Monday, July 23, 2007

That communication thing

This week I've been reminded quite a bit about the importance of communication - not only in business, but in life. So much has been going on at the zen kitchen lately, including a move to Watertown from my 2-year home of Somerville - well - Sunday, that I've run into a number of random communication issues lately, mostly in terms of expectation-setting. What can my clients expect from me? What do I expect from my clients? How can I continue to stay on top of client work and marketing while dealing with some personal drama (which will go unexplored here), planning a move, staying on top of my marketing, and finishing up the last Harry Potter book - which, by the way, is AMAZING?

Right now, I'm not sure quite what the answer is to that question - but it involves sending a lot of e-mail, and setting clear boundaries with friends and clients in terms of when I can be where, and where I can't be/what I can't do. It also involves a great deal of self-reflection and brutal honesty with myself. I'm a people-pleaser by nature, so when someone comes to me with something I can do that will please them, my auto-reaction is to say "yes, sure" and TRY to fit it in, even when I know I can't. The last few weeks have seen some of the first times in my life that I've been able to listen to someone's idea, honestly evaluate it, and say "thank you, but I don't think I'll have time," or "thank you, but I won't be able to fit that into my schedule."

And the best part? The earth didn't fall down. Imagine that!

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's my birthday!

Okay, so - between the fact that I'm moving and other *ahem* stuff going on in the universe of me, I haven't had a chance to post much of late. But I did want to pop in and announce that it is my birthday, and as such, I am taking a short amount of much-needed time off, most of which will be spent reading a certain work of fiction that should reach my doorstep - well - sometime tomorrow.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, July 09, 2007

The power of keeping in touch

So, recently, I got into a very unfortunate and stressful situation that forced me to rethink the way that I do my contracts. In almost 2 years of being in business, I've never had a lawyer (I used LegalZoom to set up the zen kitchen back in January of last year, and haven't really determined what kind of legal needs I'd have; I also had a lawyer ex-boyfriend of mine approve my original contract), and now I needed one - and fairly quickly - because what should have been a fairly straightforward situation turned nasty quicker than I wanted it to.

Enter Jessica Manganello of Exemplar Law in Boston. I met her at a networking event back in Marchish and we kept in touch over the months afterwards. She's been very thoughtful about sending me articles and info about things she knows I'm interested in (I've even blogged about some of the sites she's pointed me to), and when I realized that I needed help with the stuff I'll be dealing with, she was the first person I thought of. We're meeting for lunch tomorrow.

This is the power of keeping in touch - not just on the monthly newsletter level, but on the occasional "just thought of you" level that so many marketers tend to forget about. It's a more personal - and dare I say, feminine - way of marketing, and some folks do it phenomenally well, while others - well? Yeah.

So here's an idea. When you meet someone at an event - Chamber, Women's Business, whatever - find out a bit about them and make a note of it on the back of their card. Put it in your contact management software. Then, if you happen across something that might be interesting to them, pop them a quick e-mail. It's quick, dirt cheap, and can grant you the helpful, thoughtful image that might just get you the sale. Not that hard, is it?