business tips, communications tips, content marketing, copywriting, editing, ethics, productivity, running a business, Uncategorized

Why ethics is so important to us

I was having a chat with some peers about writing recently and the topic of ethics popped up. We’d all been trained at reputable institutions and most of us had sat through at least one dedicated subject around ethics. What we learned in those classes varied enormously. Sure, we were all taught what our legal obligations were. But it was what we were taught to do with this knowledge that varied. There were recollections of teachers who actively encouraged and guided us to find the best legal route to disruption. Ethics, it seemed played no part.

As a passionate writer, I have always believed that my own personal code of ethics comes above all other obligations. I will never compromise those for a job, win or a handful of clicks, and I ensure that all of my writers are the same. There are people that win work over me because of it, and being scooped in certain circumstances is part and parcel of maintaining one’s moral compass. You know why? Sometimes cheats win – but in my book, that’s never a reason to join them.

As a business, we will never sink below our standards for a quick buck and here are five practical reasons why that’s a good thing.

We have enough grey in the world – it’s the right thing to do

With all that has been happening around the world, so many of us are searching for positivity. Whether it’s the emergence of bigots and racists, rearing their shockingly normal looking heads, or our leaders failing to make the right choices for all our citizens, there is a lot of hate and manipulation in this world. Let’s not add to it!

We are drawn to sensational things and as writers, it can be very very seductive to twist and shape our stories to highlight this. Finding the dirty sexy angle, no matter who it might hurt, or creating inaccurate content to pull in the hits, seems to be the norm for some content producers. But you know what? If you’re a great storyteller, with your audience’s best interest at heart, you can engage and entertain, and do the right thing.

You actually attract a higher quality clientele

Who wants to be in a working environment where your judgement is constantly being called into question? When you show yourself to be ethical in business, you attract like-minded people. It may seem like a stupid idea when you turn your back on a potential client, who is encouraging shady behaviour. In the long run, however, you are holding yourself and your business to a higher standard and you will find that businesses with the same values will see this and be more likely to work with you in the long run.

When it comes to writing, manipulating the truth for one quick win, only goes to show that you are willing to sacrifice your own integrity for a short term gain.

Your reputation and credibility are enhanced

There is nothing more valuable in business than your reputation and credibility. Once lost, they can be near impossible to claw back. In this digital age of social media warriors, this could not be truer. Online reviewing, social networking and online forums have suddenly given a voice to the masses. Sidestepping the trolls, who can cause unparalleled chaos in their wake, angry, disgruntled or wronged clients can easily be as damaging.

When you hold your business operations to a higher standard, all you are doing is building a positive reputation. When you create informative, authoritative, engaging and accurate content, your audience, clients and potential partners will know it.

Business and personal relationships that include trust are stronger

Customer loyalty is crucial in business. Ensuring that your clients remain your clients for as long as their needs match your service is the key to a fruitful business. The key to loyalty is building trust. You want your clientele to be able to rely on the service or quality of product you provide. When they know you’re reliable, they’re more likely to stick with you.

Practice responsible, reliable and transparent business, and your relationships will be stronger and more robust in the long term. When it comes to writing, I ensure every client or partner we work with know exactly where we stand at all times, that way they can rely on our expertise and our ethics.

My team actually appreciate it and work harder

A lovely added bonus to conducting business this way is productivity. My team is far more committed in the knowledge that we don’t cheat, lie or weasel our way through business. They know that I will always treat them fairly and with respect and as a consequence, they treat me and my business with that same level of respect. They work hard because they know I work hard. They know they can hold me to the same high standards that I hold them.

The fact is, there is always an ‘easy’ way to do things. While it may initially show you short term benefits, it’s not going to stick. At Make it Peachy, we ensure every project we take on is delivered to the best of our ability. We are honest, transparent and ethical in business and expect the same from everyone we work with.

 

business tips, communications tips, content marketing, content production, creativity, productivity, running a business, writing tips

Comic-Con – A lesson in business and communications

It’s that time of year again – where the once geekiest event of the calendar has become the go to celebrity event of the North American summer. Enter San Diego Comic-Con 2017. Stars from across the globe take a break from their vacations and summer projects to give the people an extraordinary experience.

In 1970, the convention was held in the basement of one of the dodgiest hotels in town. In 2017, the convention, and its sub-cons have descended upon the city, with somewhere in the vicinity of 200,000 visiting fans. That doesn’t come close to the number of enthusiastic followers around the world who have bought, booked and signed on for exclusive digital content.

How did such a humble event become so popular? What can we, as business owners learn from their ascent? As avid con nerds, the team at Make it Peachy have plucked the top five things we have learned about business and communications from San Diego Comic-Con.

We all just want to feel connected

One of the most salient messages of so many comic books and science fiction novels, films and TV shows is the notion of feeling included. Traditionally creators and fans of this style of entertainment have been outsiders; nerds searching for their own sense of belonging. Naturally, a lot of their content is designed around these same themes. Think X-men, or even Superman, the ultimate outsiders, desperate to feel included. The cool thing is that because Comic-Con created an event designed to make people feel included, more and more people have found their voice and place.

This is a great lesson for us. Create content, services, products with the intention of including, rather than excluding. When your audience feels connected, they will return to you and bring their friends.

If you build it, they will come

Comic-Con and its brother and sister events around the US are designed to connect their audiences to the latest, greatest and most interesting activities, products and events. They do their research and understand what their audience is looking for. With that research, they build more and more impressive events every year. They’ve created something that more and more people want to be a part of, and now cosplaying and mainstream blockbuster fans stand side by side in applause for an event well created.

Research. Understand. Create. Engage.

When you create a product, a piece of content or a service people genuinely want, they’ll come to you. But, as Joss Whedon said, “Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”

Be confident without being cocky

Back in 1970, the founders of Comic-Con were wildly searching to nab some impressive industry types to add a little spark to the convention. According to Rolling Stone, they’d tracked down Sci Fi legend and Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury and were angling for him to attend. When Bradbury agreed, for the scary equivalent fee of US$30,000, the boys were stuck. Still, in its infancy and without a real purpose, they were in the unique position of establishing the convention as a not for profit – so without thought, that’s what they became. Bradbury came for free. They saw an opportunity and jumped, adapted and changed to get where they needed to.

It’s so important to be confident in your capability. If something seems out of your realm, don’t immediately close your mind to it – learn, adapt and work to expand your capability.

Embrace change

Comic-Con was built by a group of comic book dreamers, intent on creating an engaging experience for fans. What that involved as evolved a thousand times in the last 47 years and as a result, its popularity just keeps rising. One sad story told in the Rolling Stone article is that of founder Sheldon Dorf. Dorf was instrumental in networking and schmoozing the right people to get the convention off the ground. Many nod to him as the creator and ideas behind it all. But Dorf was also a jealous man, set in his ways and approach. As Comic-Con grew, Dorf isolated himself and refused to change. While the convention soared, Dorf licked his wounds and walked away.

We all need to remember that times, needs and ideas change. We know from the giant splash made by social media and digital communications that people change the way they communicate. As business owners, we need to be able to move with those needs. Just because the same old has worked until now, does NOT mean it will tomorrow.

The cyclical nature of trends – keeping up with the…who even knows who to keep up with anymore

The final lesson we are taking away from the success of Comic-Con is about awareness. Awareness of the ever changing, ridiculous and cyclical nature of trends. It’s important to understand what is trending and where. It’s important to understand what people are following and illustrating your knowledge of those things. But you know what else? Trends come and go. Comic-Con has built itself on the notion that fandom, whatever form it takes, is valid and cool in some way.

By all means, find a way to connect with your audience. Let your passion and your interests and your knowledge guide that. Authenticity matters more than manufactured trends.

content marketing, copywriting, digital copywriting, editing, freelancing, invoicing, research, sub-editing

Re-introducing – Make it Peachy

The last couple of months has been both exciting and mildly terrifying. Where once upon a time, it was just little old me, Peach, out in the desolate land of freelancing, fending for myself, I’ve made some pretty significant changes. My exquisitely talented husband Jeremy (who hails from years banging the business development drum) has come on board to help me turn Make it Peachy into a business we can be even more proud of.

Country copywriters with the city smarts

After years happily ensconced in the hamster wheel of city life, we have made the bold choice to step away. Not from the service, expertise or clients – our city based clients are some of our most loyal and down to earth. Rather away from the sea of inauthentic pretension that sometimes seeps in.

We have moved ourselves and our little business headquarters to the country. Reflecting the relaxed, beautiful and grounded atmosphere down here, we want our clients and future clients that we are the real deal. We want to get to know you and your brand and we want you to feel comfortable and confident in our relationship.

Just don’t mistake our authentic approach as out of touch or soft. We have the skill, the know-how and the spunk to manage the big guns just as smoothly as we manage the smaller local businesses.

Small team with huge capability

I have worked with some extraordinary people in my many years of communication. I have faced the self-righteous bullies head on and had the pleasure of building incredible relationships across a range of industries. When I decided to grow, I decided there was one thing I would not compromise on. People.

The small team I have built around me is dedicated, talented and ready to take on anything and everything. They are respectful, efficient and entirely reliable. On top of that, you can always have confidence that if my team says they can do something, rest assured it will be done.

We work with clients who are looking for a like-minded approach. If you’re looking for respect, transparency, talent and efficiency – Make it Peachy is on hand to deliver.

Our focus is service – local or remote

I want to make it clear – for me Make it Peachy is all about service. We want to help you communicate your brand, purpose and message with clarity and authority. Understanding who you are and delivering as best we can is how we operate.

Whether you are a local business, looking to expand your presence, or you’re based in a major city a thousand kms away, our team of experts will be there to take you to the next level.

Our boots fit just fine

Because I’ve had the privilege of working in such a variety of industries, I’ve been lucky enough to learn and grow from every experience. I’ve seen arrogance and over-confidence ruin business. I’ve seen a lack of conviction do the same thing.

It’s why I continue to work incredibly hard to hone my craft, build the skills of my team and show a united and confident front at all times.

Join us now and reap the rewards

I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve built so far and am more than excited about what is to come. We’ve got some exceptional ideas, some remarkable talent and a commitment to build ongoing, local and remote relationships.

Why not give us a call, or email now and find out how we can help you, Make it Peachy!

copywriting, digital copywriting, editing, freelancing, invoicing, Uncategorized

Billing when freelancing – overcoming the awkwardness

The decision to become a freelance writer was one of the best I’ve made (along with agreeing to marry my husband and making my most excellent child). It’s provided me with freedom, independence, autonomy and most importantly the power to choose with whom I work. Gone are the days of fighting for recognition, negotiating workplace bullies and pandering to other people’s expectations of what a workday looks like. The added bonus? I get to hang out with my kid a couple of days a week, something I feel extraordinarily lucky to do.

For the past four years, I have been lucky (and maybe a little talented) enough to build a comfortable part time business and worked with some pretty fantastic people to boot. While my business grows, and I consider how to elevate it to the next level I have been reflecting on some of the challenges I faced. Don’t get me wrong, as much as I love what I do, there have been challenges. The most salient of which continues to cast a shadow over me. A shadow I fight instincts to overcome.

What is this shadow, you ask? Getting paid. Yup! I have always found the whole process overwhelming and I wish I had someone to give me some tips.

money-in-purse-1237221

First things first – what do I charge?

As I have come to understand, there are countless reasons a contractor might amend their rate card. Whether it be industry, not-for-profit status, offering a package or even throwing in the occasional ‘mate’s rates’, the factors are plenty. As a consequence, not many contractors and freelancers will publish their rates.

As a newbie to freelancing, or even just freelancing to a particular industry, attempting to navigate your way to the perfect hourly rate can be tough. If you aim too high, you’ll get undercut. If you aim too low, people may assume you don’t have a quality product. Locating that Goldilocks rate can be a minefield.

My advice? Do your research before you start quoting. Make a few cursory calls, ask others in your industry, find out what the agents pay. Beyond everything, be confident that your product is worth it.

Stick to your guns – don’t second guess yourself

You’ve finally locked down your rate and even managed to bag a client. Congratulations! Now, stop negotiating. People will always try and get a deal, and if they think they can scrimp another dollar from you, they will. I’ve had clients come to me, halfway through a job, attempting to slide that rate just ‘ever so slightly’ lower. It’s a damn slippery slope. As much as the Pollyanna inside me wants to believe that no one would try and cheat a humble sole trading freelancer, my experience sadly tells me another story.

You are talented. You have the skills. More importantly, you’ve agreed on a rate. As hard as it is, keep that foot firmly on the ground and do not waver. Interesting side note, after I rejected the further discount, the client never brought it up again. Clients worth their weight will respect you more.

Undercharging – it doesn’t pay off the way you think

As with sticking to your rate, charging a client for the right amount of hours is also a tricky one. I always knew that overcharging was a bad move. Not only can it breed bad blood, but it’s just not the right thing to do. What I didn’t learn until I was on the job was the risk of undercharging.

You think to yourself, “Oh I’ll just absorb this cost because it’s a one off”, or “If I undercharge them, they’re more likely to give me more work”. I wish it were that simple.

You under charge, you set a very sketchy precedent. Expectations will be that you deliver at the lower rate every time. While that may make you feel good about yourself, it doesn’t really put food on the table. By all means offer discounts and packages; they can often be your bread and butter. Just don’t put yourself in a position that you can’t then bill your client what you are owed.

Invoicing and following up

Yikes! What a minefield! Asking people for money is awkward as heck.

Do you ever get that totally unjustified wave of guilt when you walk through a metal detector at the airport? I sometimes get that same weird guilt about invoicing people, especially when we’ve developed a rapport. For those who find it as awkward as I do, you’ve got to remember your service/product is valuable. You’ve earned those dollars. Your clients know it, and shock horror, expect it. Invoice and invoice regularly.

If your clients are dragging their feet on paying, remember that’s awkward for them not you. Don’t feel bad about following up.