Musings and apologies
A journey of a hundred days begins with... getting the blasted book out
Dear <<First Name>>: I've got a confession. For much of 100 Days, 100 Grand's development, I had a strict daily routine. Book gets 7am to noon, then in the pm I switch to the day job at Chris does Content. In the last two months that routine's been broken.
Why? Because I did something that slowed me down: used myself as a guinea pig.
When you've freelanced for a while, you get a sense of how much work's coming in from your clients, how busy you'll be in the next month or two. The 100 Days plan shows you how to make that feeling a formal practice, with proper numbers prompting specific actions... but I don't market myself on such a formal schedule. And after 15 years, you won't either.
So when back in May I felt my sales funnel - my pipeline of upcoming work - emptying, my first thought was: great! A pleasant Summer finishing the last third of the book, before the usual Q3 rev-up in Sep. But looking ahead to tax season (like many Brits in business, I'm a one-man company and pay corporate taxes as well as personal ones) I realised I couldn't afford that enjoyable June and July.
The Rain* takes his own meds
So I turned to the book (basically, Days 64-77) and applied its methods to winning a few extra projects. It took two days.
The result? A doubling of bookings from an existing client ... one new customer that same client introduced ... and a longterm booking request from an older one who hasn't used me for a while. (YES, this is how you win business. The right 350 people in your LinkedIn network can connect you to over ten million potential customers.)
The two new gigs added ten days a month to my workload this summer. (Had to turn down the longterm one). Which is great. BUT it's taken time away from 100 Days, 100 Grand. Yes, we're still on for Winter, but the release date's getting closer to year end than I wanted.
There's an upside to this: it proved 100 Days works.
It's been a while since I chased new business, so if nothing else it was a useful sense-check as to whether the methods really work. And I'm making notes that'll improve the book when I get back to it, next week. Promise.
A shout-out to Altucher
Earlier this month I met business maniac James Altucher. Whether you're a "people person" or not (I'm not) the ex-hedgie is a fascinating guy, with around a quarter of a million Followers on LinkedIn. Just wanted to give him a shout-out because I understand he financed much of the event himself, asking no contributions and GIVING US ALL A FREE BOOK. And if you make it along to one of his talks, his wife Claudia will probably show you her underwear. (She did to me.) Thanks, James.
Finding my type: hello, Harriet
Changing the subject. This is the first book I've been involved with that'll actually be in bookstores, and as a result (or maybe just because I'm a control freak) I've become obsessive about typography. On publication I'll probably have spent £1,000 licensing the 4 font families the book uses. (One of which is used for just one word on the cover!) The pro font I've decided on is Harriet by OkayType.
A pro font is always better for print. Many screen fonts (the ones you're used to on your Mac or PC) are simplified versions for screen resolutions. There's nothing wrong with screen fonts; they're just optimised for online. While pro fonts use some extra tricks and tactics to aid readability. My fave letterforms in this typeface are the regular g (see the tiny gap on the descender) and that joyous italic v, waving its hands in the air like it just don't care.
Also, notice how in the italics, many upstrokes at the bottom right of one letter point towards the first downstroke of the next, like the ei in "eight" and ax in 'wax'? That's pro type. Although he's made far too big a deal of the ampersand, a common type designer's in-joke. (I hate ampersands. Join with a proper word!)
And see those squished-together ffi's and ffl's? They're called ligatures, and they make text easier to read by making it less fussy, sort of kerning-to-the-n'th-degree. (The strange sentence is one I made up to include all the letters of the alphabet and the common ligatures. Whenever you're stuck for entertainment, give it a try, and see how short a sentence you can make.)
But that's where I need to stop. So: it's been two months of distractions and hassle - but next week I'll be back on the case. <<First Name>>. More in Sep.
* Old nickname.
PS. If (like half this list) you're based in the UK, check out comedian Shelby Bond who's on another UK tour during August. I trekked across Northern Thailand with the LA-based funnyman many years ago, and ended up swimming the Mekong as penance. At last, I get to heckle!