National WA Business Excellence Award – While Working From The Hallway

National WA Business Excellence Award – While Working From The Hallway

Do you know what? I suck at PR.

I suck so hard at it I don’t even do it for myself. This press release below? It’s a hurriedly updated version of a great one I got back from a dear friend (and past copy student) Anna, from CreativeIQ, when I became an AusMumpreneur 2018 finalist.

I wasn’t even going to go attend the AusMumpreneur Awards.

It was the third year I’d been nominated and the third year I thought, “I don’t really…fit”. I wasn’t a million dollar business. I didn’t have staff. I’d only just started to dig us out of living just above the poverty line. And I wasn’t sure I was a Mumpreneur, a decent Mum some days, or an entrepreneur at all. And it was in Melbourne. And what would I wear? And who would I talk to? And TWO DAYS of conference?! Could my raging introvert cope?

And all those other reasons I’m sure you’ve told yourself you shouldn’t try for something too.  

But then my husband said to me, “If this is a financial decision, think of it like this: if you go, and pick up just one client, that’s your airfare and accommodation paid for.”

I thought, “Hmmmmm”.

Then my business mate said, “If you’ve been nominated three years in a row, your people obviously want you to go, perhaps you should respect that”.

I thought, “Hmmmmmmm”.

My daughter said, “I reckon you could win that, Mum”.

I thought, “What if I could?”

So, I entered and am off to Melbourne to pitch to a panel of judges and answer their questions with (hopefully) statements that are carefully considered and make some semblance of sense. Thanks to my team, I have a fully functioning press release that I’ll share with you below.

*****

Parkerville Mother of 3, Jay Crisp Crow, has just been named AusMumpreneur Of The Year in the WA Business Excellence category.

Jay started Crisp Copy from her dining room table just 3 years ago whilst working at a local private school. With no business background, but believing she was capable of creating something tailored to her family and abilities, Jay devised a five-year plan to build a business that could generate enough income to allow her to leave her school hours job. Within 2 years, business had sky-rocketed and she took the leap early and left her safe (but limited) job and officially became a business owner.

Jay somewhat surprised herself by becoming a multi award-winning copywriter, editor, and copy coach working with brands and businesses around the globe. Building an incredible career based on the art of writing words that sell, Jay has turned her love of stories and people into something she never thought possible – a sustainable, thriving business. She regularly teaches, presents, and speaks in Perth and online on everything copy and words.

After receiving word she was a finalist in her category, Jay travelled to Melbourne to pitch to 3 independent judges against a range of diverse businesses in the WA Business Excellence category.

Judge Karen McDermott, owner of Serenity Press, said the decision to award Jay as the winner of the award was unanimous,

“Jay stood out as a clear winner because not only is she a high achieving businesswoman who has built a strong brand profile, she also has a very powerful story that will inspire many fellow mums in business.”

Jay said, “Business is not easy and Crisp Copy has not always been a smooth ride – I’ve battled with the juggle of business and family, copycats, and creating a business structure around a long-term chronic illness. But overcoming these challenges have allowed me to embrace opportunities and experience greater success.”

Aside from delivering brilliant results for clients and creating a consistent income stream, one of Jay’s greatest successes has come from recognising the opportunity to leverage her natural skills as a teacher and sharing her knowledge and experience with other copywriters and business owners to allow them to elevate the quality of their own communications.

After all, the world needs more delicious words.

The AusMumpreneur Awards, presented by The AusMumpreneur Network, celebrate and recognise Australian mums in business achieving outstanding success in areas such as business excellence, product development, customer service and digital innovation. The awards are designed to recognise the growing number of women who successfully balance motherhood and business in a way that suits their life and family.

Peace Mitchell, co-founder of AusMumpreneur said, “These awards are all about recognising the growing number of mums who are achieving outstanding business success while balancing motherhood.”

“We are delighted that Jay has won this award, she has created an outstanding business and is an inspirational role model and ambassador for mums in business everywhere. We wish her and all our amazing Ausmumpreneur Award winners every success in the coming year,” Peace said.

AusMumpreneur Network co-founder Katy Garner said, “The number of women starting businesses has continued to grow in the last 12 months. Of the 668,670 women operating a small business in Australia currently, a total of 47 per cent are mums with children at home.  We are thrilled to be the number one community for mumpreneurs and proud to showcase the best and the brightest each year through these awards.”

It can be challenging to run a successful business whilst raising a family and Jay gives this advice for others thinking about starting their own enterprise,

“Know your values (and your family’s values) and stick to them like honey sticks to toast. Always, always check in with yourself and whether what you’re doing aligns with them – when there’s a mismatch, that’s when you can end up in the wrong place. You need to be ready to pivot when things aren’t working and try something different.”

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I’m a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else’s. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t’internet. Yay for that!

The Business Of Mummy Shaming Or – I Forgot The Bloody Library Books

The Business Of Mummy Shaming Or – I Forgot The Bloody Library Books

You know how all the marketing people tell you that Facebook lives will change your life?  I believed them, but I just never really had anything to 'live' about. Until a day, last year, when I forgot my Kindergartener's library books. And when I got home I was so ashamed, so guilt-ridden, and so embarrassed that I'd been mummy shamed in front of other adults I suddenly found I had quite a bit to say.

Only, it wasn't about copywriting.

In many ways, that Facebook live (which has since been deleted, more below) was the first step to separating the Crisp Crow and Crisp Copy brands. I'd developed a brand voice I was proud of for Crisp Copy, and then, sneaking out like an excited kid at 5am on Christmas morning, came my personal voice. The one I'd been stifling. And she was ready to SAY SOME THINGS.

The following is a transcript of my very first Facebook live. One that was available for an entire 12 hours until I got a message from a Mum at school and died all over again and took it down. I never professed to not being a chicken.

 

Top o’ the morning to all you good Crisp Copy People…

Firstly, this is NCR

...which is Jay slang for not copy related, so if you are only here for the copywriting tips you now have permission to back up in your browser. But! This is about being a Mum in business, so if that interests you and you want to hear a story that makes your morning look like Breakfast At Tiffany’s, stick about.

Disclaimer: I turn 40 tomorrow so there’s a very slight possibility I have been triggered by this morning's events and because I'm about to be officially middle-aged, am taking the whole thing too seriously. 

I want to have a chat with you today about mummy shaming

This just happened at Kindy drop off at my little boy’s school.

If you’ve ever tried to book a one on one with me through Crisp Copy you’ll have noticed my business day doesn’t officially start until 9.30am. That’s because I take my youngest child to school, watch him do his letters, read a book or do a puzzle with him, then squeeze him super tight as the bell goes.

I am terrifically aware of how fortunate I am to be able to structure my business around this important part of my day. I am also humbled and honoured that this is because of small business women (and some men) like you - you who have used my services enough over the past three years to make this flexibility a reality for me and my boy. Thank you for that; it really sucked being an employee.

Back to the story. I complete most Kindy drop-offs, except for yesterday. Mr Crow took a day off to attend a funeral and so was available to take our critter to school.

But, he forgot the library books.

No biggie, am I right? I didn’t haul him over the coals; the reading had been done and I’d signed the ledger to prove it.

Plus, our family is big on reading. We are. I am. We do the reading.

This morning, I’m back at Kindy with the school bag, the hockey bag with freshly washed (but not ironed – even I’m not that good) uniform and all the paraphernalia, plus the vouchers I’ve collected from a local business for the kindy raffle and…

THE LIBRARY BOOKS!

Yes, I have them. I've remembered them, even though I'm already half writing in my head the new tagline for this morning's client and the old dog lifted his leg to the shopping bag I put down momentarily on the front porch before we left. And I'm not even smug about the fact that I was the one who remembered them when Mr Crow was supposed to return them yesterday. I'm just glad I have them in my hot little hand because, well, I've been in a bit of trouble about the library books before.

We're "that family".

So, little Crisp Crow and I pop everything in the requisite spot - lunchbox, piece of fruit, water bottle, bag, and library books, and wait for the door to open.

And the Kindy teacher – she’s tremendously organised and fantastically wonderful at Kindy stuff, pretty much the best Kindy teacher you could ever want in front of your child – she opens the door and greets the children as cheerfully in November as she did at the beginning of the year. Bless her and her perennial smile.

Then, she turns to one of the Dads and says, “Did you remember the overdue library books?” and his little girl has them in her hand. “Ohhhh, good work,” she says laughing, “you’d get in trouble…” (I assume that means if he forgot them, and I’m assuming she means from his wife).

Then she says this to the Dad:

“That's OK, you probably have a lot on your plate, you’re excused.”

Cool, it’s good to get a leave pass for bringing back library books a day late. And you know, he runs a business, is a hands-on parent and has a younger child too, so really, good on him. I mean, he even has product in his hair. I’ve brushed mine, so we’re both rocking the day already.

Then she turns to me and her smile drops as she asks, “Did you remember the library books today?”

And just like that, I find myself standing up straighter and in my clearest voice let her know I’ve popped them in the pigeonhole. (Which is the exact right spot, by the way.)

“Oh, you need to bring them...”
“Shall I bring them inside?” I stumble over myself trying to please. For god’s sake, have some spine, Jay.
“Yes, they need to be in here.”

And she turns and walks away

Surprising myself with my chutzpah,  I mumble, “Well, it seems I’m definitely not excused. EVEN THOUGH I have three kids, run a businesses and still remembered the library books.”

Yeah. Brave.

She doesn’t hear my mutterings but some of the mothers around me start to titter nervously.

Because what the ever loving heck is the difference?

OK, let’s be sensible for a moment. There’s the distinct possibility that the Kindy teacher knows something about this Dad that I don’t: sick parents? Child unwell? Maybe his wife nicked off to Borneo with the pool man? There simply may be things I don’t know about this situation that she does.

So, by the same logic, there are things the Kindy teacher doesn’t know about me.

For example; I manage (sometimes fight) a 25-year longstanding illness on a daily basis just to get out of bed.

But none of that should matter. Because what matters is that my kid is here, he’s clean, he’s fed, he’s so so happy and can read at age 5. He also knows how to count the syllables in ornathacaurus; some kids don’t even know what the heck an ornathacarus is. And because we are not about comparisons I’ll just leave that one there.

You know what? We both have a Kindy kid, we both have other children, we both own and run our own businesses, and we both obviously want the best for our child which is why we read books to our kids (even though we occasionally forget them at home).

I could be wrong. Yes, there could be two very different reasons we forgot our kids library books this week. Yes, there could be every reason in the world she treated us so differently this morning.

But…I have a sneaking suspicion there’s not.

I think the only difference is that he is a Dad.

And I am a Mum.

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I'm a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else's. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t'internet. Yay for that!

I’m Not Sure I’m A Mumpreneur

I’m Not Sure I’m A Mumpreneur

Not a mompreneur either.

Not a blondepreneur, or femmepreneur, or even a bedpreneur.

In fact, I’m not even an entrepreneur,

in the pure sense of the term. But I am a business owner. A creative in business. And a mother.

(And a wife, a Musical Theatre nut, a Caesar Salad connoisseur, and a shiz-hot tap dancer.)

So, why do the media seem to love this term? This bundle of a label that perhaps takes the shine off what women in business who are also mothers do? Every time I’m in the paper I get a ‘mumpreneur’ thrown in for free. Does it belittle what I do? Does it mean I am a mother first and foremost and my purpose in life is raising children and my secondary objective is building a business?

When we live in a world where words matter so much, isn’t it time we took stock of the labels we allow?

Now, I fully respect the parents in business who embrace the term. Like taking your husband’s name, like joint bank accounts – I believe it’s a personal choice. Be an anythingyoulikepreneur if it tickles your fancy. And I think it’s been created with the best of intentions – like #girlboss – it means to shine a light on the brilliance of women who are managing two very distinct and important roles at one time.

But, I wonder if it does us a disservice.

(OK, and yes, when I read it it makes me throw up in my own mouth a bit.)

A little like ‘female author’

why are we not just ‘authors’ or ‘business owners’ or even plain old hot-as-heck entrepreneurs?

Does it put a less-than symbol in front of our enterprise? I think maybe it does.

The term-defenders question; “Don’t I think the experience of being a parent might make me a better business-woman?”

I think so. Do I know for sure? No, because I’ve been a Mum for 18 years and a small business owner for three and I’ve never performed the two roles separately.

In addition, all the experiences I’ve had in my life have also contributed to running a successful business; from years of Musical Theatre study to travelling the world and managing an illness. Maybe I should be a ‘disabilpreneur’? 

If I am a young woman without children am I a ‘girlpreneur’? If I do the writing well and the businessing acceptably should I be a ‘writerpreneur’? ‘Penpreneur’? ‘Storypreneur’?

As one of the women in my Crisp Copy Club asked; “Should I be a nannapreneur?”

Why the distinction?

I have authority and experience and expertise. It has a bit to do with raising (dragging up, some days) children. But, it probably has more to do with being a life-long writer with an excessive supply of empathy. It also has to do with being a wife, and a daughter of a very smart woman, and a friend of other clever women, and a student, and a traveller, and a thinker, and a doer, and a lover, and and and…

I am an awesome mother and a flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants business owner and a wicked copywriter.

But all that adds up to ‘Writer with a Business’ to me.

I might rethink it when Richard Branson starts getting called a ‘dudepreneur’, or Channing Tatum gets labelled a ‘dadctor’, and people stop bleeding asking the Prime Minister of New Zealand if she feels guilty about taking maternity leave.

I don’t mind being labelled it in the media. I mean – positive PR – what’s not to love, lovers? I’ll admit; in every single release, it’s been mentioned in a positive way – a celebration of women and mothers and kicking butt in business. But I’m also willing to have a conversation about it. Not in a way that belittles mothers and every damn good thing they do. But in a way that equates the success of women in business with their own, personal accomplishments – beyond their ability to purposefully use their reproductive systems and then take care of their youngens.

Sometimes I worry it sets me apart from my divinely talented female business owning friends. The ones without babies. Does it make those of us who have made use of our wombs a bit insular? Does it make our enterprising women friends feel excluded? The women I’ve asked seem to intimate yes.

And that makes me like it even less.

If you want to be a mumpreneur, I will support you. One thousand, gazbillion percent. If you want me to call you Mrs Twiddle Pants of the Twenty First Century over emails, look, I’ll do that too.

And while I continue to choose to be unemployable and utilise my skills in branding and business and writing to create a life that imperfectly blends (not balances – because I believe that’s all a bit of BS) all the good stuff I have going on,

I know that you’ll be OK with me not being one.

 

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I’m a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else’s. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t’internet. Yay for that!

Position Yourself As The Main Event, Not One Of The Chorus Line

Position Yourself As The Main Event, Not One Of The Chorus Line

So, I think at this point of the day we should play a drinking game.

Stick with me here.

Let’s all go to a random website. Ohhhh now, how about we try our own? And every time we read something like this:

Hi, I’m Lucy/Willow/Betsy

I’m a passionate yoga teacher/dog walker/coach working with women who want to reduce the overwhelm/ignite their inner light/so they can thrive/be inspired. 

I am genuine and authentic and original…

We take a shot.

How long before you think we’d be incapacitated? I estimate about 20 minutes, tops.

(Also, genuine and authentic mean the same damn thing, person I stole this copy from, and both are boring as bat poop.)

You know what?

There’s nothing actually wrong with any of these concepts.

Not fundamentally. And these good people, they mean them! They have businesses that are important to them, brands they’ve spent years and thousands developing, they have a gift and want to share it with the world.

The problem is sharing them with the world requires them to be on the internet.

And the internet is a noisy place.

And a LOT of people are singing exactly the same damn song.

Sounding exactly the same as your competitor gives you zero edge.

Find your own brand voice. Don’t be an echo of someone else’s. Because being in the chorus line has only ever paid peanuts. You want your brand to be front and centre stage with the big spotlight on you making the big noise and the bigger dollars.

#nomorechorusline

#nomoresafecopy

 

Have no idea how to start developing a brand voice? Click here and download a ten-minute exercise to build a foundational Word Bank – the first step to branded messaging brilliance.

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I’m a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else’s. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t’internet. Yay for that!

Why And How To Communicate With Newsletter Subscribers (So They Don’t Yawn Or Delete)

Why And How To Communicate With Newsletter Subscribers (So They Don’t Yawn Or Delete)

In this day and age, there’s probably a million ways to talk to your clients, so you’re probably wondering: “Jay, what’s so special about an email list?

 Why can’t I just use social media?

Word of mouth is working for me AOK, I don’t need to bend over backwards emailing a whole lot of folk who haven’t even hired me yet.

Plus, I don’t even know where to start with how to communicate with newsletter subscribers.

Plus, I have 8 of them.

Really. EIGHT.”

OK, OK. Yep, I get it. It seems like a bit too much hard work, a touch too much direct salesy, and what the heck do you talk about into the void? What if no one responds? Why are email lists important anyway?

Because, lovely one, you want to keep the ones you have, rather than just have them.

That might sound a bit convoluted, so let me explain what I mean.

In this day and age, there’s probably a million ways to talk to your clients, so you’re probably wondering: “Jay, what’s so special about an email list?

 Why can’t I just use social media?

Word of mouth is working for me AOK, I don’t need to bend over backwards emailing a whole lot of folk who haven’t even hired me yet.

Plus, I don’t even know where to start with how to communicate with newsletter subscribers.

Plus, I have 8 of them.

Really. EIGHT.”

OK, OK. Yep, I get it. It seems like a bit too much hard work, a touch too much direct salesy, and what the heck do you talk about into the void? What if no one responds? Why are email lists important anyway?

Because, lovely one, you want to keep the ones you have, rather than just have them.

That might sound a bit convoluted, so let me explain what I mean.

OK, so let’s play pretend for a second.

Tomorrow Facebook closes down.

(Feel that tremor in your heart?)

Yep – Mark Zuckerberg packs up his bags and moves to New Zealand to become a sheep herder. Facebook is over. Overnight, you’ve lost all of your Facebook followers*.

You might be saying;

but Jay, there’s still Instagram and Twitter, I have plenty of followers!’

Yes – but not all of them are going to cross platforms.

Let’s face it: there’s a lot of stuff on the Internet and a lot of people vying for attention.

Users these days have a pretty short attention span. We’re deliciously spoiled for choice. Just because you hook them on Facebook doesn’t mean they’re going to take the time to go to Twitter and Instagram and find you there, too.

In many cases, they’ll ‘Like’ your page and keep scrolling, and forget about you by the time they’re on Instagram. And who can blame them? There are a million things to which a user can pay attention and most of them polished and fabulous.

The problem is, if you lose a social media account, this might be the case – you might stand to lose a lot of followers.

So while Facebook is active, you have followers.

You want to keep them in case Facebook tanks tomorrow. And the best way to do that it via email. Even if Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all go down tomorrow, most (if not all) of your followers will still have their email address.

*You might be saying ‘no way, Facebook isn’t going anywhere!’. Yes, and that’s what people were saying about Myspace and Livejournal. What? You don’t have a Myspace or Livejournal? That’s okay, nobody does anymore because those sites went the way of the Dodo, and practically overnight.

how-to-communicate-with-newsletter-subscribers-boring

Sorry about all the cats, but they’re bored of being asked to subscribe to newsletters with no meaty incentive. 

There’s another element as well.

How many emails do you think your followers receive in a given day? Let’s say 100.

Now, how many Twitter updates do you think they see in a day? 1000, maybe more?

Even though you’re addressing the same number of people, you’re going to have better luck standing out against 100 than 1000!

Plus, there’s all this research to show how the act of giving an email address take the relationship to a new level of trust. But we’re moving into strategy here, which isn’t my gig so much. I focus on the part where we turn the new subscriber into a loyal advocate.

Now that you know WHY it’s important, it’s time to explore HOW to make an email list. It’s easy as pie.

How To Get Started

Step 1: You can do this the old-fashioned way. You can copy-and-paste all of your subscribers into a mass email every time you send one out. (Um. No! You can’t really, as it’s against anti-spam laws in Australia and in various places around the world.)

Or, you can outsource the whole ‘keeping track’ bit to a convenient website. All you have to do is write the email, and it’ll automatically go to all of your subscribers!

I use Mailchimp. Mailchimp is totally free for your first 2000 subscribers or until you get confident enough with it to start really making it work for you (with added benefits), at which point it will start costing money.

Let me tell you something: if you have 2000 subscribers, your email list is probably paying for itself.

Mailchimp is one of the more popular ones, but there are a bunch available. Just search ‘email subscription services’ and find one that you like.

Step 2: Create an ‘Opt In’ (or a Landing Page). An opt in  is simply the spot where your new friend gives you his or her information. If you’re putting an opt in landing page on a website, there are four places you’ll want to put it: in the top header, along the sidebar or in the footer, on your About Me page, and on a popup. You know, one of those ‘but wait!’ popups that appear when you’re about to leave the page. (Not one of those in your face things that whams itself into your consciousness as soon as you get onto the page!)

You now have something to which you can direct new users. Make sure you pimp your awesome new landing page on social media (turn those followers into subscribers!).

One thing you may want to consider: ask for as little information as possible.

Most of the time it’s just name and email. If your users feel like they’re filling out a mortgage application instead of an email list, you’re going to have a tough time getting subscribers.

Step 3: Offer a lead magnet. Quid pro quo in action!

Don’t just ask for emails, offer something in return.

This is exceptionally important. Because no one really wants to “subscribe to your email list” just because. In fact, most days many of us want to blow up our inboxes, just to see the emails fry.

  • Are you a writer? Offer the first chapter of your book for free.
  • Offering a product? Offer a 25% off coupon.
  • Have a great service? Offer a free trial for signing up.

In short, you want to create a situation where your new friend is giving you their email, and you’re giving them something in return. And make it a good something. 

Step 4: A ‘thank you’ page. Good manners are always appreciated! You want a ‘thank you’ page just to thank your new friend for their email, and to assure them that their lead magnet (free chapter, coupon, etc) is on its way.

Step 5: A welcome email. Just a quick note to say ‘hi’ and to deliver whatever it was that you promised they would receive in exchange for their email.

There you have it! A fairly basic guide to the creation of a subscribers list. There are a lot of juicy content options at every one of these steps, but to get going you’ve got to start. So, get cracking.

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I’m a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else’s. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t’internet. Yay for that!

Why I Can’t Meet You For a Quick Business Coffee

Why I Can’t Meet You For a Quick Business Coffee

I am roaring through my inbox (still haven’t taken the time to set up the email filters like my business coach has taught me to), trying to maximise my writing time while handling incoming emails, upgrading my proposal document, and carefully scheduling every moment of my Google calendar for maximum efficiency.

I have my social media automated. I have my alarm set for every 20 minutes so I can stretch my troublesome dance injury. My kids email me during work hours because they know I put my phone in another room to have uninterrupted writing time.

Then; it arrives.

The “quick chat over coffee” request.

And I’m torn.

Because it’s not as if I don’t want to have coffee with you, or anyone else. It’s not like I relish being in my own company from 8am – 4.23pm exactly when the kids get off the bus. Some days I don’t speak to one living soul during that time. Plus, I love chai lattes.

It’s just that, this week alone, I’ve been asked for seven “quick coffee chats”.

SEVEN.

Early in my solopreneur career, I would pursue these kinds of meetings with raw enthusiasm. After all, shouldn’t I be grateful for the opportunity to pitch? And it wasn’t like I was giving up hours of my time to be able to help out someone else. They needed me.

Only, it is hours.

Let’s break it down:

If I did go on those seven coffee business dates this week, including travel and prep time, that’s about 10 hours. Even at discounted fees, that’s nearly three grand of caffeinated billable time. And with a family to feed, two teenagers in school and one kindergartener that is planning a breeding program of his toy dinosaurs (so, of course, now he needs two of each), and my concrete billable hours at around 20 a week, that’s simply not sensible.

You see, my time is precious.

As is yours.

Not just in monetary terms. Ask any grandparent what they’ve learned in life and they’ll probably wax lyrical about the time they spent pursuing their life’s passion, and the moments shared with friends and loved ones.

You won’t hear them say, “I sure wish I had said yes to more of those coffee meeting invitations.”

If you were inviting me to coffee to see if you wanted to hire me, my approach actually works in your favour, too. I flourish at home with my laptop and my words, brainstorming and exploding with ideas and poring over various concepts, approaches, branding stories and voices – all to write the kind of copy that leaps off the screen and grabs your reader by whatever part of the reader is appropriate to grab in terms of your brand.

It’s my gig.

What that kind of focus takes is intense, uninterrupted, single-minded application.

For me to be able to put this stuff together; to string words into powerful phrases and craft text that gets the right message across, but with nuance and style, that costs something. Meeting for coffee just means less time for me to be in “the zone”.

Even if I know you are sincere in your intentions and even if I did really want to hang out with you and hear about your project ideas, or sell you myself, or consider the clients you wanted to send my way, I know that in order to be productive and deliver on the current projects I have committed to, 99% of the time, I’m going to have to say no.

And really, if you want to see my stuff, I have a website.

In fact, I now have two.

It has a boat load of words on it. It showcases testimonials from clients and links to the copy I created for them. You’ll see that they say that I have an intuitive ability to write as them, ensuring their brand message is en pointe but still sounds like they do in conversation. As an editor once said when hiring me; “I’ve read your website and I want that writer.” Heck, isn’t that why we create websites?

Nixing coffee business chats also reduces my costs. How?

You, as a client, aren’t paying an excess for me swanning about eating cake with other potential clients.

When you hire me, you pay exactly what I am worth including what I need to keep my business running. And that’s it. I’m not an agency; there are no inflated overheads or enormous minimum spends required. I’m the buck stops here girl.

These days, I work a Skype call product into many of my larger packages. Because I know that people who don’t love to write won’t want to email me three pages of their ideas. And I’m more than happy to have coffee over Skype. I’ll even change into a proper top, and you won’t get to see my jim jam bottoms. (Can’t do that in a café!)

This strategy allows me to assist a tonne more folk than I could do if I had to personally meet with everyone.

Since accepting that I am naturally a teacher and working copy coaching into my repertoire, Skype sessions work really well for those people who are continuing to upskill their own writing and who just need a keen pair of eyes and a word-nerd brain to help them through the quagmire.

When I set up my business, I purposefully left myself some time to upgrade my learning but also to work on what I call “love jobs”. This year love jobbing has involved donating time to teach local women in business to communicate more effectively over social media, raffling off hours of myself to help thousands of dollars for the Harry Perkins Institute, rewrote website copy for a community group to raise funds for a public open space, consulted with a child-protection start-up, and launched two website and social media platforms to tell the stories that need to be told.

So, please don’t think I’m a greedy guts. I’m happy to give away my time for a great cause.

And even though I am naturally introverted, I still slap on some lippy and change out of my PJs to attend networking events and community functions, if nothing else to remind myself I am a real business person and not just a set of fingers connected to a story lovin’ brain.

Finally, I to and fro because I worry that this practice makes me *gasp* selfish.

How DARE I not agree to meet people who may want to pay me money, in the long term. Who do I think I AM?

Then, I come back to this realisation. The one that took me six years of single mothering, thirteen years of corporate communicating, and 600 days of fly by the seat of my pants empire building to arrive at.

Being a little bit selfish for the greater good is AOK.

And, just when you’re thinking I am an anti-social, introverted, Class A snobbikins; here’s a promise for you:

I won’t meet you for coffee, but I will have a glass of champagne (or whiskey) with you. Once the content I’ve crafted for you has been worked into your brand and you launch it with resounding success, then I’ll make time to celebrate. 

How do you handle business boundaries? Do you factor in meeting times or solidly side step the whole shebang? Do you think, as women, we find it harder to say no?

Maybe there’s a better way to do it and I’m missing something. Tell me about it!

Jay-crisp-crow-crisp-copy-signature

Jay Crisp Crow

Yep, really my name

If you’re here for the intuitive mix of done-for-you, make-you-cry copy or you want to learn all my secrets so you can DIY like a pro; sister, you’re in the right place. I’m a copywriter, editor, and copy consultant and coach for businesswomen ready to move away from the boring as bat poop churning out of content. Words that sound the same as everyone else’s. Bah humbug! I am terrible at writing my own blogs but smashing at writing for clients. I live in the Hills of Perth, WA, and work with women around the world through the technologically spiffy powers of t’internet. Yay for that!