How to get your friends and family to sell for you (without being a slimy creep)

When I first started this business, I thought the best way to sell my services would be to throw money at the marketing. Facebook ads! Celebrity endorsements! Giant billboards! Except, there was a pretty big obstacle…

…I HAD JUST STARTED MY BUSINESS SO I HAD NO MONEY.

What was left instead?

Word of mouth. Here, there was another problem:

Most of the people I’d done sessions with so far had been pro bono. And they’d been happy to do those sessions for free, because those people had no money to spend on coaching. Which meant most of the people they hung out with also had no money to spend on coaching.

You might have this same issue. But you know who does have some money they might spend on your thing? SOMEONE you know. Which sounds easy…. but:

How do you tell people you know about what you’re doing, without sounding like you’re trying to screw them out of their well-earned money as an act of charity?

Two parts to this answer:

1. Remember that the…

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16 Hacks to Stop Wasting Time on the Internet

this was the eeriest one I could find

When I was 16, I had some important exam coursework disqualified by my teachers due to plagiarism.

“But I didn’t copy it!” I told them. What I chose not to mention is that I also hadn’t written the essay myself…

Sick of me having left everything until the last minute again, on the night before the coursework was due, my mum picked up my Religious Studies textbook and just started dictating. That was why the essay was, in my teacher’s words, “A-level standard.” Because somebody who’d already done their A levels (the exams we’d take at 18) AND a Cambridge University degree AND had twenty-odd years of life experience had written it.

Long before the internet was a thing, I would do anything I could to avoid doing my homework. Access to it became easy and frequent later, when I was in the workforce as a freelancer and now an entrepreneur. Both are jobs where there’s no boss standing over you, and I embraced all the opportunities to dick around online and not get work done until the last possible minute.

Recently, I’ve started to try and combat this tendency.

Here are the apps, behavior shifts and phone hacks that I use to keep myself off the internet as much as possible:

PART ONE: APPS

(1) SelfControl App for desktop (free!) — selfcontrolapp.com

Of the variety of apps that exist, this is the one that I found first, is super-simple and that works really well. You download it to your computer, add “blacklisted” websites (mine are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BBC news, CBC news, The Guardian), then set how long you want to be locked out for (any amount of time up to 24 hours).

Once you hit “start,” all those sites behave as if they’re down. Even if you take the app off your computer, you’ll still stay locked out until the time is up.

It’s most effective when I remember to start it the night before a morning where I’m going to work, to keep me locked out for at LEAST the first two hours.

(2) Kiwi for gmail (free or $9.99) — www.kiwiforgmail.com

This is an app for your desktop, that allows you to use gmail, google calendar and google docs, all without opening a browser. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

It behaves exactly like gmail and most apps that you use for gmail work with it. You can have multiple gmail addresses on the same app. It’s simple, clear and delightful. And it means you can get on your email without the temptation to hit “new tab” and check social media.

(3) Inbox Pause (free!) — www.inboxpause.com

This is an app by Boomerang which stops new emails coming into your inbox. If, like me, you use email for work a lot, it means you can go into your inbox to search for things/email people/reply to stuff without your brain getting the “OOH NEW EMAIL WHO’S IT FROM????” moment that makes you want to check.

New messages still arrive — but to see them, you need to search for the special “inbox pause” folder, which is just annoying enough that you don’t do it automatically.

I have had my inbox paused since June 2015.

(4) Chrome apps for Facebook and Youtube

I use Google Chrome because I like the apps. These two help me not get lost when I pop onto Facebook or watch something on youtube, by disabling the Facebook news feed — “News Feed Eradicator for Facebook” , and the Youtube “suggested videos” — “Remove Recommendations Youtube VK Facebook”. They have saved me HOURS.

PART TWO: BEHAVIORS

(5) No technology in the…

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When should you tell someone to give up on their dreams? (And more, in the Yes Yes Questions #9 Review!)

You know how they say There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch? The thing is, “they” also say Do What You Love And The Money Will Come, and so far, no one has offered to pay me a DIME for binge-watching This Is Us. So let’s start ignoring Them, and here’s your free lunch:

Once a month (or so), I invite you to join me (for free) to spend an hour asking me ANYTHING you want to ask. Advice about business, family, storytelling, romance, handling disappointment, networking, doing what you love and the money either coming or not coming. It’s all fair game.

And in the meantime, you can read a review of the last one or listen to it below. The questions asked in that episode:

1. How do I make my writing better when I’m stuck?
2. How do you sell sciencey people on stories? And what should you teach them?
3. Should you ever tell people that they should just give up on their dreams?
4. How do I get clients for my in-person business in a new city?
5. How do you tell sensitive stories that might turn people off?
6. How did you start and build your business and what would you advice would you suggest for someone starting a new venture?

1. How do I make my writing better when I’m stuck?

I write fiction, which is not something I’m comfortable with. I can stare at it forever, but I can’t tell how to make it better. So what do I do with it now?

(i) Listen to this two minutes of…

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Why are you so interesting, Marsha, and I’m so boring?

Have you ever thought that?

Maybe not about me, but about someone else you follow online? Someone who writes newsletters or Facebook posts that you always read. Someone who, every week, seems to be doing something cool and even if you don’t necessarily wish you were them, you wish you could hang out with them. You feel like they get you.

(Maybe you’ve even considered buying from them just to get a bit closer…)

Want to know how they do that? Want to know how YOU could?

By telling your stories.

But…what if nothing that exciting has ever happened to you? What if you don’t have any stories?

Then, you’re screwed. Give up now.

Obviously, I’m kidding.

The wonderful thing about stories is…

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How to stand out when everyone else is selling, too

(AKA “What is it about crying in the bath that’s so exquisitely painful?”)

I sat at my desk, finger hovering over my mouse and feeling sick.
In the words of my friend Holly G, I used to sell my services like I was trying to sell drugs in a back alley. Back in my first year of business, I’d whisper what was on offer once, then never mention it again. In case you’re wondering, I did not have a steady stream of customers.

But, after some tough love from my sales coach (Kendrick Shope), here I was, about to send an email to my list, where I was openly — in my mind, aggressively — asking for the sale. I was terrified. I had started with a story, because I always start things with a story. But then I had very clearly spelled out why the person reading should hire me. I felt so pushy.

Frowning at the screen, I was totally convinced that, within minutes, all 200 people on my mailing list would unsubscribe. Perhaps some of them might appear outside my house with picket signs and tomatoes to throw. I took a deep breath and…

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How to make a good first impression, how to sell the thing you’re good at, how to make friends in a new city — YYQ 8 Review!

In this episode of Yes Yes Questions, I answered these:

How do I make a good first impression?
Is it normal to fall behind in an online course?
How do I get a big-shot to send me referrals?
How do I sell the thing I’m good at?
How do I make friends in a new city?
Is asking for help at work is a sign of weakness?

Want to know what I said? Including, for the first question, one of my FAVOURITE first-impression hacks (that involves just staring at something for a while)?

Read precise answers below, or listen here:…
Here are shorter, written versions of my answers:

1. INTERVIEW TIPS:
Q: “I’m going to meet the people in charge at a company where I’ve been recommended for a role. I’ve never done a role like the one advertised, but I really do feel that I would rock it! Any words of advice for a fantastic first impression??”

Research the company as much as possible. Go in there knowing everything you can about them, so that (i) you can…

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V quick tip to avoid p*ssing off someone who just helped you out

A move keeps being made by people I’ve just favours for, that makes me want to stop doing them favours.

Running True Stories Told Live, my live storytelling show, I get a lot of requests to be put in touch with this person and that person. Because I <3 getting people tell their stories, I help these people out. I give them email introductions - and what happens next, is what almost always happens, and what REALLY annoys me: I get sucked into the email chain between these two people. Here is a very quick and classy way to get around that:

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Top Ten Tips – Networking for Introverts (that’s actually FUN & EASY!) [VIDEO]

Having just come back from World Domination Summit – a giant conference of 3,000 do-gooders in Portland – and having actually enjoyed myself, I thought it was about time I shared a Top Ten of advice for anyone who’s off to a conference or event, thinks that they hate networking, and is REALLY NERVOUS.

Here you go. My favourite is pencil-mouth lady. Yours?

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How Do I Ask a Favour from a Long-Lost Colleague – Without Feeling Like I’m Just Using Them? ASK (YES YES) MARSH!

You have the perfect contact for what you need to do – in theory. Someone you knew a long time ago is someone you need a big favour from. But you haven’t been in touch in months or years, and have no idea how to go about asking them.

If you email them now, will they just think you’re using them? Find out how to do it in a classy way – that will make them ACTIVELY pleased to hear from you – here.

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Not Getting A Response From Someone? This Might Be The Issue

Emma rolled her eyes, “Don’t worry,” she told me, “She’s ALWAYS like this.”

“Isn’t there anything we can do?” I asked. Emma was in charge, and I was too new to say what I was really thinking: that this woman was going to be isolated from the group.
“We’re not legally allowed to help her put it back in. So: no.”

I went and sat back down at the table next to Sandra.

“I’m sorry,” I said, shaking my head and pointing at…

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