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THE CULT OF DONE MANIFESTO

It is an original piece from Bre Pettis and Kio Stark – under Creative Common.

For me it is a reminder that done is better than perfect, and no matter how creative you want to be there is a point where actual delivery matter more than potential awesomeness .

Here it is:

The Cult of Done Manifesto

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.

 

The Cult of Done

 

 

 

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Remote preparation for your next networking travel – Hustle Hacks 101

So you want to grow your network and are prepared to travel for it – or the other way around – you are travelling to a remote place and you see this as an opportunity to network and grow your base.

You will be town for a day or two, maybe a week maximum, and you want to see how to find the right people and the right event to get on your agenda and make the best out of your trip.

This article is for you.

What I will cover here is just how to prepare the networking itself – filling up your agenda – not necessarily the logistics of travelling or using your travel as part of building your brand – that will be for an other article.

This is also not an article on sales technics. If you do not know how to approach people, check this article.

Ok, back to our concern, filling up your agenda.

Stripped down to the bare essential,  you need to:

  1. Find interesting events – signup and go there and meet interesting people
  2. Find interesting people and set up a meeting with them

Find interesting events

Define interesting first.
Once you know what interesting looks like, translate into keywords.

Entrepreneurship, design, Startup, Tech or anything that you are into, be it social activists gathering, or business breakfasts for HR leaders, just find your thing.

Then go to a place where you can look for events:

Just check which one works best for your needs. Meetups are pretty common in most area I have checked, closely followed by EventBrite, but I have had nice surprises on Facebook too.

Meetup.com

 

Doorkeeper seems to be hot in japan. Funzing have a surprisingly good hebrew interface, Citysocializer is a more about big towns in the world. Reddit has a bunch of local subreddits for towns.

Whatever site you want to use, just pick a few events to go to, and use this as an opportunity to shake some hands and get a feel of the place.

Reddit is also an option to check

Reddit is also an option to check

Now that let’s keep filling up the agenda with some in-person meetings.

For this part, you need interesting individuals (I will leave you to decide what interesting means.)

So here are some tips on how to get to them:

1. Reverse engineer your events

In the previous steps, you have selected a bunch of events you like, right? Well, chances are that, depending on the even site you used, that you can see who else is coming at this event, or even who is coming regularly.

Meetup leaders

In which case, grab yourself a coffee and let the digging start:

  • check the profiles
  • google their names
  • find them on linkedIn, or on twitter
  • maybe they have personal website with a contact form
  • or they work at some place and you can contact their secretary…

Then get in touch with them, present yourself and ask for a coffee.

2. Ask for introductions

Introductions can be awesome. You can ask people you know, but you can also use twitter to reach to some people you know have a large network and they will simply retweet your request and some people will reach out to you.

Get intros

You might be surprised…

3. Use the company registers

Depending of the kind of people you are looking to meet, checking the company register of the area can be a good idea if you want to find founders or CEOs of companies within your vertical.

Corporate register

 

4. Twitter

Obvious, but under-used. Just go to advanced search, and select the place in which you are searching.

 

Twitter advanced search

 

 

Again, here I am not giving you much help on how you can sell them why they should meet you, and I know it can be hard to figure out how to approach people, but really you should keep it simple and say straight what you want from the go and if they are cool with that, then they’ll meet.

It does not have to be super complicated – you are in town and you want to meet interesting people, you like their company, or their book, or the industry in which they operate, and you want to have lunch with them or get to know more their company or their ideas on something or whatever… just be you and meet people who will take you as you are.

 

If you really need some help, check these out:

 

A few more tips

1. Don’t forget to send a confirmation the same day or the day before

We all get busy, and forget things from time to time. A quick email/tweet to tell them you cannot wait to meet them will be appreciated for sure.
2. Be the one who move

Avoid setting up meetings where you have to wait for someone to join you at some place. It is better if you are the one who comes to them. Find an excuse to pick them up, or meet them at their office, this kind of things.

Just move your ass

This will just prevent you from getting dumped. Because people get lazy, and skip meetings. They just do. Why getting out in the cold if they can just forget about you and keep doing what they are doing anyway. Nothing personal, just more convenient this way. But if you are the one to meet them, they don’t need to leave the warm environment of their office and you increase your chances of not being cancelled.

Of course it is not always possible to get such a set up nor is it always necessary but always good to keep this in mind.
3. Think about the day after

Networking is great but very often people do not keep in touch after they discuss, and not because they don’t want to, it is just not as much a priority anymore, life goes on and you forget.

 

Building a network takes time and require regular communication. This is why be ready for the follow up,  simply thanking them the day after for giving you some of their time, either by email or on social media.

It is a simple thing to do. Just to do not forget to do it.

 

Wrapping up

Not much more to say actually. You now know where to look for people and events, you even got a few links to tip you on how to introduce yourself.

Now, it is your turn to work. Take the time you need and fill up this agenda.

Of course, all this research and all this work is quite time-consuming, but hey, no pain – no gain.

Like you expected something else…

Make your meetings more efficient

Meetings can suck your time and your life.

But… that is still also one of the best way we know to actually coordinate with each other and make sure agreements flows into an organisation.

Yet, when you call for a meeting you can still make sure your time will be well used by creating a frame within which the conversation will happen.

Meetings

What do you need this meeting for?

A meeting about a topic in general is not good enough for people to really prepare to your meeting (we assume people want to come prepared to your meeting).

So are you trying to:

  • kickstart a project / an event
  • solve a problem
  • define a strategy
  • agree on an issue
  • Get feedback
  • Share experiences (debriefing post-event for instance).
  • Create a political space for people to vent

Once you know what you want to achieve during the meeting, get more precise:

Kickstart the project / an event

Probably you are gathering the team that will work on this event – so you can either send the list of roles before hand or if you do not have it yet, then define as an outcome : to have a list of roles.

Maybe you need to create a schedule for the event, then define it as an outcome : to produce a schedule.

Or, as an alternative, someone can be tasked to provide a suggestion and then your meeting is a review meeting where the outcome is an approved schedule.

Solving a problem

Are there materials that participants can read before the meeting?

Was there a email conversation that should be shared with the participants?

Can you create context around the problem?

What does the solved problem looks like? (hints: an approved budget, people hugging, a decision made…)

Define a strategy

Is someone responsible to present a strategy at the meeting?

Can you send ahead of time the materials that should be read to help understand what are the constraints on the strategy?

What is the time span for this strategy?

How critical is everyone to be in the meeting?

Can two people take the responsibility to create a strategy document instead and present it to the rest of your team – turing the meeting into a shorter maybe more efficient review meeting?

Agree on an issue

What is the problem and where are the disagreements?

Can you provide a brief of the pros and cons on the issue before the meeting?

Can you formulate the issue as a question?

This way, people could think about it before the meeting.

Define the type of meetings

It may help – to frame your meeting as a :

  • Kickstart meeting
  • Review meeting
  • Update meeting
  • Conflict-resolution meeting
  • etc.

And define your deliverables as an outcome

  • A task list
  • A schedule
  • A strategic decision
  • A list of role/responsibilities
  • An project updates summary
  • A list of problem to solves
  • A list issues to take in consideration
  • etc.

 

Conclusion

All these are just general examples, but the point is that you want people to come ready and know the meeting was left with a clear progress – so try to frame your progress as deliverables that are produced by the end of the meeting.

3 Myths about WordPress

Here are three myths about WordPress that really annoy the sh*t out of me because they are just so outrageously outdated and so misinformed that it 100% piss me off to still hear such BS said in meetings – especially when it comes from the IT guy in a company.

However, I know it is counter-productive to shout at people for things they do not know, especially when they act out of lack of knowledge and are just repeating what some other uninformed person told them – so I thought it would be better for me to write about it and email it calmly to people (while pressing that “Send” button with rage…)

#1 WordPress is just a blog

Right, until 2004 WordPress used to be a blog only platform – They have introduce pages in 2005 more than 10 years ago.

what_year_is_it

Breaking news: Technology is evolving.

Like your phone used to be attached to a wall with a cable and you could barely hear the sound properly when doing oversee call, today you can watch videos on it and literally switch on the air conditioning with it.

phones

This is called progress… Deal with it.

#2 Wordpress does not work with high traffic

(Variant : WordPress does not work with more than XXXX users.)

Nope Nope Nope.

I don’t even know how not to curse on this one, but let’s try to keep cool and explain:

WordPress like any other piece of software on the web is running on a piece of hardware, commonly called a server – usually provided by a hosting company.

Server room

A server room – natural habitat of sysadmins

This server has a certain capacity – defined by its processor and its RAM and its configuration – the more horsepower you put into the thing, the more you can handle traffic/users/hits/etc.

End of story.

Today you will find more and more WordPress websites running with 10 millions hits per month.

vip-logos

Brands working with WordPress include major high-traffic websites like :

  • TED
  • Techcrunch
  • Time magazine
  • Fortune.com
  • CNN espagnol
  • NewYork post
  • USA Today
  • Quartz
  • etc.

You can go and check by yourself the list of VIP sites that are using WordPress here.

Actually, the biggest is probably wordpress.com running a version of WordPress multi-site, with close to 6 millions blogs, and it’s working pretty damn fast.

If your WordPress site doesn’t work fast enough – then what you need a decent server and a sysadmin who knows what he is doing.

#3 – WordPress isn’t secured

 

 

Riiiiight… Compared to … what?

See, security is one of these things everyone like to talk about as if they knew anything about it.

WordPress, just like anything in the digital world, has security flaws which are fixed regularly since it benefits from a massive community providing feedback and regular checks and code updates.

Security flaws are a thing since the internet is around, and they are still a thing – and this include other CMS like Drupal, Joomla and others, as well as very secured systems like Unix and Linux and unsurprisingly Windows OS…

I mean, come on ! Yahoo and LinkedIn (just to name these two) were hacked not so long ago… And no, they did not use WordPress.

Security online is like security on the road : there is not such thing as 100% security and car accidents can always happen – so you need to be careful and monitor the road, but it really help to use a recent car that is properly well taken care of.

That’s why proper configuration and implementation of security best practice is what will make your site secure, not your CMS.

It is like saying which car is more secured – BMW or Volkswagen – it makes no sense. It is how you drive and the traffic you will be into much more than the brand of your car.

Conclusion

A CMS job is to help you manage your content online – and WordPress is doing a great job at it.

For everything else, you will need to use the proper tools to get it. Performance and security require to deploy the know-how to keep your stuff safe and fast, and it can be achieved on WordPress or any other piece of software out there.

So next time you hear these things said in a meeting, please forward them this article.

Thanks.

 

 

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Time Management – Hustle Hack 101

Yes, procrastination sucks, but it is part of life, stop complaining about it and do something about it.


Here are some tips I am using myself or have used at some point and have helped me along the way.

Start somewhere with a schedule for your days with objectives

Achieving your goals assumes you have defined some, and if your day is not going as you want, probably worth thinking what was that you wanted on the first place, what were you goals for the day, and what did you plan to achieve that you didn’t do. Because if you don’t make goals, that’s the best way to fail at meeting them.

 

Claim back your time by cutting your meetings in half

Yes meetings are important – but if you try to cut the chase in the meeting and get to a conclusion in half the time, you’d be surprised how much blabla and useless talk can go into a meeting and you’d be able to achieve more.

 

Gain clarity by defining clear deliverables

It is what you create not what you do that matter.

Focus on the outcomes, not on the activities.

People do not care what you did all day, if there are no results.

What is the result of your work?

Can it have a tangible form?

These are questions you may need to ask yourself from time to time.

These outcomes can be :

  • an email produced
  • an presentation
  • an article
  • or report.
  • etc.

It is also okay to explore, especially when you do not know what you need to do or produce, especially true when you deal with some innovative and creative process, when you are not sure, you need to think, so you spend a lot of time researching.

But even this can be structured in a deliverable:

  • it can be a list of materials you gathered
  • it can be made into a blog post
  • it can be a zip file, with a bunch of PDF for reuse.

Anyway, when you feel your time is going away with no result, it can be useful to clarify the deliverables.

Get your focus back with the pomodoro technic

Just check Wikipedia:

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro\_Technique

TL;DR
Set up a 25 min timer – work focused during this time.

Then set up a 5 min break to reward yourself and then do it again.

Can’t get the Pomodoro thing to work?

Try any of these any other focus-driven method:

The 1-3-5 method
http://jasono.co/2013/08/25/why-the-pomodoro-technique-doesnt-work-for-me/

The 2-min rule
http://jamesclear.com/how-to-stop-procrastinating

The 50-10 rule
https://theproductivephilosopher.wordpress.com/tag/the-5010-rule/

The 10-min rule
http://www.naomiliddell.com/10-minute-rule-do-the-work/

 

Time is a question of importance

In the end time management is a question of importance

In the end, it is all question of importance. You lose time because you don’t care enough about your time to take your day seriously and make every minute count.

 

Finally watch this :

David Allen has broken down the science of productivity into a method he called GTD – for getting things done. It is based on real scientific data, originally from some work done by the the NASA on stress. I am a big fan of his work personally and would strongly recommend you get his book.

Meanwhile you can watch a talk he gave at Google a while ago but which is to me still one of the best out there:

Getting things done – David Allen at Google:

 

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So you want to sell stuff online

Selling online has the highest profit margin.

It’s also one of the cheapest way to sell direct to consumer at scale.

That’s also why it is growing rapidly over the past 5 years, and it will keep growing as the world is going increasingly digital.

So, if you want to make the jump to ecommerce and sell online, let’s have a look at what you want to consider before you build anything.

 

ecom-00

Product

First what do you sell? How many products are we talking about? One, a dozen, a few thousands?

The quantity of products type will impact the choice of your system. The more products, the more complex the design, and the more robust the system you will need.

Then how about your inventory? How much inventory do you need to manage? Do you need to integrate inventory management into the ecommerce system, or you will deal with it manually?

Then shipping, who pays for it? The customer or yourself? Do you need to calculate the price of shipping in real time or is it a fixed price?

Or maybe, you just don’t have inventory at all, and you sell informational products? Maybe online courses? Or ebooks?

Putting this together will help you to get a better picture of what you need.

Anything can be sold online, some people even sell hugs in a box 🙂 you just have to package it properly and build the right system behind it.

Price

Once you have wrapped your head around products, and delivery, it is time to have a look at your how the pricing is working? :

  • How do you handle discounts?
  • Do you sell world-wide?
  • How about currency? Do you sell in one or in multiple currency?
  • Have you a different price policy depending on the country in which you sell (geo-pricing)?
  • Do you collect VAT ?

ecommerce-prices

Customers

Do you have customers? Well, you better have some at some point!

So how do you plan to manage your customer relationships ? Do you have a CRM? Do you plan to use one? Do you want to integrate it automatically with your ecommerce website? Do you want to offer a signup process and maybe a membership area for returning customers?

All your customers speaks the same language or do you need a multi-lingual site?

How do plan to handle transactional emails (confirmation emails, welcome emails, etc.)? Do you want your brand in there? What system do you use today to email your customers? Can you integrate it with your ecom platform?

Marketing

ecommerce-marketing

You don’t have customers? Or you want more? Get your digital communication in order: set up a landing page, make a marketing map, launch a paid campaign on social media, analyse your conversion, there is plenty of things to do to get your marketing together.

Set up the marketing campaign is not a requirement when you work on your ecommerce platform, yet it is quite important and might have an impact on how you build your ecommerce site, so think about it now, even if you don’t execute on it yet.

 

 

Choose a platform

ecom-platforms

Use a marketplace

Not even a shop yet, but a place where you can put your products up to sell and find customers. It’s not optimal but it is an option you might want to consider in some cases.

We are talking here about Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/) or Facebook Marketplace, Ebay or Amazon.

It provides a solution for you to sell your product, but it is very transactional, not much place for building up the perceived value of the product. Also, you sit next to the competition.

So, it is cost effective but you don’t get much in terms of features and options.

Might not be the best solution, but if you want to bootstrap with zero overhead, it can be a good way to get started.

Hosted solutions

These solutions do not require to have your own server, or to care about payment solutions, they deliver you a site working out of the box. The main benefit is speed and simplicity, good for small projects and can provide a good temporary solution until you build the cash you need to upgrade your site.

Big Cartel 

Website: https://www.bigcartel.com/

bigcartel

Built for makers, around for a while now, affordable, especially for small sellers, free up to 5 products, and can a be a good starting environment if you are just starting out.

Wix Ecommerce

Website: http://wix.com

wix

Already well known for its tool to build your own website in a few minutes, Wix has an ecommerce version which starts at 17 euro a month, not to bad has a great range of option for small stores.

Shopify

Website: shopify.com

shopify

A really good platform, if you are ready to give up some control on the platform hosting. Relatively quick setup, start at $29 and features includes unlimited products, 24/7 support and a website and a blog.

The design is really slick and we can do a bunch of customisations, but indeed you don’t get full control on the beast, it’s all into Shopify infrastructure which can become pretty limiting depending on what you want to do.

Self-hosted Solutions

When you want to get serious with your ecommerce solution, or that you want to get more control over you growth or your development, then it is time to get to a self hosted solution, which you totally own.

Woocommerce

Website: https://woocommerce.com/

woocommerce

WooCommerce is a free, open source ecommerce extension for WordPress. WooCommerce runs around 35% of all eCommerce sites, so it is quite a popular solution. It works well on small and large size stores (easy to set up for 1 product but will work with up to 25 000 products as well). It’s a pretty mature and very well supported solution by a large community.

By far one of the best solutions available, giving you all the flexibility of WordPress, a massive community of developers and designers and bunch of plugins to do nearly anything you want – and for the remaining things that would not come out of the box, you can add them to your system, since it is entirely customisable.

 

Other self-hosted solutions

The world of ecommerce has a large amount of solutions, so while Woocommerce is everyone’s favourite, you have other alternatives :

Magento – Enterprise ecommerce solution

A powerhouse for ecommerce, probably the leading products for major ecommerce projects, works well for major projects and large budgets.

Website: https://magento.com/

PrestaShop

PrestaShop is just an other open source solution on the market, with a relatively small community, but it is well and alive.

Website: https://www.prestashop.com/

Budget

Once you have a clearer view about what you want from your site, and somehow, you have given some thoughts about the platform you want to start on, then it is time to give a go at budgeting.

You get what you pay for. But you can pay with time, and do things yourself, if you feel you can or you can get someone to do it for you. (Side note: yes, I am potentially interested in your project, but that doesn’t mean I am not trying to give you my best advice here. I have no interest in you making bad decisions).

The D.I.Y approach

If you want to do it yourself, then you should probably use a marketplace or a hosted solution.

The Zero overhead Solution – go for marketplace

If you are really trying to save money and don’t have a penny to spend, then ebay can be a good fit, or amazon. But you do not get much space there to show case your products, so really the next best thing you can do, to get some exposure online to explain about your product is to get a free Wix website, and make the sales happen on Amazon. Keep in mind that having a website with no custom domain but a wix subdomain (like I-sell-donnuts-on-amazon.wix.com) is likely to affect perceived customer value and therefore lower your conversion rate, but hey, you need start somewhere, so it will do! When you make some money, try the hosted solution, and as soon as you can go and get the help of a professional.

The hosted solution – Shopify is your friend

So, in the case you don’t need much, you can probably learn how to use Shopify yourself and get started there or on Wix, use a template and make it happen on your own. Then time is the only asset you will need.

Your costs will be limited to buying a domain, paying for the package you take on the ecommerce platform, and the time you will have to invest.

A more professional approach

The DIY mentality is great when you start, but if you are a profitable business you need to take care of your growth and that will not work very long if you keep hacking your way around your online shop but never nail the job.

Worse even: you might think you have nailed the job, but you are doing a terrible job and you do not see what you are doing wrong.

I met not long a ago someone who owns a Chinese antiquities business, which he sells in store and online. The store is a perfect polish antiquities shop, very well designed and attractive, but it is empty 95% of the time. The online shop is thriving, actually bringing money but is run on a non-mobile friendly, old design done using tools that do not exist anymore (some old version of Microsoft FrontPage – a piece of software you can hardly find anymore) – his business could easily double in volume if he were able to see what is wrong with his site.

And he is not alone, the amount of ecommerce websites with bad design is incredible. As if people do not understand design is not just scrapping-some-pretty-photos-on-a-page-and-call-it-a-day, design is to reverse-engineer what your customer think, so you can build something that will help them make the decision to buy.

Anyway, if you are still reading, you probably want to know how much you will have to spend on professional services.

It depends where you come from, if you were in the previous scenario and you run a hosted website on Shopify, Wix or any other hosted platform, you might want to

  • stay there but improve the design.
  • Upgrade to self-hosted

Improve the design

A design project on Shopify usually starts around $1000 but count more in the $2000 minimum and for a good project, and it is totally okay if it runs into the $10 000. Of course these prices I am giving you are just a

Going self hosted

For a Woocommerce website, you will not find anything decent under $3000, unless your project is a really a no-brainer and you have all the text, images, and design ready and you just want it set up, then it’s just a technical job, but from experience, it is rarely the case.

So be aware that while making more preparation before your project will help you get a better price, and save you some bucks, trying to make the project looks simpler than it really is can lead to a bad evaluation of a project at the beginning, kill the project with you losing some money and some time.

Take the time required to be clear about what you think, and have a conversation with the person that will work together with you, so you can both align mutual visions on the project and make sure everything is understood.

How much should you spend?

This is more a business question, but I think it needs to be addressed in here as well. Ecommerce is here to make you money but you have to invest in the infrastructure.

How should you invest is really a question of how mature is your online business.I would advice to put around 10% of your annual gross margin into the  project, not much more, unless you are planning a strategic shift.

But that’s something to see in details, either in a separate article or in a chat.

Wrapping up

That’s it. I hope it helped. We have covered most of the aspects you need to think about when you plan your online store, in terms of products, prices, and customers. We have covered different platforms, and discussed budget. Next, I’ll make a guide for ecommerce project planning. Sign up to the newsletter to get an update when it is done.