You Are a Pickle

The reason it seems impossible for you to connect with investors and customers.

April 13, 2020

I admire the confidence of startup founders. Everyday, they get up and get after it in the hopes of doing something to change the world. It's inspiring. However, it's sad that most of them fail to see the obviously awesome things about themselves and their companies that would make them unforgettable. Instead, they try to focus on what they think people want them to be. It's an inauthentic approach to building a brand and it usually results in being labeled something they are not proud of. In time, they become something they fail to recognize.

I call it, "pickle syndrome."

Since they spend their lives in a jar, pickles have no idea what they look like from the outside. They also don't recognize the unique qualities that make them special either. They float in the jar hoping someone will recognize them and see their worth.

It's in moments like this that is pays to have an external voice chime in and tell you all of the things that make you and your startup significant. To give you a new label based on the obvious truths you take for granted.

You are still a pickle and you're freaking awesome at it. Don't be afraid to tell everyone.

More you say?

Payment Alternatives

Different ways design services can be priced and paid for.

3.2.2020

In my last article, I touched on the fact that I don't bill by the hour. In summary, hourly billing is a loose-cannon way of determining the value services bring to the table and one that favors things taking longer rather than being done efficiently and strategically.

It begs the question though, how do you structure payment for such services? The way I see it, there are three options:

Pay for design services up front
This is the most common method of paying for design services. It's pretty straightforward, client and designer decide on a price based on the value created through the services, client pays for the work, and the designer does the work. Usually the payment is made upfront or on a specific cadence like 50% to start and 50% after 30 days or before deliverables are transferred.

Lease the design work
It's no secret that good designers charge a pretty penny for their work. At least, they will charge a pretty penny to part ways with ownership of it. This is where leasing becomes a viable option to get quality work, but without the initial upfront cost of buying the rights to the work out-right. For example, let's say an identity package of a new logo and style guide will cost $6,725. Rather than paying for the entire thing upfront, the client could pay 8% of the total cost per month to get up and running. If the client decides they want full ownership of the work, there is a clause within the contract stating how much the buy-out fee will be in addition to the lease payment.

Profit sharing
If the client is willing to share profits based on the impact the design work has had on the business, then a third option becomes available. Similar to trading equity, profit sharing or performance-based compensation puts everyone's time and resources on the line. The designer and client establish the key metrics they are looking to improve and then share profits based on the value generated from the change.

When it comes to pricing design services, the key is to be as creative and nimble with pricing as would be expected in the actual work. The next time you speak with a designer and you want to work with them, but can't afford to pay their fees, see if they are open to these alternative pricing structures.

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Snipers and Grenades

Effective positioning meets Call of Duty.

5.5.2020

I've been playing a lot of Call of Duty amidst the COVID-19 crisis. It's been quite a while, but something that's been all too familiar is the vast difference between snipers and grenades. Essential premise is this: snipers are extremely accurate. You definitely can't hit more than one person, but if you focus on just one person, you're highly likely to hit them. At both long distances and shorter distances with superb effectiveness.

Grenades, on the other hand, are meant to hit lots of people at once. But, they you generally chuck these and hope you hit something. It's highly unlikely unless you land in at the exact right place at the exact right time. Despite being more powerful than a sniper rifle, they aren't as accurate and less effective as a result.

What's the point?

If you want to brand with impact, focus intently on one person, scope them out, and snipe them. You're much more likely to hit the target.

Don't chuck a grenade and hope you hit someone.

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