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Another hard-earned lesson from one small biz owner to another.

The 8th Commandment: LISTEN HARD. REMAIN RELEVANT.

Bonus Points if you know the film.Credit: HeadFI.org

Bonus Points if you know the film.
Credit: HeadFI.org

In my first year of business I pretended my way into a few Joomla Template customization projects. Hard work, I wasn’t very good at it, but my customers knew even less than I did so I figured it out.

I eventually relented and incurred my first business expense and purchased a RocketTheme Premium membership so I could solicit for more projects on their excellent user forums. In my usual fashion, I dove headfirst into the forums and offered to help anyone customize their website template.

Silence.

So I tweaked the copy of my pitch and did it again.

More silence.

In frustration, I started digging further into the forums and found Craig, a weapons dealer and auctioneer in Southern California who was asking for help and had only received a couple of responses from my competitors offering to customize his template for a fee. After studying their responses and his objections it became clear why they didn’t win his business.

He didn’t want what they were selling.

“I just want someone to¬†teach me how to do this myself. Someone good at this stuff should be able to point me in the direction fairly quickly.”

My response was fairly short – don’t remember exactly what I said – probably something stupid and effective like “I can help you with that. Here’s my email address and cellphone number.”

Craig became my first training client, my first sale to a stranger, and eventually (via his other businesses and strong referrals) I earned nearly $30K in revenue!

I still slip up occasionally, but this small biz commandment is a strong reminder that by interacting with my clients like a human, my little business would continue to remain relevant in spite of violent shifts in the market.