megaphone1Do you see what I did there? With the “some of which are important” thing? Don’t you hate it when somebody makes an “important” announcement, and you’re like, “I’m sure it’s technically possible that a human or two on earth might find that important, but I’m struggling to imagine what they might look like, and regardless, I am not among their undoubtedly few number”?

(No? Maybe that’s just me.)

Anyway, do you see how I deftly avoided that outcome by allowing YOU to determine which ones are important? Do you see what I did there?

Ahem. Let’s move on.

We have updates.

If you would like to watch me screw up Facebook

I have never pretended to understand Facebook. We have never been particularly close, Facebook and I. I have, in spite of myself, amassed some friends and fans over the years, but that has mostly been without my knowledge or full understanding.

Anyway, enough people I like have told me I should give it a chance, and I have decided to be a little less bloody-minded and give it a shot. I realize my steadfast refusal to take Facebook seriously is starting to resemble an old man complaining about young people’s music. My stubbornness is now boring even me.

So!

If you would like to watch me fumble around like an idiot, make a complete fool of myself, and possibly give out free stuff later, you can do so here.

(I’m also on Twitter, which I’m not nearly so lousy at. That’s because most of my Twitter feed is Jack’s philosophical quotes, and it’s hard to screw those up.)

If you have been looking for the vault sale

This time last year, we had 17 products, books, courses and bundles in the store. When we realized just how insane that was, we figured we’d pull a Disney and put them in the vault to streamline things a bit at Chez IttyBiz. The intention was that we would open up the vault in a year and give newbies and/or oldbies (?!) a chance to get stuff without inundating everybody all year.

For scheduling reasons, we’re not going to do that, but we’ve had some questions about it.

Therefore!

If you’ve been looking for the Vault Sale and are bummed, you can take a look at some of the products in our back catalog here. We made a page. It’s not going to win any marketing awards, but it might jog your memory.

If you are looking for the Emergency Turnaround Clinic

When we redesigned the website, the pay what you can Emergency Turnaround Clinic class banner got lost in the shuffle. Sorry, dudes.

If you are looking for it, it is here. We’re working on getting it put back properly soon.

Experiments in writers’ block

I am experimenting with a theory on writers’ block management. Not, like, a theory theory, like relativity. More like a “One wonders if this would work and perhaps the only way for one to find out is to get over oneself and try it out like a big girl”.

I’m experimenting with the idea of, instead of finding a way to beat writers’ block, or cure writers’ block, or end writers’ block, trying to write even though I have writers’ block. (Blame Dave. He lent me his Kindle and I’ve been getting ideas.)

Anyway, I’m going to be experimenting. A possible outcome of that experimentation is a lot of blog posts coming out. (An alternative possible outcome is me embarrassing myself, although the two are by no means mutually exclusive.)

Basically, if I write a bunch over the next little bit, it’s just because I’m messing around, not because I’m launching something.

Oh, and Dave is hot and I have hair and there are kittens.

We have a new site. If you are reading this on that site, you will have established that by now. (Hi!) If you are not, Dave is hot and I have hair. (And Jack looks ridiculously cool, but that is not new information.) Also? Kittens. And other kittens.

As part of the new site, we’re bringing back some old posts. If there are specific old posts that you would like us to bring back as we are bringing back old posts, please email the ninjas (ninjas@ittybiz.com) or fill out the contact form here and say so. You can say “I don’t remember the name but it had a pile of bunnies?” or “the pink RV one? I think it was pink, anyway…” and they will know what you mean.

Tomorrow we will talk about writers’ block and cupcakes, and you can see me in a cowboy hat.

Until then, come check out the new site and see if anything’s broken.

Also? MONKEY! And a PUPPY!

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.

You're probably not going to die over your pricingSo I’m looking at buying a book. This book is called Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When The Stakes Are High. I am looking at buying this book because for some reason, Dave and I cannot hold a conversation these days without someone ending up in tears.

(I blame the Cardinal Grand Cross. And Mercury in Retrograde. And Neptune in retrograde. And Mars in retrograde. Good Lord, it’s amazing neither of us is dead.)

Here is a sample conversation in my office:

One of us: So have you had any thoughts about the YouTube thing?

The other: Jesus ****ing Christ, why did you have to bring that up today?

So here I am, reading the sample, thinking about buying this book, which could be alternately titled How to Stop Crying At Work, Naomi, And Dave, Perhaps You Could Work On The Sighing Thing. Having looked through the sample and putting it off because, well, it’s easier to blame him for a little while longer than to jump in feet first and take responsibility for my part of the problem, I decide to mosey around looking at the authors’ other books.

They have another one, called Crucial Accountability. It looks good, too, and it is said in the reviews that it’s basically a rehash of the first one, but more practical. So it seems like getting both might be a good idea.

And then! Miracle of miracles, there is an ebook bundle I could buy. I didn’t know they did this in any industry other than self-published erotica, so I am intrigued. (Also, yes. I like kits. Hi, Mom.)

So my finger is poised above the Buy Now With 1-Click button – naturally, I’m using Dave’s Amazon account, because I’m passive aggressive like that – and I check to see how much it’s going to cost.

It is $21.99.

Now, $21.99 is not a lot to pay for peace. It’s also a lot cheaper than mediation, or calling up a couple’s counsellor to say, “Hi, we’re business partners, but I fought less with my first husband than I fight with this guy”. But I said to myself, “That’s not much of a deal.”

So I go and forage around and I find out that the digital price for book number one is $9.99, and the digital price for book number two is $9.00.

Neither of the books appear to be on sale.

Buy one book, and then the other book, pay $18.99.

Buy both in a bundle and pay $21.99.

Not much of a deal indeed.

Now here’s where things get weird.

I almost bought it anyway.

I almost reloaded the (now gone) page for the bundle to purchase it anyway, for a higher price.

You know how we’ve been saying for eight years that marketing is about psychology?

What kind of a brain would do that?

A human one, that’s what.

What this means to you today.

We get a lot of questions from a lot of people asking what their pricing strategy would be. A lot of angst goes into the process of figuring out what launch pricing should be, what sale pricing should be, what bundle pricing should be, and so on. There’s a lot of navel gazing that goes on around this topic, as there should be.

The ittybiz owner asking the question wants to avoid this little mess of a situation.

But here’s what you need to know.

There are, realistically, three possible outcomes once your customer-to-be comes across a weird situation like this one.

  1. They roll their eyes and buy one book, or one book and then the other book, to save their three bucks. Fairly likely.
  2. They buy the bundle because they didn’t even bother to look. Likely enough.
  3. They don’t buy either because they hate you, or because they decided to stop the checkout process to write a blog post about you. Not that likely, but clearly possible as evidenced by the article you’re currently reading.

There is no secret fourth outcome in which you die and your business fails.

You should take your pricing seriously, just like you should take your tagline seriously, your contact page seriously, and your email sequence seriously.

But if you mess it up, there is a very low chance you will die.

If this topic interests you, read this too. It is tangentially related.

Now I’m going to go read the book because somebody is going to ask me if I’ve read it and if I haven’t I’m going to look like an idiot.

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.

How do I know if my business viable?We get the “business viability” question fairly often around here. People want to know if their business idea, as an idea, will work. Fair enough.

The answer to that, like just about everything else we talk about here, is not a cut and dry one. Asking if a business idea will work is like asking if those two people getting married will stay together.

There are a lot of variables in that equation. It depends on a lot of factors. And there are no guarantees.

However! Whether you want a business or a marriage to be viable, there are indicators you can look for and questions you can ask yourself. Dave hogged all the questions in his earlier series on decision making, so it’s my turn now.

Let’s talk about business viability.

Viability depends on how you want to define the term in the first place.

Business viability depends on the objectives you have for your business in the first place. It’s like choosing a house or a car. Is this one the right one for you? It depends on what your needs are. And everyone’s needs are different.

If viable for you means “I need to take home $200,000 a year after taxes”, then that’s a very different story than if you only need to take home $40,000.

If viable for you means “I need to make this work in 15 hours a week by myself”, then that’s a different story than if you have a 40 hours a week and you’re looking to hire an assistant or employee.

If viable for you means “I can handle operating at a loss for a year or two before it takes off”, that’s a different story than “I need rent money NOW.”

The more constraints you put on your business, the more you’ll have to do for it to be “viable.”  So the answer to viability for you is truly a custom job.

Viability depends if enough people actually want to buy the thing you’re selling.

This connects to the first point. If you’re selling a very niche thing, and there aren’t a lot of people who will be likely to buy it, that is not the same as “That business isn’t viable.”

It can be completely viable if the number of people who want it is enough to satisfy your objectives. So if you’re selling something kind of weird but only need to make $40,000 a year, you’re in a much better position than someone who needs to make $200,000 a year. All you really need is enough people.

We see clients get caught up thinking that because EVERYBODY doesn’t want the thing they’re selling, that they’re hosed. But that’s not the case.

As long as enough people are willing to buy from you, your business has the potential to be viable. The more you can lower that number, the more viable your business can become.

Viability depends on your resources and creativity.

In general, if you have enough creativity you can find a way to make just about anything sell. If you’d asked me if I thought that selling blankets with sleeves was viable, I’d have probably raised an eyebrow. But the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the Snuggies infomercials.

I promise you, no matter how weird or niche your thing is, there are people out there selling far weirder things than you making money hand over fist. That money didn’t come easily, though. There was a lot of hustle involved and a lot of resources used.

People tend to have about ten times the resources and creativity they give themselves credit for. When they’re willing to challenge themselves to tap into it, we tend to see a lot of good things happen.

So, viability? A lot of it depends on what you bring to the table on those fronts.

Viability depends on your willingness to sell. ACTIVELY.

This is one that kills a lot of businesses that could otherwise be successful.

In the dating world, the number of dates you get is directly proportional to the number of people you ask.

It’s no different in sales. You ask more, you sell more.

  • If you ran a hot dog stand in Manhattan, and when people walked by you stood next to the sign that said “Hot Dogs” and smiled at them, hoping they’d notice you’re selling these tasty hot dogs, you would sell relatively few. This is the “I hope they notice I’m selling something” approach.
  • If you ran that same hot dog stand and wore a t-shirt that said “Midtown’s Best Hot Dogs” and when people walked by you called out “Hot Dogs! The best in Manhattan. Only three bucks, all the toppings you want”, you would get a lot more people buying your hot dogs. This is the “I will tell people this thing is for sale repeatedly” approach.

You’ll make a lot more money with the second.

And it has NOTHING to do with the viability of running a hot dog stand.

Next, viability depends on how much YOU want to put into it.

People get moralistic about this and I don’t like that. I don’t like it a lot. There’s an attitude of “If you REALLY wanted it you’d work as hard as it takes.”

Generally, the people who tell you to work as hard as it takes are later blindsided by a divorce, a heart attack, or both. And they always say “they never saw it coming.”

(Perhaps it’s a good idea to look around at life outside your business once in a while.)

Your ittybiz is YOUR ittybiz.

You alone know what kind of lifestyle adjustments you’re willing to put in place to allow it to succeed.

You alone know what the threshold is that, once crossed, turns a good idea for you into a bad idea for you.

So is your business idea viable?

I don’t know.

Your odds of viability go up when your demands on what it produces for you go down.

Your odds of viability go up when you get better at sales and marketing.

Your odds of viability go up when you’ve really looked at what it will take to meet your objectives, and you (and the people you care about) are okay with that.

Just about any business is viable. You just have to figure out what’s viable for YOU.

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.