Angie Colee Unconventional Marketing Advice Fri, 09 Oct 2020 17:06:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Angie Colee 32 32 breaking it down: how I keep things stupidly simple Fri, 09 Oct 2020 17:06:47 +0000 I have a confession to make: I get easily overwhelmed.

If you haven’t met me, hi my name is Angie and this is awkward.

If you know me, you’re probably looking at your computer a little like this: 

Especially since hi, I specialize in really complex marketing plans involving multiple channels of communication, upwards of half a dozen different audiences, and 200+ page documents full of JUST email sequences.

Like, when someone says “campaign” or “launch”, do you have a mental checklist of all the deliverables?

(Just me? I’m the weird one? OK then.)

I remember my first campaign. I’d just signed on to my first full-time corporate copywriter role – the first the company had ever hired in 80 years to that point. And I was coming onboard just as they were starting to plan what “spring” would look like in their chain of 80+ retail stores. 

You know, signs, slogans, commercials, emails, website design refresh, catalogs… a full CAMPAIGN that would last for months.

And in my very first creative team meeting, the Creative Director (CD) looks at me and says… “all great concepts start with copy. What do you have?”

Deer-in-headlights Angie: “uhh… since I’m the newest person on the team I kinda figured I’d be watching how the team does it this time around?”

CD: “c’mon, dive right in. What do you have?”

Me, not even knowing yet what a “campaign” means: “umm… spring. Green? Life. Beginning? New? Plants, definitely…”

And I ramble-ranted my way through until we had a few semi-solid ideas, which I took home to noodle. And by noodle, I mean obsessively write about 10 pages and cut it down into 1 page explaining my concept.

The next day I nervously trudged to the follow-up creative team meeting, convinced this was the day they found out I was a fraud. I still had a million ideas running through my head, all of which were DEFINITELY better than the one I was holding in my hand on that one-pager. 

The moment of truth arrived – I made my pitch, explained the concept. It turns out I’d landed on a combination of words that I thought represented spring (can’t remember what they were to this day, for the life of me). 

Me: “so incidentally, I came up with three ‘B’ words – not THAT kind of B word… [insert words I can’t remember here], and to me they represent spring because…”

CD: “yes, the B word”

Me: “uhhh… what?”

CD (who was a very zen type and I adored him): “the B word. B. Bzzz.” He then pretended his pen was a bee buzzing around the room – hilarious for a ridiculously tall Nigerian man.

And that’s how my very first campaign, “Be Spring” (with a little bee icon in place of the word “be”) came to, well… be. 

What does that have to do with complex campaigns and overwhelm?

That one decision was the “trigger” decision. Once it was made, we could check it off the list and shift our focus from concept development to execution. We had the language, the concept, the colors, the fonts. We knew how we wanted people to feel when they saw this work on signs in the stores, or when they heard our TV/radio ads.

Now we needed to translate that into to-dos. Spring catalog, 10 new in-store ads per week, 4 new radio ads per month, 6 new TV spots, YouTube tutorials, blog posts, 4 new emails per week, the weekly circular ad, social posts, etc…

From there we could evaluate what needed to happen first (catalog and in-store print signage – most resource intensive between photos and writing and design, plus a hard print deadline), what could be pushed back (developing email campaigns for later in the spring), and what could be tackled week by week.

From there, different pieces could go into different stages of development by different teammates – signs would go to designers because they didn’t have many words. Catalogs and commercials would come to me because they needed words to communicate the concept.

And that’s how in about 5 weeks, I produced (with the help of an amazing team) a full 4-month spring campaign despite not having experience in almost ANY of that stuff. 

There’s an order to things when you’re working on something that big and complex. The key is being able to figure out the non-negotiable decisions that have to be made up-front, and what can be developed later on in the timeline.

Because no matter how hard you try, you’re never going to be able to create an entire campaign all at once. This is months of work to do a complicated omni-channel campaign, even for super experienced pros. 

Decide what you want to communicate/what the overall message + goal is of this campaign is.

Figure out what assets you need to get that message out into the world (emails? TV commercials? Catalogs? Something else?).

Figure out which of those assets need to start work immediately/require more resources, and which can be batched out for later.

Get to work.

That’s how I learned to go from completely overwhelmed, deer-in-the-headlights wondering how the hell I was ever going to write a whole 4-month campaign… to actually doing it.

And now I use this same flow to help plan every campaign I work on:

What’s the big thing I’m communicating?

What’s the timeline?

Who am I talking to?

How am I contacting them? (what channel)

What one message do they need to take away from that contact?

Break it down, and before you know it you’ve got a whole campaign.


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rejection is part of the process Fri, 02 Oct 2020 16:44:26 +0000 “Another one for the hook…”

I’m paraphrasing the punch line of a great story told by Stephen King in his book, On Writing.

Back in the day, he’d work his day job and submit stories and book ideas on the side.

And he’d get letter after letter back – no.

So he hung a hook on the wall. And every time he got a “no”, it went up on the hook.

He figured if he collected enough “no” letters, eventually one would be a “yes”.

I really dig that reframe.

How many NOs do I need?

If I haven’t got a YES yet, sounds like I need to add a few more NOs to the hook.

In other words, keep trying. Get better with every rejection. Don’t fear rejection – embrace it, use it as your secret self-improvement weapon. Take the advice that helps you, ignore the snark and the shitty criticism.

And go get those NOs.

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perception is everything Fri, 18 Sep 2020 19:47:14 +0000 “I just don’t think it’s smart to put fertilizer on the front cover when we’re in the middle of a drought!” I said, frustrated.

I was getting pretty close to losing my temper at that point. There were about 10 of us crammed together in a conference room – all the company’s VPs, the merchandisers from the plumbing and garden departments, my creative director (CD), and finally… lowly Angie the copywriter from the marketing department.

I was there because at that point, California had been in a prolonged drought – 4 years to be exact. And I’d recently brought up to my CD that there was a good chance our people were seeing us as completely out of touch… we were continuing to push lawn mowers and “more efficient” sprinklers in a time when the government was literally incentivizing people to rip up their lawns. 

“Fertilizer ALWAYS gets the front cover this time of year – it’s our biggest business driver. You’re asking me to take it off and I don’t think you understand that you are literally KILLING my business,” yelled the garden merchandiser.

“Don’t you have sand? Gravel? Pavers? Aren’t there other things we could be promoting right now to help folks conserve water? Yeah, I get that this fertilizer qualifies as a “smart water” fertilizer… but it still requires watering to work well. And that’s kinda my point… can we advertise things that DON’T require water? Can we show our customers we see their struggle and have the solution?” I pleaded.

I didn’t win that battle, unfortunately – the fertilizer was added to the front cover. But I did manage to start a “smart water” initiative at the company that changed how we chose things to promote for the rest of the spring and into the summer.  

Perception is everything.

That’s important, so I’ll say it again…

Perception is everything.

It means as a business owner or a marketer – you not only need to think about your own goals and targets… you also need to take off your business hat from time to time and ask yourself, “does this make as much sense for the customer as it does for me?”

Because if you make choices with the customer in mind, then the message they see from you makes sense (and they may even be tempted to come buy from you). 

But if you make choices based solely on what YOU need – then the customer will perceive you as out of touch at best, or a greedy, money grubbing company at worst.

Your choices inform your actions. 

Your actions attract your people. 

But it’s consistency that KEEPS your people.

Resist the urge to fall back on “what worked last year” without first looking at it with a critical eye.

If circumstances are similar and using the same strategy makes sense for everyone, stakeholder and customer alike, by all means use that strategy again. I’m a big fan of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

But don’t just blindly repurpose things. Adding 10% to last year’s sales forecast and going through all the motions without analyzing the “how” may mean you suddenly have to sell a hell of a lot of lawn mowers to people who no longer have grass.

Perception is everything.

If your customers perceive you to be more focused on sales than their outcomes – they’ll eventually leave you.

If your customers perceive you to be offering regular sales, they’ll just wait for the next one vs ever paying full price again.

VALUE is what drives a long-lasting relationship between a business and its customers.

And value comes from giving a damn about people, from finding ways to help them solve their problems, and from being a trusted resource… whether you’re a consultant, a retailer, or the shop owner down the street.

Resist the urge to chase dollars. 

There will always be opportunities to make more. 

But changing your people’s perception after you made a self-interested choice? That’s not gonna be easy.

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can’t find the friggin’ spoons Fri, 11 Sep 2020 21:36:14 +0000 In my house, we have a game.

I call it, “Where will I find X today?”

X could be a spoon, a dish towel, a spare roll of TP, maybe a light bulb.

No matter where it is, it will definitely NOT be in the last place I saw it.

And I am actually neither the creator of this game, nor am I a willing participant. 

It was created by my boyfriend Andrew, who’s an engineer. And I don’t know if this is true of all engineers, but it’s certainly true of MY engineer…

He’s always looking for a better way to do things.

“Slightly more efficient” is the name of his game.

And the game is afoot x10 now that we’ve both been working from home for the better part of six months.

Usually it starts when I’ve convinced myself making dinner is a thing I should do. 

(In my defense, nobody told me adulthood would essentially be asking your partner what they want to eat every day until one of you dies… and then you still gotta actually MAKE the food. If it were up to me, the answer would be pizza. All day, every day.)

The conversation goes something like:

ME: hey babe, where is the pizza cutter?

HIM: oh, right. I moved that to the drawer over by the fridge because we keep the pot holders in there and it’s one less step for you when the pizza is done.

ME: k… but I just took like 20 steps trying to find the thing so on balance maybe things don’t need to move every time you clean…

And then we both laugh because we both know he’ll move something else tomorrow as part of his neverending quest for White Claw and Order.

And I’ll be temporarily annoyed/unable to stop rolling my eyes when I discover THE SPOONS AREN’T WHERE I LEFT THEM?!

I’ve noticed a similar trend in business…

There are some folks (like me) who are more laid-back, who prefer a “set it and forget it” approach. Or maybe “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

I’m pro-hustle, anti-grind. 

Having worked in Silicon Valley for years, I don’t believe in working around the clock, tweaking things just to have something new to show.

That may bite me in the ass at some point as technology becomes even more ever-present in our lives, but to date… regardless of the changes that are constantly happening in the world, the fundamentals of human connection and good business still work, even as the platforms change.

Once something works, I’m content to let it run until it doesn’t. Because once it’s running and working, my attention will be on building other sources of revenue. Diversifying = power. 

But there are other folks like Andrew, who are always tweaking, iterating, and perfecting. They obsess over the details, and aren’t satisfied with “good enough”.

And the cool thing about that is – we balance each other out very well. Sometimes he can get me to make incremental improvements, and sometimes I can get him to not relocate the pizza cutter for the 27th time.

But it’s critical to know who you are and how you operate/want your business to run – and who your people/partners/contractors are and how they operate. 

Are you working together, or working against one another because you’ve got different styles.

One thing I know for sure, the party’s over the moment I throw the pizza cutter instead of rolling my eyes at him and laughing.


P.S. I read this draft to him out loud and we both laughed. I told him, “Hey I’m making you look like an engineering genius and a hero!” He said, “I AM an engineering genius. And make sure you tell them I’m humble too.”

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making a masterpiece of the leftovers Fri, 21 Aug 2020 15:40:58 +0000 I grew up with a single mom, as one of three kids. And one of the things my mom was REALLY good at was stretching every dollar well beyond its breaking point.

That meant a lot of buying in bulk, grabbing the clearance meat and throwing it in the freezer, and a LOT of easy throw-it-in-the-slow-cooker type meals.

Which ALSO meant a metric ton of leftovers – which is not a favorite for a lot of folks.

But I personally LOVE leftovers… because mom was also brilliant at reimagining and transforming them into new meals.

That gigantic pork roast might be sliced and served with mashed potatoes the first night.

The next night, it’d be shredded and sauteed in spices for tacos.

Then it’d be rough chopped and scrambled with eggs and cubed potatoes for breakfast.

And as a result, I’m probably one of the few people on the planet (or at least in the States, where we’re spoiled and incredibly fortunate) who looks forward to leftovers.

They’re an opportunity to either eat something tasty again, without having to cook it again… or they’re an opportunity to be reinvented into something else equally (if not more) delicious.

That’s not entirely dissimilar to how I view business. 

If you’ve been in business for awhile and have a catalog of products, or have been consistently putting out content (or both!), my friend… get ready to feast.

Because if you haven’t looked at that catalog in awhile, you’re literally sitting on a goldmine… and the reason is simple: different things are tasty to different people.

Maybe you have a high-ticket online course that includes coaching – but some of that course could easily be completed by someone motivated. So out of that same material, you could create (and sell): 

  • a 5-day mini challenge
  • a worksheet/exercise bundle
  • a package of standalone audio or video downloads that teaches parts of your course

I can think of half a dozen more ways to repackage and repurpose that content, but what I shared above is enough to get you started.

And I know some folks feel squeamish about selling the same info in multiple ways. I’ve heard the term “money grab” thrown around.

To those people I say… cool, you do you. I’ll be over here giving my tribe what they want.

I see it as providing options. Some people don’t WANT the full course and the coaching. But they’d happily pay for a time-limited challenge or some videos.

Some people want all the extra coaching and hand-holding because they know they’re not likely to do it on their own, or they feel like they can’t do it alone.

With all my clients, I try to keep those “leftover” pieces of content in mind these days. Especially since there are so many different learning styles and ways to consume/implement information.

Sometimes you’ve got many of those different learning styles in your audience – and they’re just waiting for you to create options that work for them. If you don’t, they can find someone who will.

So… maybe it’s time to learn to love the leftovers.


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get out of your house (and by house, I mean head) Thu, 30 Jul 2020 20:25:15 +0000 Last week I did something fun… 

I launched (more like softball lobbed, but eh… ) my first ever product.

Like a lot of people in marketing and sales… I know how to sell a product. Give me a product (that’s not snake oil or absolute garbage), and I am confident I can sell the ever-loving shit out of it.

If it serves a need, I will find folks with that need and do my damnedest to get that thing in their hands (or brains, you know… digital stuff).

The funny thing is how we often don’t talk about the blind spot we all have as entrepreneurs… ourselves.

That is, I often have a hard time looking objectively at myself, my stuff, and the value I bring to the world simply because… hey, I live in here. I’m the only one who has to hear the Angie thought train running 24/7. And that has a way of becoming background noise, nothing special, when I hear it day in and day out.

That’s why it’s so critical to get out of the (metaphorical) house. 

In case I’m not being clear, I’m talking about getting outside of your own head if you want real perspective.

Case in point… 

Last week I launched my product. I’d originally given it away as my lead magnet/freebie for signing up to get my emails. And then I realized, hmm… this is me writing about keeping it simple. But a 24-page ebook doesn’t exactly scream “simple”.

So I cut it down to something EVEN MORE simple and made that 5-page doc into my new lead magnet. Then I added some video training and case studies to the e-book and repackaged it as a mini course… which is what I offered last week.

LOL the eyelashes paid for themselves… check out my blog “so there I was with my eyes glued shut” for the full story on that. I digress.


Two people who bought the mini course last week actually had the old freebie. They’d downloaded it from me before I made it into the mini course.  Meaning they paid me for something they already had.

Yeah, I mean I could’ve washed my hands of it and called it a day, considering I’d added onto it and totally upgraded it with the video walkthrough and the fancy ass slides… but that didn’t really sit well with me.

So I reached out to both of those folks and explained the situation.

I offered to give them their money back with no hard feelings… or if they preferred not to deal with the whole refund drama, I’d be happy to hop on the phone and do a 1:1 consultation to make up for it.

So what does this have to do with getting out of the house/head? 

Within minutes, both of these (seriously awesome) people wrote back to me with (and I’m paraphrasing here)… ARE YOU NUTS? OF COURSE I’LL TAKE THE CONSULT.

Direct quote from one who shall remain nameless:

C’mon, do you really think I’d let you give me money back? It’s worth every penny and then some.

And this is what it all boils down to.

Share what you know.

Be generous with your time.

Make offers because you know you’re doing good work.

Add value even when it’s not asked of you.

And then your customers will call you crazy for offering spur-of-the-moment refunds… and it will be the most awesome experience ever. 

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so there I was with my eyes glued shut… Fri, 24 Jul 2020 17:07:19 +0000 So there I was, laying on a table with my face mask on…

Eyes glued shut, Ride of the Valkyries playing in the background.

It’s been a long time since I felt quite that silly, but damn… I really wanted to jump on a motorcycle and go rescue some people. That song is so EPIC. 

OK… I’m getting a little ahead of myself.

Let me restart this story with a bit of a confession… 

I’m pretty lazy.

I’m constantly on the hunt for the most efficient way to do things, so I can buy back time to think about even MORE efficient ways to do things.

That’s how I found myself laying on a bed two days ago, in a private room at a salon… eyes glued shut.

OK… I exaggerate a TINY bit. My eyes weren’t glued shut. But they were coated with a bunch of crap, so I had to keep them closed for the better part of an hour.

Why? Call it an experiment in seeing how truly lazy I can be. I don’t like wearing makeup because putting it on takes too much time. But I like LOOKING like I’m wearing makeup (or at least like I’m slightly more put together than “freshly rolled out of bed”)…

So I was on the table trying out something called a “lash lift”… or a semi-permanent (8-12 week) tint-and-curl on ye olde eye curtains.

Again… lazy.

I mean, I could have gone for lash extensions like this lady:

But 1) I’m not really into potentially flying away using only my face should a good, stiff breeze blow by, and 2) the maintenance on that shit is ridiculous and you have to go in every couple weeks to keep it up. That kinda defeats the purpose of being lazy. 

So semi-permanent it is! I only have to go in every 3 months for this!

This story may be slightly confusing for folks who’ve seen me present, especially virtually. 

Why is her hair bigger than she is? Is she even wearing pants? WHO KNOWS?

And I admit… even before the pandemic shutdowns, I REALLY liked being comfortable while working at home. I even had work PJs and bedtime PJs.

But recently I decided to look a little more presentable than “inexplicably woke up on the lawn and then wandered into a business meeting”, so I started looking for ways to make it easy. Incentivize myself a bit, if you will. 

And for me, there’s no better incentive than minimal effort for maximum return. 

Every minute I don’t have to spend thinking about my appearance is a minute I can spend thinking, strategizing, planning, brainstorming, and otherwise using that brainpower to help people and get closer to my goals.

That’s not to say that folks who spend time on their appearance are bad or vain or any of that bullshit. No shade intended, and if I’m being completely honest… I’m envious of all you good-looking mofos. 

I WANT to care… I just don’t.

To me, doing my makeup and hair is kinda like making an appointment with the dentist. It’s something you know you SHOULD do. But it’s not exactly something you get EXCITED about… and let’s face it, you’ll probably put it off if given the chance. 

So I take a shortcut… one hour on the bed with my eyes glued shut, Ride of the Valkyries blasting in the background, making me feel like an absolute badass.

That one hour probably saves me 20-30 minutes a day on primping. Brush the hair, clean the teeth, wash the face, and let’s get shit done. 

So why am I telling you all this?

Partly because it was so ridiculously and wonderfully weird as it was happening, that I knew I had to share.

Partly to explain my sudden OMG SHE’S NOT WEARING PAJAMAS appearance.

But mostly because I love streamlining stuff… boiling it down and getting super simple.

It’s kinda my whole business (and life) philosophy, yo.

If you’re feeling my vibe on starting simple, you might also like my approach to creating online sales promotions. 

I have a basic formula I follow every.single.time. I’m asked to plan a promotion. It’s a repeating pattern I noticed under the surface of every multimillion-dollar promo I’ve ever been part of. 

And now I’m breaking it down in my first ever mini-course: Permission to Keep it Simple.

I created this because I got tired of seeing how complex the world of marketing and funnels has gotten. The key to consistent sales is simplicity and transparency… because the less confused/frustrated your customer is, the more likely they are to actually hear your message and decide to buy in.

If you want to see how I think through multimillion-dollar launches and promotions, you can get the details here

And if you have any other tips for me on how to save time, lay it on me in the comments!

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the root cause of resistance Fri, 17 Jul 2020 18:04:07 +0000 I’ve got a problem… one that I think is pretty common, and one that you might recognize.

I overcomplicate the SHIT out of EVERYDAMNTHING.

Somewhere in my life, I became convinced that “it can’t possibly be that easy”… and ever since, the name of the game has been “how elaborate can I make this plan?”

Maybe it stems from trying and failing and convincing myself it wasn’t “enough” and needed “more”.

Maybe it stems from the gap between my experience and someone else’s reality, where they’re a success and I’m not, and they’ve got some missing puzzle piece.

Whatever it is, overthinking has always been a forte of mine. 

And even though I’m REALLY amazing at coming up with a plan (and a backup plan, and a backup backup plan, and a backup to the backup backup plan…), this tendency has held me back in a lot of ways.

I’m profoundly uncomfortable with the notion of “throw it out there and see what happens”, and I’m definitely the slowest moving member of my mastermind group in terms of creating new stuff and growing my own business.

So this is something I’m working on intentionally becoming better at – just trying stuff, keeping it simple.

This mini rant inspired by a conversation I had with my mentor yesterday. Kevin Rogers (founder of Copy Chief) is a freaking wizard sometimes, with the way he helps me get out of my own way.

In a nutshell, I’d been planning out a new lead magnet for a new site ( if you’re curious) for MONTHS and never actually writing it. I just kept circling this concept of “7 day escape plan” and helping people leave a day job to start a business.

As I walked through my outline with Kev and speculated on what I was missing, he told me what he heard… that I really had a SALES plan.

And sales are the key to any business that wants to stay in business.

Suddenly the connection I was missing was right there, in front of my face. 

Not only did shifting from “escape plan” as a concept to “sales plan” make the steps that much more clear… it also showed me that the reason I was resisting was because it was needlessly complex.

I was trying to cram 10 years of business experience into 7 days… no wonder it wasn’t working!

Building a business is a journey… and one where not everyone “makes it”. So instead of starting by trying to cover a ton of miles in a single step… I realized I just needed folks to focus on the next step.

For beginners, it’s figuring out sales all together – how to create something for sale, find people to sell it to.

For more advanced entrepreneurs, it’s creating new offers and being able to test them quickly without wasting a ton of time or money on development.

And now that I’ve got clarity on the NEXT STEP instead of being overwhelmed by the big picture…

That sequence has practically already written itself. Pardon me while I go put the finishing touches on this bad boy… 


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misadventures in podcasting Fri, 10 Jul 2020 17:06:49 +0000 I’m currently in the middle of taking a podcast workshop from Seth Godin.

For years now, especially after I’d speak on stage at events, people would come up to me and tell me I needed to podcast.

But I never knew what I’d talk about, at least until I started writing my book. It’s called Permission to Kick Ass and it’s about screwing up the courage to leave a job and start your own creative entrepreneurial journey.

And for the last week, week and a half… things were going pretty smoothly. My cohort LOVES the concept. They gave great feedback on my description and my dream guest list. They even REALLY enjoyed my sample Zoom call recording with my best friend. We ranted about virtual Dungeons and Dragons, and it was great.

But then I hit a wall when they challenged me to try recording on Skype.

Here’s what went down –

I had a list of folks I’d asked to be guinea pigs for my practice recordings. I found two who were available to practice my Skype recordings on.

I spent the morning getting reacquainted with Skype (henceforth, it shall be known as my arch-nemesis) and getting familiar with Callnote (the recommended recording software).

I noticed on launching Callnote that the screen was different from the training recording I’d watched earlier – the training had a “Connect” button to sync up Skype and Callnote. But when I launched Callnote, it had this weird popup:

It was a little confusing, but it said I could record through the widget, and the widget popped up automatically when I opened Skype… so I assumed it was all working as it should.

So I called friend #1 and we had an awesome 10-minute chat about public speaking, and overcoming those fears.

Here’s the thing – before recording, I triple-checked all the audio inputs. I spoke a little with her before hitting record, so I could make sure we were hearing each other alright. I hit record and we were off to the races.

Callnote did not record me AT ALL. It picked her up just fine, but nothing as far as my voice. I was completely baffled since she could hear me, and the software could hear her.

So I was frustrated, but decided to practice on friend #2 and asked if he’d be willing to help. We hopped on and had a lovely 6 minute conversation about skydiving, and overcoming a fear of heights.

I thought this time, in case the same thing happens, I’ll run Screencast-O-Matic over the top of this and set it to capture my computer audio and my mic, so that if Callnote is weird again, at least I’ll have both sides of the convo.

Nope. Callnote got his side. SOM got his side. Neither picked me up in the recording.

Clearly this is something happening on my end, but I was utterly BAFFLED as to how my interviewees could hear me, but I didn’t make it on the recording, even after checking every audio input I could to make sure it was running through my USB mic.

I posted a modified version of the above story to my podcasting cohort, and wrapped up with this:

Ideas? Willing guinea pigs? Should I just throw it out the window and set it on fire? Just stick to Zoom because that experience was a total one-and-done when I played around with it yesterday?

Phew… did I kick over a hill of ants. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who was epically frustrated with the Skype assignment. I was just one of the first to actually voice it.

I think at one point all the coaches and half my cohort were either commenting on that thread or referencing it in another thread.

And aside from making me feel a little less dumb… I had two takeaways I thought might help anyone else who’s learning to do a new thing.

  1. if you’re struggling, say so. Don’t try to tough it out. Don’t mistake me here – I’m not saying throw your hands up and ask for help if you don’t nail it the first time. Try. Try again. Google some solutions and try again. And then, before you feel like setting things on fire, reach out for help. You never know who else may be struggling.
  2. part of this exercise was practicing different recording and call softwares – and that was by design. Because you need to have backups ready to go in case tech doesn’t work as planned. But I have such resistance to Skype (and resistance is itself often an important sign to pay attention to) that I know I’m gonna throw myself into learning other platforms and getting comfortable elsewhere. I’m great at Zoom calls. That’s definitely gonna be my go-to. And once I find a similarly intuitive backup (that will also be easy for my guests to switch to in case Zoom goes wonky), it’ll be my go-to.

Too often we get so drawn into those challenges, and so frustrated by our inability to JUST FREAKING FIX IT ALREADY, that we can’t see there’s always another solution… don’t use this option. Find another one that’s easier and that won’t make you want to punch things.

Especially these days when it seems like people are looking for an excuse to fly off the handle and RAGE (even if they look like absolute morons,recorded on camera for the world to see)… just because a feeling is happening doesn’t mean you have to let it control you or your business or your decision making.

Have you ever had something in your business (or in your life) that drove you to the brink of burning it all down and starting new? Tell me your stories – I need to be not the only one feeling this way this week… LOL.

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assume positive intent Thu, 02 Jul 2020 21:55:35 +0000 Here’s an observation – especially in today’s world of frayed nerves and insta-snark kneejerk replies at anyone who’s even perceived at being “out of line”.

What if the person reaching out to you didn’t intend it the way you interpreted it?

We’d all go a lot farther by giving folks grace and assuming positive intent.

An example from my personal experience –

Recently I read a really great book. Inside that book, the author mentioned an online forum.

I thought, “self, that sounds like an awesome place run by an awesome author – let’s go check it out”.

I got to the page, saw a link to log in or sign up, and then signed up.

Then… nothing. For over a week. It just kept saying my membership was in the process of being approved. So I’d check every other day or so to see if it’d gone through (’cause I love me some online forums, as many of you know). And one day, the system kicked back my login info as “unrecognized”.

I thought… well that’s weird. Maybe after sitting in an approval queue for a bit, it just resets?

So I signed up again. And I looked for a contact form. I sent in an email saying, “hey I tried to sign up for this thing and I keep getting error messages. Is there something else I need to be doing in order to complete the process?”

Shortly thereafter I got a message from the author of the book (!!!???!!!woooooooooot). I open it up and my heart sank –

I don’t recognize your name. On what basis are you signing up to join this site? You have to be invited or pay.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk…. ?

I mean I DID ask (at least I’m pretty sure I asked) what I needed to do to join… so like, telling me it’s a private paid forum and sending me a link to sign up would have been totally appropriate here.

I was confused by the response but I wanted to help get to the root of the confusion – so I wrote back:

Hi there,

I saw it mentioned in a book I purchased, and the book didn’t mention it was paid/by invitation only so I decided to join because it sounded like a great community.
If that’s the case, then no worries.
I realized I’d left something out and quickly sent a follow-up:

As a follow-up – had I seen an opportunity to pay to join, I would have already done so as:

1) I already recommend your books and trainings to all my students, and
2) I’ve already had tremendous experiences with paid membership forums ranging from $99/year to $2500+.

I’m not looking for a freebie, but simply didn’t see anywhere that mentioned it was a paid membership or that gave me an opportunity to purchase a membership.

The reply had me kinda flabbergasted…
I’m sorry you interpreted it that way, but no one else has had that problem. I have a free, public blog, and dozens of free newsletters, audio, video, and so on you can access on my site.
Ranty Angie was about ready to let loose, because at this point I was seriously frustrated.
Here I am, wanting to join a group. In my mind, it’s as simple as telling me how to sign up and pay. But I’m perceiving this vibe, this assumption that I’m trying to get something for nothing… which is weird because I already indicated I’m a buyer (I own several books).
Instead, I took a deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep breath.

I like this author. I have already received a lot of value from reading several of their books. I also see being part of the community as being incredibly valuable – both for me and for the community, because I know I have a lot to offer in terms of marketing expertise and coaching.


So instead of tapping into the frustration I felt and going full ham, I simply wrote back:

I wonder if we’re having a miscommunication?

Again, not seeking a freebie. Was interested in joining a forum I thought would be valuable based on the incredible value I already received from the materials I purchased. Didn’t see an opportunity to pay to join, so simply chose the “sign up” button I saw on the page.
If that’s not a forum that’s available to me, either because it’s paid or not available to the public, then that is fine. I am already a follower of your free works and was more interested in getting further involved in the community.
FINALLY… the reply came with a link, and a heads up on the cost to join.

Do you see what I’m trying to get at here?

This is a pivot point in your business… a crossroads where you can choose the temporary satisfaction of snarking at someone (who would have ultimately become a customer) or digging deeper, assuming positive intent, and communicating.
THIS is why we talk lifetime value (LTV) of your customers. Because that whole interaction COULD have ensured that I spent only $100 or so on books and never bought anything else. And not only that, I’ve got an incentive to recommend people steer clear because of one not-great interaction.
But this could also pivot me toward being a lifelong fan, community member, and serial purchaser. The difference is how you, as the person they’re buying from, conduct yourself (or your customer service team, if they’re engaging on your behalf).

There are two key takeaways here for me:

1) Make it clear how to buy, if you’ve got stuff available that isn’t free. 
On the page where I tried to sign up, it literally said “Welcome, you need an account to view this.” and then there were two buttons, “log in” and “join”. The “join” button didn’t take me to a sales page, an order form, or anything that showed me I needed to invest. If it had, I would have simply paid to join, finished registration, and been in by the time this email chain started.
Not everyone who sees your stuff expects you to give it away for free. And not everyone who wants your stuff is put off by having to pay. Give them the option to self-select into one bucket or the other and demonstrate clear intent with freebie seeking before you go full snark.
2) Assume positive intent.
If someone’s taking the time to go to your site, figure out who to contact, and put together a relatively coherent message – they’re probably invested to an extent. Most freebie seeking types are content to fire off complaints on Twitter or leave rambling, angry messages on review sites. Someone who reaches out to you without making explicit “MAKE ME HAPPY OR ELSE” demands? They could very well just be looking to solve a problem real quick and then continue on their way as a satisfied customer.
Give them the simplest solution. In this case, it would have been a link to join. Then the follow-up conversation never would have happened.
And I want to emphasize that last part… because it took MORE TIME to snark and do the back-and-forth than it would have to simply send a link saying, “hey, sorry about the registration trouble – that’s actually a paid group, and you can sign up here: LINK”

The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth, and I admit to thinking long and hard about whether I wanted to join after that interaction.

Thankfully I’ve received a lot of value from other works I’ve purchased from this author over the years. So this time I’m going to chalk it up to a bad day (or these crazy times we’re all dealing with) and give the author the grace I wish I’d been given.

Maybe I’ll sign up next week.

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