Tag Archives: Business Tips

How to Get Clients to Value Your Time

Nancy McCord is a Google and Bing Partner
Nancy McCord is a Google and Bing Partner

Can you teach others to value your time? Yes, you sure can. I have been in business since 2001 and over time my business and client load and demand for my services have grown significantly.

As a business professional who makes a living off of time billing, I have learned a few things about helping clients learn to value my time.

Use Calendly
I use an appointment calendaring app called Calendly. I started out with the free version of Calendly but now use the premium paid version. This app moved me from one to six emails (for each client) to schedule a mutually available time for client strategy calls to now one email with a link and the client self-selects a time and even gets automated reminders.

I even use Calendly for pre-paid consulting appointments, linking the notifications in the app to my billing page to get payment before I even get in the car.

Rarely Talk on the Phone Except by Appointment
Most of my correspondence is done by email. I have voice mail messages letting clients and prospects know the best and fastest way to get me is by email. I typically send all my phone calls to voice mail. This puts me in charge of my day and time allowing me to be highly productive.

Set Email Auto Responder Messages
If I am super busy and not available to react immediately to an email, I set up a “vacation” notice that I am super busy that day and list the times I will be checking email. I will always respond that same day, but sometimes am tied up on a code issue, SEO problem, or AdWords program set up. Interruptions on some of these projects kill the thought continuum and are serious  distractions. When I am working on a project I have a laser-beam focus and operate at a high level of efficiency and competency. Calls distract from that focus.

By communicating when I will respond, I assure clients that I will touch base back. I do however perform triage. If there is a disaster happening – I will stop my project to help. I do have a strong sense of urgency when it comes to assuring that your site is up and fully functional or that a real time sensitive problem is addressed quickly.

Set Limits on Free Services
Although I am willing to freely share my thoughts and time with prospects, I do limit the time I will spend without moving into a paid client category. I do clock all my time chatting with a prospect. Typically at the end of 30 minutes I will go and then followup by email with a request to move to a paying client category. I have been burned a number of times and now I do value my own time. The most important thing I have found is if you do not value your own time, clients will not value it either.

That being said, you do not have to be rude, pretentious, or full of yourself by setting limits and guiding customers on how best to use your services effectively. I always try to be helpful yet focused.

In all I do, I work hard to provide value for clients and work to save them time and money. If you are looking for an expert to help with your SEO, content strategy, or Internet Marketing Program using Google AdWords, contact my by email at nancy@mccordweb.com.

 

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SMS Scheduler Reviewed

Nancy McCord is a Google and Bing Partner
Nancy McCord is a Google and Bing Partner

SMS Scheduler is a productivity time saver for me. I wanted to share with you why I use it. No, I am not being paid by the app owner to write this. I am just a fan.

I have four remote working employees. Although we use TeamUp, my staff is busy and this is not a full-time job for them. I have found that by sending scheduled text messages about deadlines on a schedule and reminder notices on a schedule, I keep my remote staff focused on meeting my project deadlines.

I found the app for Android in the Google Play store. I am sure they have a version for iPhone as well. Make sure when you do your installation that you follow the brief but important instructions on how to override a setting so the app will work.

Here are several examples of texts I sent to my staff on specific due dates.

Your social media is in. Please have your loads done by Sunday night.

Make sure you do topics and loads today, as well as WordPress loads.

Please make sure you have updated TeamUp with a new date or mark your things as done.

My staff just finally figured out that I was using an automated messaging service, as I do change the messages. But for me, having reminders scheduled has allowed me to let go of some of the important follow up tasks and spend more time on client projects.

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What to Do When You Get a Credit Card Decline for Your Services

Nancy McCord
“Just Nancy” – My Point of View for Today.

Credit card decline! Those are words that any business owner hates to hear, but it happens to all of us. When you get a credit card decline for your services here are some tips to quickly resolve the problem.

Be Nice – Always
I have found that sometimes a credit card decline is due to a security issue. Maybe the card was lost or compromised and the customer did not remember to advise you. Be open to the fact that it may be a very simple issue to resolve.

I always send a nice positive note with a request for a new card for my services. Typically if you hear back from the client within a day it is typically something that will be quickly resolved.

Deal with the Problems – Quickly
It is the clients that will not return a note or phone call that typically has run into a cash flow issue. For my firm, we stop services when we do not get a response, as the debt can grow quickly and end up as a write off. You have the most leverage to resolve a problem when an issue is handled quickly.

Make sure that if you have a contract that you cover what happens when a client does not pay. I have learned from experience that if you continue services on a payment promise that your write off will typically end up much bigger.

Change Terms – For Problem Payers
In our agreement for services, we spell out what happens when a client has a credit card decline, resolves, it and continues buying. We move clients like this to a prepayment basis or retainer. Some services we provide are not impacted significantly with a delay in payment, but other services are hugely impacted. Know your own needs and cover the situations in your agreement that all clients must sign to start your services.

Is It Worth It?
In some cases when you receive multiple declines, and it is clear that there is a cash flow problem,  you must take time to evaluate if you would like to continue to work with a client.  Each business situation is different. Just know that trying to collect on a debt is very, very difficult. Suing is not a realistic option and using a debt collector will cost a percentage of the debt and may never be collectible.

We all hate to lose a client, but a poor paying or non-paying client is typically more trouble than it is worth in the long run.

 

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Introducing Our Summer Intern, William McCord

William McCord, Our Summer Intern
William McCord, Our Summer Intern

William McCord, my 20 year old son, has joined the firm for the summer in a Computer Science internship.

William is a rising Junior in Computer Science with an interest in programming, GIS, and cyber security at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

With a passion for computer programming, he is already helping to implement and tweak complex scripts for AdWords account management as well as fine-tuning his HTML and CSS skills for website design.

This summer, he will be focusing on WordPress management, site design customization, website security, mobile-friendly e-newsletters, and AdWords script programming.

He is a incredibly fast learner, innovative, and a hard worker. We are excited to welcome him into our office.

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Why You Should NOT Host at GoDaddy – Part One

No! Never Host Your Website at GoDaddy!
No! Never Host Your Website at GoDaddy!

No, you should not host at GoDaddy. Consistent  website and email access are too important  and hosting at GoDaddy is not practical if you want to be in business 24/7.

Here’s What Happened to Me at GoDaddy

I have my play/test website www.mccordwebservices.com hosted at GoDaddy. My main website is hosted with Hostway and found at http://www.mccordweb.com. I got a notice from WordFence Premium that my website www.mccordwebservices.com was on the domain and email blacklist with Spamhaus.org, McAfee DNSBL, and CBL.Abuseat.org. These are important sites that Internet Service Providers (ISP) use to decide what sites and email to block. So that notification was labelled critical.

That means that if this had happened to be  my main business website any email I would have sent out using my email tied to my domain would have been bounced and set as undeliverable. On top of that the reputation of my business would be tarnished from being blacklisted. As I am in the industry having my site compromised or the appearance of being compromised is even worse.

I called GoDaddy immediately upon receipt of the notification. I was told that no my site was not compromised (I knew that as I practice intense security), but that several accounts on my site’s GoDaddy shared server were compromised, hacked, and sending out spam and possibly malware. With additional research on my own, I found out that one of the offending websites in my shared hosting environment with the same IP block was MichaelClayton.org. (Please do not visit this site as you do not want to get malware.)

I asked GoDaddy what they were going to do about quickly resolving this issue. They said they had notified the offending site owner and that the owner needed to do a cleanup. There was no deadline or time frame shared with me.

I asked GoDaddy to move me to a new server and was told by Tech Support on 5/23 at 9:35 am Eastern Time that a move was not possible and that when I signed up for hosting with GoDaddy, I had agreed to their terms of being on a shared server- meaning I could run into this problem again or in the future.

I asked for a change to my IP address and was told I could buy a dedicated IP address for my site  for $75 a year. I pointed out that I was not willing to pay for something to solve a technical issue that was GoDaddy’s job to fix and was told sorry that’s the final answer. I had to pay to solve their problem!

I asked to speak to the supervisor and was put on hold for 20 minutes (I clocked this). When the tech came back on the line, he told me all supervisors were busy and that nothing else would be done for me.

As of today,  my website IP is no longer blacklisted! It took 7 days for this issue to be resolved and one listing I had to submit a manual request for removal.

As a professional webmaster who has a number of customers hosted at GoDaddy, I was furious with the response that I received.

Please check back on Wednesday for the rest of the story and my recommendations for hosting and what to do if you are hosted at GoDaddy.

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TeamUp – Reviewed Part One

Our TeamUp Calendar
Our TeamUp Calendar

TeamUp is an online group calendaring tool that I found and am now using heavily for my 6 person content creation team.  My team works remotely. We share files via Google Drive and had tried using a joint Google Calendar, but that just never seemed to have caught on with my team.

So, before I went on vacation I started looking for an easy to use, user-friendly online calendaring app to keep my team on track.

First, I do want to say that I am not being paid by team up or receive any consideration from them, I am simply a user turned advocate.

In fact I am using the free version right now although they do have a premium version and I am carefully scoping it out.

Here’s what I like and why you may want to consider using TeamUp too.

Easy to set up
I was calendaring tasks for my team in less than 10 minutes and the application was intuitive. I did not even have to read the documentation, although they do have nice videos and startup guides.

Color Coded
Each team member has their own color. I can see at a glance who has tasks to do and each team member can click their own color and see only their tasks in the group calendar.

SmartPhone App
My team has Apple phones and I have an Android one. Whatever I selected to try had to have an app available for iPhone and Android. TeamUp’s app in Android looks prettier. The Apple version looks more like a daily agenda list.

Come back Wednesday January 25th to read the rest of my review.

 

 

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