Client Spotlight: Pressure Ball

Like a lot of people, Barry Mulder, was frustrated by a problem. Unlike a lot of people he decided to do something about it and invented PressureBall.

Firstly some more about Barry

After working for 25 years in film development for a food packaging manufacturer Barry has gone out on his own to develop some Ideas that he has had for a while .The first is the tennis ball tube (which sells around the world) and he is now finalizing a new concept in very lightweight ride on golf cart/mobility scooter. It’s taken 2 years but the end result will be pretty good. It flips up onto a car towbar like a bike rack. Continue reading Client Spotlight: Pressure Ball

Client Spotlight: Brian Cormack Carr

Brian Cormack Carr is a busy man, he runs three websites! I asked him about all his sites.

What are your site’s about?

Vital VocationMy website www.vitalvocation.com was originally a membership site through which I delivered a modular coaching program.  That was quite high maintenance for me (any time it went wrong, I had to work fast to get it back up and running for the members) so I began to think about looking for a different approach to fit in with my wider work commitments.  Some participants commented that the material would work well as a book and since I love writing, I decided to repurpose the modules into book format. Continue reading Client Spotlight: Brian Cormack Carr

Client Spotlight: Quantum Business Training

Michele Tocci is a presenter, trainer, coach, author and NLP practitioner. Michele’s vision is to impact and transform individuals to be exceptional and live the life of their dreams. Her mission is to create transformational change in others. She runs Quantum Business Training, and I asked her a few questions about her site.

What it is Quantum Business Training all about?

The blog is designed for business owners and provides articles so that business owners can improve their business. The articles are thought provoking and address areas for improvement. Areas covered include:

quantum-business-training

> Business development
> Business planning
> Business customer service
> Business marketing
> Business sales
> Business growth
> Business training

What does your website provide?

Initially the blog is providing a complimentary e-book on how business owners can improve their productivity. Eventually it will have a number of e-books related to improving business results. Then e-courses and programs that will educate the business owner that is great at their specialty but is aware that they can improve their business skills.

What readers/customers are you targeting?

My target reader and customer are business owners that are excellent at their trade such as plumber, hairdresser, beauty therapist, electrician, draftsman, etc. Business owners who have trained and developed a skill then set up their own business but haven’t undertaken any education to develop business skills and know that this is an area that they need to increase their knowledge in.

Why did you set your business up?

I owned a business that was excellent yet I lacked business skills to maximize my income so I invested heavily in my own personal development of business skills and it has turned my business around. I then realized there are many business owners who are the same as me. My first business is about time management, business systems and productivity and I find that when I am talking and working with business owners one of the greatest problems is business owners don’t spend and invest time in working on their business as they are so busy working in their business.

Another key message that I wish to spread to business owners is about adding massive value to their clients, the more you take care of others the more it comes back to you. Move your focus from money to value to the client and the income will take care of itself.

Anything else you would like to add?

I am still working through the income blogging guide program with my site. I have received so much value from your site and it has made such a massive difference to my understand.

Take a look at all Michele offers at Quantum Business Training.

Client Spotlight: Addiction Focus

Addictions Focus is a website for Addictions UK who provide a home-based addiction treatment programme that offers a valid alternative for addicts whose circumstances don’t allow for residential treatment, or who are concerned about anonymity. They’re a social enterprise organisation, which is similar to a non-profit.

Addictions UK have developed a treatment programme which offers immediate help to anyone with an addiction or dependency problem. The unique one-to-one programme is tailored to the individual, offers complete anonymity and an immediate start. Addictions UK seeks to offer treatment which is effective, affordable and confidential.

Addiction problems related to the Internet is a huge and growing problem. Simon Stephens, Director of Casework for Addictions UK says:

We’re often asked what makes Addictions UK different to other treatment programmes.

Most of all the biggest difference is the flexibility that we can offer you. We don’t ask you to stay in a residential treatment centre for months on end.

Instead, we encourage you to be part of everyday society, but we do ask that you can spend at least half an hour with us over the telephone, or perhaps through a computer, to work on a therapeutic programme of recovery.

While for many people residential treatment can be very beneficial, we often find that when clients come away from their rehab, that they are faced with the problems with no support to get them get through their daily lives.

We like to work with you on a daily basis, with helplines, and with daily talk sessions, that allow you to cope with the day’s problems, as they come up.

OK, everybody asks how much does this cost. One of the unique advantages of Addictions UK, is the low costs involved….

You can read more on their website and why not check them out and “Like” them on Facebook?

Client Spotlight: I Am Not Making This Up

Erla Zwingle writes about her life in Venice, Italy on her blog “I am Not Making This Up“. It’s been running since April 2009 and there are hundreds of articles on everything you could want to know about Venice, good and bad!

My blog is about what I call “real Venice” — not the postcard, touristic, guidebook viewpoint of the famous city (though I’ve also written a guidebook) but the everyday life of what is an amazing, surprising, frustrating small town.
I Am Not Making This Up

I focus on two primary aspects: What it’s like for me to live here, things I do, people I know, etc, and what’s like for the few remaining Venetians who live here. It’s a struggle for everybody but there are many compensations.

In other words, the blog is my response to the question people often ask me: “What’s it like to live in Venice?” Often followed by “I really envy you,” “It must be amazing,” “I wish I could live here,” and so on. To which I apply a blast of reality, for better or worse.

I have two main types of readers: People who have been to Venice, sometimes many times, and who want to know the city better, and those who haven’t been to Venice but would like to imagine they have. In any case, my reader is someone who has some context — either through lots of travel, or interest in history, or interest in curious places and things — for the viewpoint I give on the city.

I have been fascinated, since the first time I came here as a tourist in 1985, by the world “behind the curtain,” so to speak. Everyone who comes here inevitably remarks that the city seems like a stage set, but I prefer the life backstage.

I wasn’t able to satisfy this curiosity as a tourist, but things changed when I came here as a journalist in 1994 on assignment for National Geographic to write about exactly the city that I wanted to know (“Venice: More than a Dream,” National Geographic, February 1995). Unexpectedly, I fell in love and married a Venetian and have been here ever since.

I started writing the blog because I got fed up with the endlessly repetitive stereotypes and outright misinformation that is written about the city. It’s unbelievable how many wrong ideas people who don’t live here manage to accumulate about Venice and how few ways they have to correct those ideas (assuming they care).
I Am Not Making This Up
My blog is my way to address that imbalance between truth and myth. It’s pretty much a personal crusade, though I suppose if somebody wants to imagine a mythical Venice that exists only in fantasy, there’s nothing wrong with that. What I am combatting are the published statements which range from moderately incorrect to completely fabricated.

I named my blog “iamnotmakingthisup” to reinforce the fact that whatever I write is verifiably true, because many, many things that happen here seem impossible, though true, and many things which are written about the city are also impossible and untrue.

I am an American, a professional journalist and have written for publication for more than 30 years; among my best articles are the 20 or so stories I’ve written for National Geographic magazine (where I also spent four years as a full-time editor).

Because my work has taken me to so many different places I’m sometimes characterized as a travel writer, but that isn’t quite right. My few attempts to write for travel magazines have been disasters (I suppose because I’m not inclined to tell people how to travel, where to stay, or what to eat).

What I do is write about subjects that require me to be in some foreign place that happens to be the location of some other event or problem, but not as a place to go to on vacation. Though if you feel like going to Lagos, Nigeria on vacation, go right ahead.

Being a complete imbecile where computers are concerned, undertaking the blog was a big step forward into unknown territory, and you (and Andrew) have been my life-savers. Your intelligence, knowledge, kindness, and patience have kept me going in assorted difficult moments and I have come to depend on you both for quick answers and good sense.

I can’t say we’ve worked together on anything in particular, I’ve just thrown you urgent questions which you have answered with fantastic skill.

Thanks Erla! If you want to be featured in a client spotlight, please simply contact me.

Client Spotlight: For God’s Glory

John Ferranti is another long time client of mine, he runs For God’s Glory Ministries which is “is a dynamic and fruitful ministry, with a prophetic edge.”

For God's Glory Ministries

I am called by Jesus Christ to bring reformation to the church world wide. The word reform means “to improve by the REMOVAL of faults.” The Lord is revealing truths to me in this hour that have been suppressed by religion, tradition, doctrines of men, and men’s opinions. I am removing the faulty mind sets, by teaching the Word of God, through the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

This ministry is looking to impact every believer no matter how long they have been walking with the Lord. The web site offers FREE resources to mature every believer, so they can be more effective for building God’s kingdom.

The web site was established to not only help those that we meet personally, but also those that are looking for more from around the world. Because this ministry is building an army for the Lord Jesus Christ.

His site is a partial conversion from a static website to WordPress, so now it is mostly editable by themselves and they don’t have to rely on (and pay!) a tech person to update their website for them.

You can see the services I offer here and I do many website to WordPress Content Management site conversions.

Client Spotlight: Find Things To Do In Quirky San Francisco

Randy Schroeder is a long time client of mine who runs a few websites, including Quirky San Francisco.

Quirky San Francisco

My purpose is to help people find things to do in San Francisco that are not the same old thing. There’s so much to do here, other than Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz.

It’s so odd to go to those tourist areas and see hoards of people buying cheap souvenirs they’re just forget about 5 minutes after they get home. They miss the best things this area has to offer and I like helping to point them out.

Randy has a couple of great eBooks too. A free one called “Best 10 FREE Things to do in San Francisco” is available by signing up for his newsletter on the right hand side of his site.

His other eBook is for sale, called Bike The Golden Gate, it’s a unique step-by-step bicycle adventure that guides you from downtown San Francisco, along the bay, across the Golden Gate Bridge, down into Sausalito and a relaxing ferry ride back to San Francisco.

Quirky San Francisco has lots of posts about things to do in SF, whether for free or paid and places for great photo opportunities. His resources list even includes a music playlist to enjoy on your trip!

He also has nice things to say about me:

Joel has been the one person I can count on to keep my site working correctly. He’s amazing – responsible, easy to work with, responsive, fast, smart and affordable. What more could I ask for?

Thanks Randy! If you live or are planning a trip to San Francisco, be sure to check out Quirky San Francisco.

Client Spotlight: Saving Money with More With Less Today

Lori started her frugal blog called More With Less Today in January 2009 to help fill the void of the “empty-nest”. I’ll let Lori take up the story:

I have always been a bargain shopper, a coupon user, and hated to pay full price for anything. Back in the day was everyone was living large, my friends used to mock me and call me a cheapskate. Now they ask me for advice!
More With Less Today
I had so many sources to share but did not have any technical knowledge at all. I began following Yaro Starak’s site www.entreprenuers-journey.com to try and learn how to put a blog together. I quickly learned that I didn’t know enough to succeed and I just wanted to blog. I didn’t really care about how to set up a blog.

I emailed Yaro and asked him to refer me to someone who could help me and he put me in touch with Joel. That was almost 3 years ago and I still use Joel almost monthly. He has patiently helped me with with revisions and redesigns to my site as I learn more about what works and what I want my site to look like.

That leaves me free to grow my site and I now have over 50,000 new readers each month. I just added two categories that I am excited to share with my readers. The first is a grocery coupon database where you can type in the brand name of a product, for example “Yoplait” and be directed to all the Yoplait coupons available today. The database will tell you where to find them if they are in a Sunday newspaper supplement or magazine, or if they are printable, you can print them right from my blog.

The second category is called “Today’s Good Deed” which highlights easy and inexpensive ways to bless and help others with our surplus and also features companies doing good things so we can support them with our dollars. For example, with Yoplait, you can enter codes from pink container lids and 10 cents from every lid code will go directly to Breast Cancer Research.

I hope you will stop by for a visit. I want to help busy people save more money on the things they need so that they have more money for the people they love!

Thank you Joel for your continued support. I could not have done this without you!

I wouldn’t be here without clients like you too Lori! Thanks for sharing your story. Lori’s site has great money saving tips and constantly updated coupons, so take a look.

The Art of Terrible Customer Service

Last week I experienced the worst customer service I think I have ever had. It was worse as I received it from a source I trusted and didn’t expect it from. I’m not the perfect client and never claim to be. I have high standards of myself and expect the same of other people and companies.

I won’t name the company as it would be unfair to them and they of course have their side of the story, but essentially it boils down to this:

Blaming your customer for your mistakes is not the solution

Question Mark
A number of remarkable statements were given to me. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been as angry or bemused:

– I was told the developer used was not suited to the particular task. However I hired the company, not the developer, for that task.

– I was told I was not spending enough money with them. However they never responded to three quote requests.

– I was told other clients didn’t “blink” when spending large amounts. I’m sorry but you can’t have a blank check/cheque and just get back to me when you’re done. I’ll happily “blink” all day long.

– I was told that breaking working parts of software was “an inherent risk in software development” and therefore I should have to pay for it to be fixed. Even if they broke it. Incidentally if you wanted, you could make a great business model around breaking things and charging to fix them apparently.

So, as if you needed reminding, here are some things I never do:

  • Belittle a customer because they don’t have a huge budget. I only have a one hour minimum.
  • Wait a few weeks before responding to an email. I try to respond within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays of course.
  • Hide from making a mistake and avoid rectifying it unless paid for. If any occur, I will fix a new problem that appears because of my work, for no charge. After all, I caused it.
  • Charge you for work completed when you’re not satisfied. I will do everything I can to make it right.

Of course I’m not perfect. I try to be, but I’m not. Maybe this other company will stay in business longer and be more successful than me. But doing the right thing is more important than that to me.

If you want a quick, brilliant, read, then How Doing Less Work for More Money Saved Client Work… by Josh Blankenship is great. Sample quotes:

When clients were frustrating to work with despite my best efforts on my best days, hey, I picked them, right? I chose to enter into a business relationship with that client. In short, I was never a victim of anyone other than myself. And my clients paid for it.

and

I Over-Communicate Over-Communication

Every client is different, but in general I want clients to want me to stop bothering them. I’d much rather be the annoying one than the one they can’t get in touch with for a week.

So it’s time to dust-off, get back up and find another PHP developer. If you know any great ones, please let me know below or via my contact form.

Top 3 Things I've Learned From Over 200 Clients

Having a service based business is hard work but very rewarding. I reached 100 clients in December last year, and this year I’ve had many periods of not accepting new clients, and currently only accept referral clients.

It was to my surprise then when I noticed I had gone over 200 clients. New client building has never been my aim, I am fortunate to have long term relationships with many clients that are over a year long. However it’s pretty exciting to hit the 200 client milestone, and thought I would share three of the many, many things I have learned (and am still learning):

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  1. Everyone is a beginner sometime – No matter how many times you’ve done something, there was always a first time. This may be the client’s first time, so remember how it felt.
  2. Honesty goes further than promises – If you can’t do something or don’t know how, it’s more advantageous to say so than say you can do it and do a half-assed job of it.
  3. This client is number one – No matter who else calls or has work waiting, the current client work is the number one priority. It often doesn’t make financial sense to do it this way, but it makes moral sense to me!

So a huge thank you to the 200+ clients who have helped build my business to what it is today. I’m always happy to help.