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Business Strategy Session with Michael Hasson

Michael
I’m Michael Hasson, and I’m a one time graphic design in Central Florida, Orlando area, home of Mickey. I’ve been a print designer since the mid 80s. And so I’ve been doing web design with WordPress and hosting since about 2015. So I’m just trying to get more out of a print design situation, more into web design.

I have basically, one client that takes about 80% of my day, that’s mostly print work. So I’m trying to ultimately, a year from now, she’d be down to 20% and my web design business would be more prominent. So that’s my big goal.

Of the smaller issues that I have, are more like, I’ve got so many things that I want to do to further my position with a web design company, and I don’t really know, I have so many ideas and things flowing. I’m always on YouTube and always reading a tip here. And there’s always something Oh, yeah, yeah, let’s, you know, everything sounds great. I end up never actually doing anything and just sort of taking everything in.

So I did have some homework, I thought at least from my perspective for you, was I at least wanted to get my portfolio done on my website. So I did take care of that. That’s one victory I could say. I just thought it was a big mistake., all this time I’ve had a website and never had a portfolio. So I mean, who would hire you if they didn’t see at least a few samples of your work? So I took care of that. So I’m moving in the right direction.

Adela
I did have a look, it looks very good. There’s quite a few portfolios you’ve done on there.

Michael
Yeah, just a real quick, I want it to be really fast. You know, no one wants to sit there and read case studies about every single project you’ve ever done. It’s like they just want to click click, click, click Oh, yeah, this guy looks good. I’ll call them. That’s what I’m looking to do.

Adela
It sounds like you’re transitioning, because quite a few people are in this position, from the graphic design, print design, side of things going more digital. Did you have any strategy to, like you’ve already mentioned, reduce the client time of your print client, and then start onboarding more web design clients.

Michael
Do I have any strategies for that. The only real strategy that I have are to, I tend to be kind of a worker bee. I’m not really a busines, I mean I’m a business owner, but I’m not really in a business owner mindset. I’ve never had any formal training for business management or anything like that. The strategy has been to just, if I got more web clients, I would spend more time on it, and then I would have to push her back. That kind of thing. So not a real strategy no.

Adela
Okay. Yeah. sounds quite passive.

Michael
Very passive. Yeah. That’s part of the problem.

Adela
I mean, one idea, I did have a look at your website, one idea to consider if you became more strategic in so your messaging, and your target market, it makes it easier for people to connect with you. So for example, do you specialize in local bricks and mortar businesses in your local area for example? Are you speaking to that type of client? Or is that the kind of client that you want to work with?

So maybe going back to the beginning and thinking, who do I really want to work with? Who do I really want to serve? And now how do I reach them? Because something very common as we say, well, we’ll do everything for everyone. But then it’s very unclear for potential customers to connect with us. Because oh if you do everything, do you do what I need you to do?

So if you’re targeted, some people really specialize in working with coaches, or with product based businesses. It could be something to think about when you look at your website and your messaging, who do you want to reach out to? If you’re a more local based business, how will you attract those clients? How will you speak to them? Who are they?

Michael
I seem to do very well once I connect with people. And there’s a lot of people who don’t really know what they want, and I seem to help them a lot. And I really enjoy helping them a lot. So you know, an example current client I have is this lady just had this in her mind for 10 years, and unable to know what to do with this information to get her information out. I I didn’t really do anything all that fantastic. But the end result is, she’s got three or four web pages up. It’s not done yet. But she’s thrilled and I’m more than thrilled that she’s thrilled.

I really like helping people finishing their vision or getting a division out there. I’d really like to help local people who, I’d like to say on our website, maybe local is the thing to do, ‘I’ll get you more clients’. It’s just as simple as that I’ve been trying to simplify the message like just ‘I’ll help your business get more clients’. A little bit of imposter syndrome. I’m not really sure, I could do that, because I haven’t really done it for myself yet.

I’d say all of my website clients really were people who don’t really care too much about SEO, about finding new clients, it’s more like they need a place to put their thoughts, their, what they do, and just put it out there so that when they get a phone call or something, they can just send people to the website. And then they don’t have to keep repeating the same thing over and over again, about what they do in their business. So that’s, I haven’t really had someone come to me and say, ‘Look, I’m drowning here and need work, not drowning, but I’m going dry, I need work, I need clients help me’. And I want to say ‘I can do that’. But I don’t really know that I can.

Adela
Yes, I understand. An exercise that’s really useful. Because you know, I agree making a statement that potentially isn’t quite accurate about our business, it doesn’t sit well with with me, either. If you had thought about getting testimonials, or feedback, or reviews from your existing clients, that can really help give some clues of the top, say three really key things that you did for them. Because often when we’re just doing what we’re doing the things that we are very good at, they often come naturally to us. So they’re not that obvious, but other people can see. And that might give you just a few clues of words you could use, in your messaging, is it that you’re helping a business grow?

Michael
So read my reviews – ok.

Adela
Yeah, and it’s we all forget to do it. And it is one thing that I do say a lot Read the reviews, or ask for the reviews, because things change over time, especially if you’ve had long term clients, the things you’re doing now may be different. They may be appreciating you in different ways. And often clients don’t think, Oh, I must email Mike and let him know how great the website’s doing or how great businesses doing. That probably wouldn’t be top of mind for clients, but reaching out to them and just asking how things are going would you know, just ask – Would you leave a review?

And there’s so many different ways you can do that. I did a full session with someone actually just on asking for testimonials. Because there’s, you can have them on LinkedIn as reviews or as Google reviews. Or just like an email, short questionnaire you can send to people. Really what you’re comfortable with, which depends on the relationship that you have with your clients. And then of course, using them on the website, as I think you have some already, but using them more strategically, because the , it is the kind of difference between blowing your own trumpet, ‘oh I’m really wonderful at this’ or you showcase a client, their feedback they’ve givenand what successes you helped them achieve. So it’s more of the service piece, than it being all about how great you and your business is. You really celebrate how great your clients success is, and how great their business was. And it, because a lot of people will want to read testimonials about you to find out a little bit more about you.

Michael
Right, I have been focusing more on every time I complete a project or even when I’m in the middle of a project, say Hey, would you mind drop me a five star review and unfortunately got eight so far.

Adela
That’s good. Eight is not bad.

Michael
And they’re, you know, I almost knew what the clients were going to say about me pretty much because I understood at the end of the project, what I just did for them. So in a way, I almost know what they’re gonna say, That part is kind of cool, that I feel like I really wanted to help out.

I guess I’m a problem solver is what I like to think about myself. You know, I try to recognize what their problem is. And I fix it. I mean, maybe it’s your fault, where I spent too much time trying to fix things for them. So but yeah, so I have been pushing to get more reviews. I’m kind of stuck at eight, I can’t seem to get and try to, you know, a few other people just trying to get a few more at least. And I thought maybe through Google My Business, maybe if I focus on local businesses, they’ll see more local reviews, maybe put a post on Google My Business or something with a, I don’t know, a special or an offer or something. Because I do get this thing from Google My Business a lot that says, you know, you’ve gotten 187 reviews this month, or not reviews, views. And like, how does that happen? And not one single call or one single email. So maybe there’s something on Google My Business that I need to put, if they’re finding me there, they’re just not going to me for some reason, and maybe I just need to beef that up.

Adela
I think also, it’s important to understand these are a lot of the time these are impressions. So it’s not as straightforward as saying 150 people found you through Google My Business. But then they didn’t click through to your site. It’s very similar with on social media as well, you get these great reporting statistics coming through of impressions or hits or views and it is not, I would say, I would say it’s never accurate actually. I would go that far to say it’s never accurate. It gives you an idea, maybe of a direction that you can go in. It’s best to be cautious, because what can happen is you think you’re doing something wrong. Other people are coming to your site or not coming, what did you do wrong? I don’t think you are doing anything wrong, in that case. It’s just the nuances of Google.

Michael
Right. Right.

Adela
Does that make sense?

Michael
It does. Yeah, it does.

Adela
Because we can, we can spend a lot of time and attention on things like that as well, SEO, your search hits, impressions, but really, it’s one of these things, for me I put it under the label of tinkering. Like well let’s have a look at this, let’s have a look at this. And then we’re not doing the most important work, which is something that will be great.

Do you have an idea of what that might be? That’s probably the better question.

Michael
I tend to just go, it’s kinda like shiny objects syndrome. I tend to think it’s, I’ve got so many things that I want to work on, you know, on the website, or promotions or something. And I always seem to be searching for something that is, that all that for that moment, Ah, that’s it. And I do little pieces of each thing, maybe, and I never really get too far with it. Were I can’t seem to say, alright, this month, I’m going to start a Facebook for my business or, this month, I’m going to focus on my Google My Business profile, make sure that’s all up to date, or the only thing I was really able to focus on was I knew I had this meeting, I better have a portfolio ready. So that I don’t have to say to you, I don’t want my portfolio yet. So I can’t seem to focus on one thing, or which way to go.

Adela
That’s very common. So one suggestion, just draw a big circle on a big piece of paper, and write down the things that you feel are really core to your business, and that you really enjoy doing, and that you want more of. That you want to attract more of that type of business or type of activity. And then the other things that you’re doing, maybe that come under tinkering, put them on the outside. And just do it with a kind of sense of curiosity, what you might write down intuitively. And then when our eyes actually see that written down, some things can become quite clear of maybe just how many things are inside the circle, or how many things you’ve put outside the circle, because you’re not really that passionate, and enthusiastic about those tasks.

And that can start giving you more focus on – Okay, focus more on these tasks. Inside the circle, imagine that is inside your life, inside your business. And everything outside, deprioritize them. You don’t have to let them go forever.

Michael
Right.

Adela
Some people worry, but I might want to do that again, you can do it again, just for now. Try and reduce the time on, I’ll just put it all under tinkering is a very common fun word as well, so we don’t have to be so very serious about the whole thing. Like just put the tinkering outside.

Michael
I’m a master tinkerer.

Adela
Serious stuff in the middle, because I think if you’re working more than 40 hours a week, that’s one thing I would put on my list to address, unless you really love working 80 hours a week. How could you get down to 40 hours a week? Well, one thing might be to identify those tinkerings.

And the other thing and I say this with, you know, a sense of, we’ve all done this, we hoard courses, it’s a really common thing to do. We hoard courses and then they sit there like a burdenon a never ending task list.

Michael
Right.

Adela
And that could be, if you take a separate piece of paper, because the one we’ve done has probably got a bit crowded, put the courses on there, the ones you want to finish, and then the ones that can wait because they’ll be there, you know, lifetime access courses are always going to be there.

Michael
Right.

Adela
And maybe finish the one you feel is the most important, but don’t do anything else until you finish it. And then look at the others, because we’ve all done it and we all buy course bundles, and I don’t know about you, sometimes there’s a sense that we feel more productive because we’ve bought all these courses.

Michael
Yeah.

Adela
But what we’re doing is increasing our workload exponentially.

Michael
It’s like a mental checkoff in my mind. I’m like, Hey, I made progress. I bought a course. Move on to the next thing, and you never go back to opening the course.

Adela
Yeah, I mean, I’m sure someone’s written books about this. I mean, because it’s very, very common. So it’s – identify the one that you think you want to finish. Or that maybe you’ve just got the last little bit to do, so you can give yourself a proper tick and say, Yes, I finished that. And this is what I got out of it, and then implement some things.

And then maybe have like a course holiday and say, right for the next three months I’m not going to do any more courses. I’m just going to implement what I’ve learned from that one.

Michael
Ah. Okay.

Adela
It’s about that balance of – what are you bringing in giving you more work when your hours are going up, and your business is sort of taking second place? So how do we how do we turn that around?

Michael
Right, right. Even just knowing this meeting was coming up, I started getting myself a little more organized.

Adela
A lot of people work very well if they have an accountability partner, or accountability buddy, because when someone else knows, like today, you knew I was going to be speaking to you, so it gave you some motivation to do something. And it’s interesting, another person can really help motivate us.

Is there someone you could partner with, that you maybe met with once a week? In-person is great, or even just through an email accountability system, because they’re knowing what actions you have that week, or what your goals are that week, just the 1 2 3 high level, these are three key things I wanted to get done this week. And then you can meet up, and then you can have someone else see, if you’ve hit a speed bump, maybe they can just encourage you to keep going. Or maybe you’ve actually achieved everything ,because I know from my experience, as soon as someone else knows I need to do something I’m like – Alright, I’m I’m doing it no more excuses.

Michael
It’s like a whole different level. Yeah.

And what I’m looking for is accountability. I’m looking for someone to check in with me, just like you said, once a week. Alright, here’s what you should be doing this week, I’m going to check on you next week. It did work, you’re right, that does work.

Adela
This is someone you could reach out to because that would be a very clear action from just from today, just reach out to someone. Because I’ve had very similar conversations, accountability really works for me. And I think I might I mentioned on my training, leading masterminds and smaller groups where it’s very business focused. It’s not really talking about, my cat, their dogs. It’s a focused hour of how to move the needle, how to get over the speed bumps.

Sometimes we just need someone to listen. Sometimes we need a sounding board. We don’t even need someone to tell us what to do, really. I mean, you know what to do. It’s just finding the path ,and the steps, and how to map out what you need to do. You know it all yourself already.

Michael
Yes.

Adela
When we are in so a small group up to four people, I would say you have an hour to help reflect. And then over time, if you have patterns that reoccur, that maybe you’re not seeing, they may be able to point them out to you and say, Well, did you do that tinkering thing again? Or, you were going to go in this direction, what happened? You went over there?

Michael
Right.

Adela
Give yourself a clean slate. Say okay, from today onwards, from this meeting onwards, this is how I’m going to approach my tinkering, how I’m going to approach my tasks. This is how I’m going to approach my business. Everything that’s happened before we can let it go. We don’t have to carry that all with us. Because that that can stop us making any progress because we’re thinking yeah, but I’ve got all this backlog to catch up on. I can’t possibly do that and drive my business forwards.

Michael
That’s a good idea.

Adela
So these are just slight mindset shifts that may be useful to stop you getting on appsumo and buying another app, a productivity app.

Michael
Right. I need a productivity app to keep track of all my productivity apps.

Adela
I’m a spreadsheet person. You need a spreadsheet to manage your spreadsheets and then you know, I might be in trouble.

Michael
Right.

Adela
I’m mindful of the time so I hope that’s helped unpack a few things for you and given you a slight direction of a few things that you can try to help growing your business in the direction that you would like it to grow, instead of being buffered by the tides.

Michael
Right, right. Yes. Thank you. Great.

Adela
You’re welcome. Thankyou.

I seem to do very well once I connect with people. And there’s a lot of people who don’t really know what they want, and I seem to help them a lot. And I really enjoy helping them a lot.

Michael Hasson

Owner, On Time Design Studio

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