry leaders etc, and with no extra charge)

7. Need to keep an eye on changing methods of competitors (plus industry news and trends) and adapt client’s multiplatform marketing accordingly

8. Keep discovering ways for client to engage with and undestand their target audiences (use customer personas, surveys etc if possible)

How do I judge who’s winning? Who’s got the most, best web space, marketing, reviews etc –

1. Identify biggest small business industries and networks online locally, and nationally (get it all documented properly and make it easily navigable)

2. Research all competition and identify who might be best prospects

3. Create and record personalised proposals

Really feel like individual copywriting products have got little to no value at all to TA, many of them need a whole load of help but none of it will work unless they’re properly committed

Draft message and/ or video script idea:

Hi X, I’m sorry for this unsolicited message, but I wanted to tell you –

I’m building my portfolio, so all my digital marketing services are free, with no strings attached.

I know that [your business name] has competition including [completion names], with [X USPs], but do you know their weaknesses include [competitor weaknesses]?

(Expand upon competitor’s weakness and how they can be infiltrated)

This leaves a gap for [your business name] to swoop in gain influence through an online marketing strategy which may include [strategy ideas to combat competitors].

If you visit my profile you’ll find a link to my website where you’ll discover my writing style –

If you’re up for challenging your competitors head on, drop me a message here or through my website, and let’s kick your competition where it hurts.

How can I change my business message/ voice to reflect this new type of product (all plans above)

Need to make this new proposal and literature into normal, non-jargon speak (and I need to prove how I will do each thing, maybe include some sample case studies)

It’s a big task and will take some time to rewrite and redesign parts of my website, as well as to create the new bits needed and of course, to research and record all the personal business messages which I want to send.

But, it is a better product, and a better value proposition, so now I’ll just get on with it shall I?

So, what are the first things I need to do to build the basis for my research?

  • Establish industries I’ll research and work out HIERARCHY of who the leaders are, who’s second (there’ll be loads), and who’s still fighting for more attention, and then who’s “at the bottom” and working hard to create a bigger impact (loads and loads)
  • Try and get as thorough image of each, successful brand as possible e.g. read trusted reviews, articles, marketing etc Try and discover weak points of everyone
  • Make research bit JAM PACKED full of reliable facts and data – start with easy preliminary searches to see who comes up top in Google results, discover all and most popular online marketplaces and apps
  • This research is a big and important step which will take a while, but it’s important – I can display this when it’s done and it’s a good resource for small businesses to discover the landscape better in case they haven’t already

Only after this step do I want to start identifying the best CANDIDATES for my services and create personalised videos

Online Business Industries:

  • Beauty and cosmetics
  • Fitness and health (including women’s health)
  • Sustainable living (including vegan)
  • Clothing/ fashion
  • Arts and crafts
  • Gifts and trinkets
  • Home and decor
  • Pets accessories
  • Kids stuff
  • Etc

So, how can I do the most, far reaching good quality research, but in the least time and as efficiently as possible?

  • Do it systematically, patiently, carefully, but don’t get hung up on one avenue as have so many to explore
  • Don’t worry about being super detailed, can add more details as I continue with updates
  • (Highlight and send out videos early and continue as I go for LoA)

Perhaps starting very simply, e.g. with spider diagrams/ hierarchies for each industry, would be one way of building a landscape quickly

And the notes continue…

Blog Index

In Search of a More Immediately Quantifiable Value Proposition

One of my first ideas was “Copywriting Packages” and I believe this option continues to be the best value for money and effort spent for my potential clients

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, considering and consolidating recently and have some big adjustments to make on my website, which will include removing (or reassigning) Small Business Excellence and replacing it with an Insight section that will serve as a new small business marketing education resource –

Something similar had of course been my intention with SBE, and I hope to be able to return to this initiative one day, but right now it has been recommended (by one of the authors whose work I’m currently reading – Dave Holloway, Wonder Leads) that providing educational and informative resources for visitors to view and gain value from is indeed part of the way forward.

I also intend to focus my efforts on providing a more immediately quantifiable value proposition, “Increase your brand influence online”, as opposed to any synonym of “boost your business” –

Because it is easy to discover the rough amount of web space (including social media and 3rd party space) which one business possesses – it is harder to track their paid online advertising but those such as Google and Facebook ads are also easily discoverable…

  • I can research the sales landscape/ industry which a particular small business is seeking to make an impact and make gains within, assess which competitors have the strongest and most effective marketing campaigns, and build a marketing strategy to cut through such competition.

When I started my business, one of my first ideas was “Copywriting Packages” and I believe this option continues to be the best value for money and effort spent for my potential clients.

But making gains and keeping gains will require clients to make a commitment to producing great marketing material and content, and for new businesses and those on low budgets, such a commitment to up to date marketing and content material may appear like an unaffordable investment, at least to begin with –

But this is why all my services are currently free (no strings), I want prospects to be able to Try Before They Buy, and this trial will consist of a significant sized digital marketing/ copywriting package: The first step towards gaining and maintaining brand authority online.

I very much need to change my Information and Services page especially in order to focus around this better quantifiable product, “Increase your brand influence online”, and personal proposals to business owners all need to be focused around this more specific value proposition too.

I have my first lot of business cards, my “keys to the county” South Yorkshire travel pass! And I have the other stationary I need to create and hand deliver personalised product offers –

It will be a slow process, but as we know, a year has already passed, and to give up on patience or not to trust the process right now would be foolish.

In the meantime, I have a pilot podcast episode to analyse and edit! I recorded it sat at Doncaster train station several days ago, and in between train station noises, wind plus turbulence, and me being unsure how close I should hold the microphone, there might be some salvageable pieces to make into a short podcast –

I certainly hope so anyway as this is another avenue I’m seeking to use to build trust (through dialogue, even if only one way…) Podcasting is another form of media creation digital creators/ small business owners are encouraged to embrace! Plus, I enjoy listening to a good podcast (usually something paranormal, but that’s besides the point) …

I’ve had the choice between concentrating on unemployment or self-employment and small business-ing for podcasting, and although focusing on building small businesses will theoretically earn me an audience closer aligned with my prospective target audience, I feel a great solidarity with the great many who are unhappily unemployed, and want to acknowledge and encourage those individuals too –

After-all, “ungainfully self-employed” and “unemployed” amount to the same thing. So, maybe I’ll just have to start two slightly different podcasts, but again, the issue of productivity, efficiency etc arise – How can I create valuable, up to date content, read relevant materials and conduct research, create pitches/ proposals, and complete a variety of other business tasks, AND stay on top of everything?

I need more voluntary experience and I need clients, so unless an activity does not positively improve my prospects of such, then I will need to reassess if it’s necessary.

There’s plenty more to say but even more to do, so –

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What Would Grant Cardone Do?

I need a new angle, a new idea, a better way to communicate my value…

“Terms of Ill-Endearment” has closed the chapter on my first attempts at gaining interest in my products –

The bottom line is that I’ve little clue how to introduce myself in a way which effectively communicates my value.

At the job centre, they tell me not to draw attention to the length of time I have been job searching: I ask them, Isn’t it better for me to acknowledge it openly, rather than attempt to hide or lie about it to a potential employer or customer?

Whichever one of us is right can be disputed, but it cannot change the fact that on paper, my years of unemployment and health problems means that I have very, very little to recommend myself with.

No matter how skilled, competent or qualified a writer I am, I still struggle to come across as inspiring or trustworthy –

I’m still a stranger. So, can I draw people’s interest in another way?

I have spoken about this before, but what if I lead my business ambitions with teaching English to foreign learners –

I only need to prove I’m a native speaker, and my copywriting can prove my strength at written language too. I may even gain work writing English language marketing material for foreign companies this way, or proofreading English marketing or documents…

Whatever I choose to do, I cannot continue along the trajectory I’m on currently on of trying to build trust with British companies in the way I am doing.

My confidence wavers every time I have to mention my current situation as a long-term unemployed person (known colloquially as a “benefits scrounger”), and I fear I may be becoming less and less convincing with every attempt at confidence.

I need a new angle, a new idea, a better way to communicate my value –

And a new audience.

Perhaps it is not scientific to seek to change so many variables at once, but the only element of my business model which is strong is my product itself.

This product needs to be presented to someone with a reason to trust me – such as a business owner abroad with a need to advertise in English.

I’ve spoken often about the law of averages/ LoA, and my need to simply speak to a lot more business owners –

But the LoA requires the basic business pitch and value propositions to be sound, and from the lack of interest in my product so far, it’s reasonable to conclude that my pitch and value proposition are not sound.

What Would Grant Cardone Do? He’d sort it out, then begin relentlessly pitching again.

So I need to Sort it out… And begin pitching and pitching some more.

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The Self-Employment Pathway

Do I sound like a scammer, offering free/ no strings support?

For my next trick, I will begin contacting local newspapers and ask if they would like to support start ups and small business owners in their area – 

A small ad here or there offering professional, digital marketing support 100% free to local businesses isn’t hugely unreasonable!

I had an interesting exchange with a Facebook user in the early hours of this morning after I had introduced myself and offered to support a fellow start up with free marketing support – he accused me of being fake, a charlatan and a scammer. He also said that copywriters don’t have “insurance” and that he works in marketing so he knows

Well, I knew immediately, of course, that this man was ignorant, and an internet troll (he had continued on to insult another user’s web design ability and to question their legitimacy), BUT it made me think just a little… 

Do I sound like a scammer, offering free/ no strings support? Perhaps I should instead stress that I am new and eager to build my portfolio THEREFORE I’m offering free support? I do say this sometimes, but not every time…

An advisor at the job centre scheme I attend said I should stress my need to build upon my portfolio. She also said (and after much build up from another advisor that she would surely be able to help), that she couldn’t be my advisor as yet because I’m not currently gaining clients.

This is after the self-employment advisor at the job centre said similar – they won’t help me until I’m earning. 

This was after regular advisors at both places had told me so many times that their in-house “self employment expert” would be able to advise me.

This is the help those on “self-employment” pathways receive where I live. Perhaps it is just me – perhaps every other person who has been allowed to follow a self-employment pathway has become gainfully self-employed quite easily by themselves, and without any prior business experience.

I won’t further discuss the gnawing sadness I felt at this second and final refusal of help. It does nothing for my eternally diminished sense of ego – yes, this is me with a diminished ego!

Perhaps you think I’m neglecting to share some part of the story? That they would agree to help if I wasn’t so…? 

I hope you can accept the answer is simply, “If I wasn’t so hopeless” –

But owning a business is SO NEW to me… And before I can receive advice from either the job centre or their associated schemes, I have to make it work alone.

But maybe that’s as it should be. They will have no part to claim in my success because they will never have aided me.

I will endeavour not to be made spiteful by such things, but again, it is a sense of humiliation. Also, however, it is a loss for other start ups who could benefit from my skills as a digital marketer – I speak, of course, in reference to my offer to support others on the self employment pathway with free digital marketing consultancy and assistance.

So, I’ll get on with the offers I want to make to those local papers and publications. And I will consider how not to sound like a scammer…

I am also considering how to begin a YouTube channel and use it to include presentations of the possibilities available with great copy – a channel I can refer potential clients to and also include as an extra resource on my website.

It’s pointless having a dedication to the “law of averages” when I don’t have the best version of my value proposition to share with those I am contacting – it’s also pointless spending forever considering this value proposition because I needed it done yesterday. So many yesterdays since.

But, again, this is my impatience. And I need to get on with the best, short scripts I can, along with the Canva presentations I’ll need to use for video.

Still a long road yet, but at least it’s an open road!

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Break Through the Babel of Your Competitors

The goal isn’t simply to gain a purchase from a customer, but to gain and KEEP their loyalty

My target audience is compromised of individuals with small businesses trading online. These businesses include independent fashion brands, sustainable brands, artists and crafts persons.

Key to understanding the motives of my customers will be studying their industries, competitors and other related products available to them, such as those also focused on building small business influence and success –

These alternative products (including but not limited to other copywriters) are my competition, and whichever one of us presents the best value proposition will win business from small business owners searching the market.

I will focus my initial efforts on researching and thoroughly understanding three of the main online industries, which I’ve already listed above: Small fashion brands, sustainable brands, and art and crafts work.

When I began to build my own business, much of my initial research gleamed much the same in way of motivations, limitations and aspirations for my target audience as for myself:

  • To gain a wider online influence
  • To stand out from my competitors
  • To increase my market share
  • To become a leader in my industry

But each industry has its own additional factors and nuances, and to cater properly to my target audiences, I must commit to discovering them all.

Much more research is therefore vital for any MASSIVE, and effective action to take place – my value proposition has to be both prolific and strongly relevant.

Every brand requires an authentic BRAND VOICE in order to be heard amongst the babel of their competitors –

And if your brand STANDS FOR SOMETHING which RESONANTES with your target audience such as:

  • Good quality fashion produced by UK designers (for fashion lovers wanting to support local brands)
  • Eco-friendly products sourced fairly from suppliers and which respect the Earth and all its inhabitants (for the ethically conscious)
  • Locally produced artwork and crafts work (for supporters of artistic creators and lovers of unique, beautiful things)

Then proclaim your brand’s MISSION from the metaphorical rafters!

Business is EARNED through:

  • FANTASTIC SALES SPACES (such as online shops featuring excellent user experience)
  • SHARP, CUSTOMER-FOCUSED MARKETING (jam-packed full of value, benefits, and in a LANGUAGE your customers can respond to, across a variety of popular SOCIAL PLATFORMS)
  • VALUE PROPOSITIONS which beat those of your competitors (give them what they want, and do it better than anyone else!)

There is (DIY free or paid) customer demographic and psychographic data to discover and assess (in order to further understand your customers means and motivations) by means of research through forums or surveys, and there are particulars such as BRAND TONE and CONTENT VIBE to scrutinise and improve.

Those on ALL BUDGETS must be creative and INNOVATIVE in dealing with the frequent challenges which occur with ever evolving INDUSTRY TRENDS and CUSTOMER TASTES –

And of course, the GOAL isn’t simply to gain a purchase from a customer, but to GAIN and KEEP THEIR LOYALTY and build your brand through ORGANIC MEANS such as WORD OF MOUTH.

It’s a lot to consider for start ups, including my own. And only massive, positive ACTION will see these challenges CONQUERED –

 Action and patience.  

Pressure and time. That and a big goddam poster.

Red

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Ineffective Marketing Material Used Too Infrequently

FATE would have it that the least qualified person in the world’s BEST chance at reasonable employment is to sell words.

Yesterday was an interesting day for critical self-appraisal and for sampling Ben and Jerry’s Banoffee ice-cream (which was also interesting) –

The truth is, my qualification in copywriting means almost nothing. It means a great deal to me, as I learned a great deal studying copywriting, and I earned my certification. 

But in the real world of customers and sales, new copywriters may frequently be bought by means of who they know, not what they know. And with a long history of unemployment and introversion, as I have already shared – I have no network, and no professional network.

My attempts at networking and seeking both voluntary and paid work have been choppy, and this can be blamed on a few things:

  • I’ve never set up a business before and have had some great advice but mostly I’ve had to wing it 
  • My value proposition is obviously all over the place (lack of confidence, experience, connections, business knowledge – I can’t really pin point one reason for this humongous problem)

And most importantly:

  • I haven’t sought to rectify the “Its not what you know, its who you know” problem with MASSIVE action (as Grant Cardone would have insisted)

But like I said, I hadn’t realised the extent of this failure until just recently.

“In times of economic decline [or just super hard times] MASSIVE ACTION is needed”

I’ve spent A LOT of time just trying to sort out this website (I had designed a whole other website which was trash so had to start again from scratch) –

And still, there’s plenty to fix on this, my online home. And on my similarly, semi-constructed social media.

BUT those aren’t the real issues! The #1 issue is my NETWORK –

Its my lack of network which is ensuring my lack of prosperity:

I’ve failed to apply the law of averages appropriately with a strong value proposition – I’ve used ineffective marketing material and I’ve used it too infrequently.

Last night, I started firing out audio messages on Instagram – something I completely forgot was possible. It’s quick but you only have one chance to say what you have to say, and if like me you are good at mumbling and getting words wrong when speaking, you can end up sending an audio message with at least one error in it. I think half my messages included me messing up my words a little even when I was reading them. 

So perhaps this isn’t the most effective way to communicate either, BUT, it is more personal than sending a written message,  and it is a lot quicker than recording and sharing many video messages –

But still I know that video messages, introductions and presentations are deemed the most effective, second only to face-to-face meetings.

On RuPaul’s Drag Race, contestants are tested on a variety of skills including choreography, stand up comedy, singing and acting. I’m yet to see any contestant conquer them all, although there are many excellent, highly skilled individuals who may just have one weakness –

My main strength is my copywriting. Everything else is a huge challenge, ESPECIALLY networking. The one thing I need to do well.

Imposter syndrome came yesterday and told me that because of this, I was, in fact, the LEAST qualified person on the planet to be a copywriter.

How inconvenient it is, therefore, for peace on Earth that Ruth Klempner DARE bring chaos by means of farfetched schemes and BLATANT overambitiousness?

It is the hand of fate. 

FATE would have it that the least qualified person in the world’s BEST chance at reasonable employment is to sell words.

I responded in various ways to this scary conclusion, but none of them have included throwing in the towel.

I know exactly what I’ve done wrong and why after almost a year, my business has still not started.

Its not that I can’t do it, its that no one knows me enough to trust or vouch for me. And how many times have I already admitted to that in this blog!

SO – MASSIVE ACTION IS NEEDED!

I need to pull on my best and brightest personalised messaging and marketing pants (with matching hat of course) and with a Value Proposition which makes irresistible sense and which works, I need to find my clients…

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated

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Voluntary Copywriter Proposal to Job Centres in Sheffield

Be unreasonable.

Grant Cardone

The following is the voluntary copywriter proposal I put to Job Centres in Sheffield via a direct message to my work coach (who is my only contact at the job centre).

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And honestly, it is a good deal for everyone – so hopefully whoever makes decisions will think so too.

Or is this more mad optimism? Possibly – but more claimants (customers) becoming financially independent is good for job centre employee targets. 

I’m offering a valuable service – for free – to others just like me! And I’d be delighted to be able to help other new, low-budget, small business owners –

I’ve been planning what manner of  voluntary proposals to also make in my intro videos. Its difficult because many organisations simply do not understand the value of a voluntary copywriter, and that is my fault.

Employees or other volunteers charged with creating words for web e.g. website content, social media and blog posts are able to continue with effectively or not these tasks. And a new person coming out of nowhere offering to do it for free may seem like a waste of effort to organise –

I spoke about value propositions in my last blog post, and that is what I need to consider now.

I really need to build trust and goodwill, and I started doing this in September last year for Striver.online. I need to make unique offers which accurately communicate my value to a business or other organisation –

I should think about who I mostly want to work with and for, and show my enthusiasm and understanding of their aims and objectives, and exactly what I can do to help them achieve them.

I’ve looked up e.g. “LGBT Sheffield” many times but Sheffield certainly isn’t known for its thriving gay scene… I contacted one (of the few) organisations representing and hosting many LGBTQ+ individuals and events and asked if they had any start ups or entrepreneurs in their organisation who could benefit from free digital marketing. My message, however, went unacknowledged. Perhaps I will send them a video message…

I already contacted a large homelessness charity who after some Zooms and discussion then agreed to take me on as a marketing volunteer – perhaps about 9 months ago and are yet to give me any work.

But this is also my fault – I haven’t been contacting enough businesses or organisations, I’ve been building my website and blog, and writing to businesses instead of meeting or video messaging them.

I want to help the working class and the underrepresented groups, and have not found much joy, but I need to try harder –

I want to write for the new business owners on the self-employment pathways at job centres (in South Yorkshire and beyond) to help them grow and prosper, and I have given my proposal. It is now in the hands of whoever decides things at the job centre.

I want to write for small and independent business owners to help their business fulfil their great potential! And I will –

Life and work is snakes and ladders  – but we’re all still in the game!

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