What are some of the best client gift ideas? At Black Mountain, we tend to overthink things in this department - probably because we both love nice things, a lot! To me, there's a clear formula for the perfect client gift that involves price (not too expensive but not cheap either), usefulness (desk ornaments are great but will they simply clutter their desk?) and aesthetic appeal (they definitely have to be beautiful to look at). Then there's the added x-factor that they need to be original enough to stand out from the rest of the gifts your clients receive, and they need to be easy to order (online please) and deliver.
Growing up I never saw myself being an entrepreneur one day. In my mind, entrepreneurs were gutsy, charming risk takers - the kind of people who could sell ice to an eskimo, and do it with a twinkle in their eye. No, that wasn't for me. I aspired to be a power-suited corporate ladder climber: diligent and hardworking (although this was possibly because I grew up in the 80s and shoulder pads were big back then;).
If you run your own business, you'll hopefully reach a stage when it's well established enough for you to start expanding it. Why should you expand? Because you don't want to stagnate and become uninspired with what you're doing, which is a quick way to reduce your business performance. But you also want to stay competitive in the market or industry you're in, and of course you want to keep increasing your profits! These are some of the reasons that we've experienced at Black Mountain, over the five years that we've been running.
Today a Facebook notification popped up, "Your Memories on Facebook", dated June 28, 2012:
"Tomorrow is my last day working in book publishing, after eight wonderful years. Thanks to all of those who shared it with me: it was never well paid, often absurd but always fun - you guys were awesome".
I often wonder what it is about me that didn't work in a corporate space and why I never progressed much. I suppose I chopped and changed roles and companies many times, learning as I went, meeting amazing people, but there was something about my career that always made me feel stifled and frustrated. Like I was just swimming the race, never really excelling.
Any entrepreneur will tell you that consistent cash flow is the life blood of a successful business. And when we first started Black Mountain we naturally thought that this meant securing as many retainer clients as possible, in order to have a predictable income and workload in the future (as well as to plan better too).
Although Black Mountain has been alive for a few years now, it's only recently that we've realised what we really are: we're a "lifestyle business". Contrary to what many people believe, this doesn't mean we're lazy or unambitious compared to the business owners who employ hundreds of people, with a head office and branches and middle managers. Like them, we work hard and we take pride in what we do.
The biggest mistake we see when editing copy for use online is when people are overly formal in their writing style. Sure, there are certain situations where lengthy descriptions and certain words may be necessary, such as in legal documents for example, but the easiest way to distance your readers from what you are trying to say (or sell) is to use words that you wouldn't use in real life.
As digital content providers, our business model is one where we essentially charge for our time. Whether it's SEO consulting, usability advice or doing the actual copywriting, one of our biggest challenges with Black Mountain is how to get around the fact that if we're not putting in the time, we're not making the money.