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Simple Project Management - 4 Free Tools for Streamlining Your Process

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Feb 28, 2013


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You have every incentive to master simple project management. Your clients will be impressed by your responsiveness, your contractors and employees will enjoy not feeling like the ship is always sinking, and your bank account will be happier. The faster you finish projects, the more profitable they tend to be.

The challenge is seeing room for improvement when you're in the throes of project work. It's hard to find the time to rework your workflow when the work is flowing. There's a tongue twister for you.

Project management represents a lovely Catch-22: you have every incentive to improve your project management and every excuse to put it off.

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In Praise of the Minimum Engagement

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Feb 19, 2013


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What do you do with those clients who can't make up their mind about how to proceed? They know that they need what you have, and may even be convinced that you're the right person for the job. A minimum engagement can keep new client relationships from stalling out.

We've all been there. You meet to talk about one thing, and halfway through the conversation you realize that they need rebranding AND a new website AND search engine optimization AND a marketing plan. They can't decide where to start. Or their budget cannot accommodate all of those projects at once, and this shortfall has caused inertia. Or someone else whose opinion matters couldn't be at the meeting: "Let's wait until the marketing director gets back from vacation. She'll know where to start."

"Let's wait until…" has been the death of many a promising project (and potentially lucrative client relationship).

How do you politely yet firmly navigate such conversations into the safe harbor of a closed sale?

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Eight Ways to Make More Money

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Feb 12, 2013


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At the beginning of 2012, I took what became a life-altering step in my business: I began separating my income from the number of hours in each day. In this post I will share eight ways to make more money. I pursued all eight last year and would love for you to make 2013 the best year ever for your business by picking at least one or two of these revenue boosters and acting on them.

Let me start by putting on my Captain Obvious cape and insulting your intelligence with a simple observation: The work that makes you money today isn't necessarily the work that will make me money in the future. Robert Kiyosaki taught me that a job is not an asset. Assets put money in your pocket even when you're not working. Jobs don't. 

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How To Hire An Assistant

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Feb 08, 2013


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Don't stress about how to hire an assistant.

Last October, I discovered that hiring an assistant isn't all that complicated. It's the being responsible for someone else's livelihood that can be scary. Sheesh. I'd never hired anyone in my life. What if all my clients left me? What if all the money dried up? What if, what if, what if...

Those of us who have grown accustomed to self-employment (and calling the shots) sometimes have a hard time letting go. But what happens when you just can't leverage your own productivity any more? How will you grow when you just can't squeeze any more billable time out of your work days?

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Do Something Stupid - A Case for Leaping Before You Look

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Jan 25, 2013


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Lately I've been thinking about low ceilings and clownfish; about how competitive the App Store's Games category is and about ignoring that fact; about search funds and OMGPOP's Draw Something.

In short, I've been thinking about doing something stupid.

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Should Spouses Be Business Partners?

TheDerricks

by TheDerricks


Jan 14, 2013


Categories

This week, we have a special treat. Kicktastic members Victoria and John Derrick were kind enough to share some insights into collaborating on business ventures with a spouse. From the Derricks...

..........

Teaming up with your husband or wife for a business venture might sound simple enough at first. You both have a stake in the success of the business, right? Each of you brings unique and perhaps complimentary skills to the table, and a partnership would mean that you could better coordinate your schedules.

Despite all the benefits, you should sit for awhile with the question:  “Is it a good idea to team up with my spouse for business?”

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Best Year Ever

Nate Croft

by Nate Croft


Jan 02, 2013


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Happy 2013, everybody! We hope you had a great 2012. 

If your town is anything like ours, you've already started seeing New Year's Resolutions and "New Year, New You!" ads for gyms, popping up all over the place. My Facebook feed is getting all motivation-y. And though it feels a bit tired and predictable, the New Year really is a great time to change things. There's this kind of mental switch that gets flipped in January that says:  "Alright, I've got another chance at this."

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The Art of the Casual Connection

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Dec 18, 2012


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One of the questions that people ask me most often is this: How do I get more business? The long answer would fall in the realm of marketing and would thus require a book-length manuscript. I'll content myself with brevity for once.

Most of my new business comes through referrals, and I attribute these referrals to "the art of the casual connection." 

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The Kickastic Guys on UMS Live

Nate Croft

by Nate Croft


Dec 13, 2012


Categories

For the first time on the internet, Jon, Nate and Austin will all be together on UMS Live podcast tomorrow, December 12th! Unmatched Style will be hsoting a marathon live podcast event showcasing a few great podcasts & shows. With guest like Carl Smith, Dan Mall, Zurb, United Pixel Workers, JD Graffam, and those guys from FortySeven Media

Honestly, we have no idea what will happen, but it should be loads of fun. We'll be doing a hybrid Kick Awesome Show and Kicktastic mashup with the good stuff you've come to expect from your favorite business bros.

We are in the middle of our year end planning sessions and want to share with you the process we're using to help FortySeven Media (jon nd Nate) and Bright Newt (Austin) gear up for the new year. 

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How to Manage Difficult Clients

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Dec 10, 2012


Categories

Last week, I wrote about identifying bad clients before you agree to work for them and take their money. But what about those clients who you've already got in the books? What should you do when good relationships sour and you wake up one day to realize that these clients cost you more than they make you? Do you feel confident in your ability to manage difficult clients?

Too many creative professionals are afraid to stand up for themselves and negotiate. They're afraid to make a client unhappy, believing that this person will malign them and tarnish their reputations. Or they are afraid that if spiteful Scrooge's meager checks stop coming then the business will go into a financial tailspin.

How will you pay your bills? How will you pay your team? If you remember only one thing from this post, remember this: Anxiety is a mediocre business coach. Don't make decisions simply to prevent bad things from happening. Make decisions to welcome so many good things into your life that they eventually crowd out the bad ones.

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Bad Clients

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Dec 04, 2012


Categories

Today's post will cover something I've been thinking about a lot recently: bad clients, or, to be more precise, clients who cost your business more in terms of time, money, and anxiety than they make you.

As grimly satisfying as it would be to dish war stories about bad clients, my goal with this post is not to vilify the people who pay my bills but to help you identify and avoid potential obstacles to excellence, enthusiasm, and profit.

As I think back on what I did and didn't do well in 2012 and begin thinking ahead to 2013, I realize that I had to learn several lessons again. Let me begin with one short anecdote, and then I'll share three lists: 1) general beliefs about clients; 2) traits of bad clients; and 3) canned business pick-up lines.

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Why Mentors Matter and 5 Steps for Landing One

Trae Bailey

by Trae Bailey


Nov 26, 2012


Categories

Trae Bailey is one of those creative individuals who is always up to something interesting. He serves as a Second Lieutenant with the Army National Guard. He's a freelance marketer, and he's currently organizing a speakers' bureau. He will man your booth or your merch table at a conference and help you sell more stuff than you dreamed possible.

Several weeks ago, Trae thought that I'd enjoy meeting an app developer in Indiana, so he went out of his way to connect us. That's the kind of person Trae is.

I was thrilled when he joined Kicktastic in October and when he later agreed to share his thoughts on connecting with mentors. I hope you enjoy these insights from Trae... .

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Top Five Legal Mistakes for Creative Professionals to Avoid

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Nov 19, 2012


Categories

Although you're probably brilliant at doing whatever it is that you do, you may not be so brilliant at jumping through all the necessary hoops to set up your business as a legal entity.

The Kicktastic trio has invited Tim Ferraris, a Knoxville business attorney and internet marketer, to identify mistakes that freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners make when setting up their businesses. Tim didn't intend this post to be a comprehensive guide for navigating the quagmire of your state's legal system. He instead wanted to prepare for success the recent college grad considering self-employment or the corporate escapee who has decided to take the plunge into full-time freelancing

Without further ado, here are Tim's Top Five Legal Mistakes to Avoid:

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How to Use Online Freelancing Sites to Build Your Business – Part 2

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Nov 12, 2012


Categories

In last week's post, I wrote about how online freelancing sites like oDesk can help you grow your business but didn't get in to my actual hiring process. Let's get down to it, shall we?

When I was first starting to move uncertainly through the morass of thousands upon thousands of freelancers from around the world, I would put up a public job posting, choose certain criteria for proficiency in English and average ratings and reviews, and see who showed up.

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How Online Freelancing Sites Can Help You Build Your Business – Part 1

Austin Church

by Austin Church


Nov 05, 2012


Categories

In this post, I hope to convince you that online freelancing sites can help you grow your business. To that end, I'll be sharing five ways that sites like Odesk.com have enabled me to better serve my clients and create additional revenue streams.

For starters, you can find inexpensive contractors to complete small projects that you have no time or inclination to do yourself. For example, I gave a TEDx talk last year and want to turn it into an eBook. I used the steps that I will outline in my next post to connect with a professional transcriptionist. Total cost? $15.77. I was able to focus on billable work, and the transcription gave me a good start on a piece of flagship content.

At times oDesk has also served to remove bottlenecks. One of my clients needed to compile old student records into an alumni database for a fundraising campaign. No one wanted to take responsibility for what promised to be a long, tedious process. I made a public posting on oDesk, and received dozens of applicants within a matter of hours. The applicant whom I hired turned out to be a very thorough and responsive data entry specialist, and with only $54.69 out of pocket, which my client reimbursed, I was able to keep the campaign moving forward.

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