Your story is in the pauses. Soft landing. Now's' a good time to figure out what "work" means to you. Priceless?
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Hello there:

Everyone writes. Writing well is an asset, no matter what you call job.

Vaibhav Gupta of Growth Hacking World shared a one-pager on "how to write good." It goes like this:

1. Avoid. Alliteration. Always.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. Avoid cliches like the plague. They're old hat.
4. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
5. Be more or less specific.
6. Writers should never generalize.
Seven: Be consistent!
8. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
9. Who needs rhetorical questions?
10. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

I write in spurts / batches, then pause. That way, when I get back to it, the story becomes clearer. Pause improves the quality of your ideas.

Reading material anyone?

Have you seen this cover?
It says a lot about current culture.

Illustrator Luca D’Urbino, 31, is based in Milano.
His work conveys complex concepts
using a very direct and synthetic style.

Freelancer and regular illustrator for The Economist.
D'Urbino works with brands / magazines
from around the globe.

Website, Twitter, Instagram.


As you're thinking about the value of pause... let's talk about pricing.

If you're a consultant, you know that there's no fixed rule about pricing projects. Sure, there are best practices and "per hour" ranges based on experience level. But pricing is as much about perception as it is about the thing you deliver.

Even when you're already working with a client, a new project opens a whole new scope. How do you go about it? Do you have a menu or listing?

This is one of the questions I answered this week.

Two ways to go about it:
  1. Per projectfigure out time and process ballpark, then use blended rate. This works well for fairly standard projects, where execution is well defined and everyone's on the same page.
  2. Value-based—when the work requires some major rethinking for something that may have a large payoff for the client. However, the dance here is that the payoff for the client may be some time in the future. Yet, the cost is now.
Some things to think about:
  • Everything is relative. If you're adding a new project to an existing client, consider the overall value you've brought to this client. That's their baseline expectation. It will take new information they value to exceed that expectation.
  • Is the effort incremental or net new for you in terms of energy? How would the client view it?
  • Is there someone at your client's you could gain some intel from who plays a secondary role in the new project? Could they help you brainstorm?
  • Would the client see this new project as an investment?
  • Is there a way to play with terms? If we're talking a larger sum, perhaps you break it down into manageable chunks. Up front, in the middle, and at final delivery.
  • Is there a current client for whom you delivered insane value who would be happy to be a reference? So you can charge based on a value scale.
  • If the upside for them is considerable, would you be able to approach someone senior with a baseline figure and your thinking about the upside to discuss your pricing with them openly?
Budget numbers are interesting intelligence, but not as useful. Your perspective or existing client may not know enough about the effort—energy, knowledge and experience—that goes into the project and potential upside, hence the figures could be arbitrary.

Also, think in terms of constraints. If there's only so much budget on hand, how does the scope change?

Don't forget to think about process. How you get something done has weight. Are you coming up with a structure? Will the client follow it?

Here's a reference on pricing. Also, price is a relative thing.

It's Labor Day weekend in the U.S. Use the pause to reset.

Pause to reflect:

Balancing confidence with humility:
  • Life Lessons From Cameron Crowe & Philip Seymour Hoffman. When the music came on Hoffman immediately yelled, “CUT, CUT, CUT.” The air went out of the room suddenly and he said to Crowe, “What makes you think the music you play is better than what I have playing in my head to play this scene?!”
Faster pace: Framing problems:
  • Network science: ten days to top, five long years of failures to get there. "Both papers used the random network paradigm. Yet, I asked questions of interest to physicists, while directing the paper to neuroscientists. The questions Duncan and Steve asked were deeply rooted in sociology." Six degrees offered a brilliant narrative for their manuscript.
I've been thinking a lot about productivity. Can you learn to be productive from books? (that was the question I asked this week)

Even growth happens in spurts. But a good start sets you up with an advantage.

Maria Tecla Artemisia Montessori was born on August 31, 1870 in Chiaravalle, Marche. She was a fascinating woman (I wrote about her life in my other site, see below). Imagine saying that you should take the perspective of children at a time when eight grade was the maximum a child could attain.

She was eminently qualified to figure it out. Yet, it took time to have a method that helped children gain that advantage.

“Within the child lies
the fate of the future."

- Maria Montessori
(it kind of makes you look at the bundles of energy
in the next room trying to do their homework differently,
doesn't it?)

She broke gender barriers, started a movement

Can you learn to be productive from books?

If you're a creator check out

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